Intellectual Property - seems like there's very little in gear world?

Eskimo_Joe

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I would be curious to hear from someone who understands the intellectual property dynamics of the gear world. It seems like there's very little that's proprietary / unable to be copied. Is that due to a lack of proactivity on the part of manufacturers/designers in protecting their creations, or what?

Thanks in advance.
 

Eskimo_Joe

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What about the shape of a strat?

Why can you copy a body shape, but not a headstock shape? Or can you?
 

stevieboy

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What about the shape of a strat?

Why can you copy a body shape, but not a headstock shape? Or can you?
Fender failed to trademark it's body shapes, though they did trademark their headstock shapes. Exactly why is unclear, certainly it was a mistake on their part. But though they have tried they can't go back and fix it.
 

Rotten

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I understood from one of the Fender amp books that they manufacture reissues (e.g., Super Reverb RI, Princeton Reverb RI) because their trademark is up and they don't want them to become public domain. I could be wrong because I am over 40 and my memory is starting to fail.
 

Jahn

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in my mind, guitar gear is still a very exclusive club when it comes to "acceptable shapes" and such. i mean, c'mon, 50 years later and we're still playing strats and teles and pauls? it's like if the model T was still being used in 1958 because that's what a car was supposed to look and be like from the very beginning!

so heck yeah in the meantime you've got people trampling all over that solidbody design if they want to make inroads - guitarists just aren't buying much else off of that norm. in some ways it is indeed a unique thing to solidbody electric guitar culture.

So yeah, who needs this when you got THIS!



on the other hand, most folks still like this over this:

 

Wildwind

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The world has changed for the worst since Leo - lawyers are everywhere now. They are the ones driving all this stuff. Ironically, it's now harder than ever to protect intellectual property thanks to the Internet despite all the lawyers. It hits other industries just as hard, including the one that paid my bills for 20 years (environmental engineering). You simply can't protect anymore. The lawyers can't either, but they make a lot of money "trying."
 

Eskimo_Joe

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Fender failed to trademark it's body shapes, though they did trademark their headstock shapes. Exactly why is unclear, certainly it was a mistake on their part. But though they have tried they can't go back and fix it.
In some respects, I guess that's a good thing. Imagine if Fender was the only place you could get a strat and tele inspired guitar. Yikes!
 

Guitar Josh

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It's not limited to the gear world. I know several patent attorneys, and they've told me several times that a patent is hardly worth the paper is printed on tech develops so quickly.
 

clemduolian

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Utility patents= 20 years (17 years pre-1995)
Design patents= 14 years

After patent expires, the ideas/designs are in the public domain...however, innovations or non-obvious improvements can also be patented and receive separate patent terms.

TMs designate the source of goods. Registered TMs can last indefinitely so long as the company and TM are in business/use and it is properly administered. TM protection for shapes can occur (e.g., Coke's distinctive glass bottle) but many/most companies did not file for TM protection for shapes back in the day...because it wasn't "normal" to do so. Some music equipment has received TM registration for shape, arguably because of continuous use, sole source of product, distinctiveness and achieving "secondary meaning" in the marketplace...etc.

Both patent office and TM office have been granting patents and TMs and letting the "marketplace" sort it out in court, due in large part to the huge increase in the volume of filings AND the lack of resources in government offices.

Bottom line--it is VERY expensive to receive and protect IP rights. Companies/individuals need to figure out if its worth the time, resources/$$ and emotional wear and tear to prosecute and protect IP rights.

Complex stuff and not for the feint of heart.

This is not legal advice.:omg
 

RedTiger

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AFAIK, if the build is unauthorized, carries the official logo of the real thing, and is put up for sale with the intent to make buyers believe it is real, that is most certainly illegal.

If you mean why, for example, Suhr can make a guitar that looks like a Telecaster? That's different.
 

Eskimo_Joe

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I guess IP is more applicable to the realm of big business where armies of lawyers can be employed.
 




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