Selling licensed fender parts for resale

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,407
Does anyone know the legality of someone buying a fender licensed neck(allparts,musikraft etc) then building a guitar, putting his own decal on and selling it? Curious how that works. An example would be a company like nash. Do you need a license yourself? Someone at my local music store is basically doing this and has a big area with the custom builds
 

kiwicanuck

Member
Messages
1,532
The Fender "licence" costs are just an alternative to getting sued by them.

If you buy a neck from a licensed manufacturer and then use it to build a guitar then how could there be any comeback on you? If you stick a fake Fender logo on it then it's a problem of course.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
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2,407
Just seemed like a grey area. So anyone can resell fender licensed products under a different name?
 
Last edited:

Drewski

Gold Supporting Member
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1,098
Pretty sure you have to change the headstock shape if youre going to assemble it and sell it for profit. Anyone can become an allparts dealer and sell Fender licensed necks and bodies.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,873
You can stick a Fender decal on a Fender-licensed neck with impunity. The neck heel either will have or should have the words "Licensed by Fender" or something similar burned or stamped into it. Fender received their money for that neck with the Fender headstock via the licensing deal. The part where people get into trouble is when they buy a licensed neck, or make their own neck from scratch, apply a Fender decal on it, and attempt to sell it as genuine Fender neck, or sell the guitar with the neck as a genuine Fender guitar. The stamp in the heel will expose this fraud. If they made their own neck and pass it off as a Fender with a decal, that's fraud too. The key thing to avoid is claiming something is a real Fender when it is not. It can still have the decal, but you must state on the price tag "NOT A FENDER". If your local music store is putting their own logo on the headstock and isn't trying to pass their guitars off as being Fenders, they're not in violation of anything. It's a fine line that gets blurred by people who are either unscrupulous or unaware. This is one of the reasons why there are more fake "vintage Fenders" out there than real ones.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
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2,407
Very informative thank you!! So your saying someone can make a relic strat, put a fender decal on it, and sell it as a "non fender" custom build and be ok? I believe you, I've just seen people state the exact opposite. For instance MJT can no longer apply fender decals for people.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,383
Please trust my firsthand knowledge on this ie stacks of C&D Letters from Fender. The licensed mark is only to be used in direct replacement for a FMIC product and explicitly states not to be used for building complete guitars. It is illegal and a trademark violation to do so even with a different logo on them. Fender does not play games any longer. I have been advicing a few individuals in the last few weeks who sold only 3-5 guitars per year who are being sued, not warned, but sued. They were not protected as an LLC so their entire lifes work is susceptible to loss. Do not be fooled that it is on the company who sold it to you. It is on you and you only. Now you may ask, how does Nash get away with it? Good question. The best I can tell through my searches with my attorney is that their is a sealed agreement. I assume he is paying Fender. But cannot be certain. They are on the hunt right now. Think about it, over the last couple of years, the last of the bigger companies that were using licensed necks still may but all have changed the shape. The trademark may be weak but do you have the money to fight for your home? After looking at the cost of fighting them, well over $500K to start, I played ball. But that was back when they were just warning people. Now the stakes are real and they are suing. This is from someone who has had directly dealings. If you can aford to protect yourself, I say go for it!
 

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,407
Awesome thank you very much!!! I doubt the few extra sales would out weigh te legal fees. It's crazy tnat tney are going after such small builders, but fenders not dumb and I'm sure they realize they are losing a lot of buisnes to these guys
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
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7,262
I think the bottom line is to NOT EVER use intellectual property that belongs to someone else. It doesn't matter if they are mean and you are nice, if they are rich and you are poor, or any other argument that we often use to justify this.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,407
I think the bottom line is to NOT EVER use intellectual property that belongs to someone else. It doesn't matter if they are mean and you are nice, if they are rich and you are poor, or any other argument that we often use to justify this.
I agree, but the fact they sell authorized necks can be confusing as to what you can do with it
 

kiwicanuck

Member
Messages
1,532
Please trust my firsthand knowledge on this ie stacks of C&D Letters from Fender. The licensed mark is only to be used in direct replacement for a FMIC product and explicitly states not to be used for building complete guitars. It is illegal and a trademark violation to do so even with a different logo on them. Fender does not play games any longer. I have been advicing a few individuals in the last few weeks who sold only 3-5 guitars per year who are being sued, not warned, but sued. They were not protected as an LLC so their entire lifes work is susceptible to loss. Do not be fooled that it is on the company who sold it to you. It is on you and you only. Now you may ask, how does Nash get away with it? Good question. The best I can tell through my searches with my attorney is that their is a sealed agreement. I assume he is paying Fender. But cannot be certain. They are on the hunt right now. Think about it, over the last couple of years, the last of the bigger companies that were using licensed necks still may but all have changed the shape. The trademark may be weak but do you have the money to fight for your home? After looking at the cost of fighting them, well over $500K to start, I played ball. But that was back when they were just warning people. Now the stakes are real and they are suing. This is from someone who has had directly dealings. If you can aford to protect yourself, I say go for it!
Wow! Thanks for the info! It's crazy that the retailers of the licensed necks have no accountability for this.
 

jetydosa

Member
Messages
3,920
Please trust my firsthand knowledge on this ie stacks of C&D Letters from Fender. The licensed mark is only to be used in direct replacement for a FMIC product and explicitly states not to be used for building complete guitars. It is illegal and a trademark violation to do so even with a different logo on them. Fender does not play games any longer. I have been advicing a few individuals in the last few weeks who sold only 3-5 guitars per year who are being sued, not warned, but sued. They were not protected as an LLC so their entire lifes work is susceptible to loss. Do not be fooled that it is on the company who sold it to you. It is on you and you only. Now you may ask, how does Nash get away with it? Good question. The best I can tell through my searches with my attorney is that their is a sealed agreement. I assume he is paying Fender. But cannot be certain. They are on the hunt right now. Think about it, over the last couple of years, the last of the bigger companies that were using licensed necks still may but all have changed the shape. The trademark may be weak but do you have the money to fight for your home? After looking at the cost of fighting them, well over $500K to start, I played ball. But that was back when they were just warning people. Now the stakes are real and they are suing. This is from someone who has had directly dealings. If you can aford to protect yourself, I say go for it!
Good post Chris, and Ive heard similar from other small builders, Fender is not playing games for sure.

As far as Nash, myself and buddies have speculated maybe since he was kind of the "first" to go through the legal proceedings with them, maybe there was some compromise, one-time deal struck. My guess is he used some tactic along the lines of, he is taking parts, putting them together into guitars and making "art" out of them by relicing them. Then he signs, numbers and dates them, just as you would a piece of art. Could be why you never see a non-reliced Nash. My $.02.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,383
The Nash deal is perplexing for sure. It has to be financial. Similar to a licensing deal in some way. Fender will not hold the dealers accountable for the parts as they make too much money from it. You can buy what you want to buy and use it, just do not sell it.
 

kiwicanuck

Member
Messages
1,532
Just another reason that I don't buy from companies like Fender. You can buy licensed parts, but if you sell them they'll sue you if they think it's worth their time to do so.

Thankfully I bought my last (ever) Fender product almost 30 years ago.
 

jimshine

Member
Messages
1,594
Fender was going for people doing this years ago as well. Guys that were building and selling complete guitars from licensed parts were shipping the guitars with the neck assemblies removed from the body assemblies to get around the issue.

I wonder if Fenders latest crackdown impacted Musikraft in some way? I see they appear to be branding all their necks consistently again and have even dropped a bunch of products from the line.
 

kiwicanuck

Member
Messages
1,532
Lets all just get over the slavish love for that old headstock. It was stolen from Paul Bigsby anyway. They didn't even invent the bloody thing.

You have amazing builders that make amazing guitars, yet people cave in to the marketing that has filled their brains. "That headstock just doesn't look 'right'". Jeez...

Suhr and Anderson are examples of builders that have improved the headstock (along with every other component). Better looking in every way, but not the right brand for many.
 

rspencer

Member
Messages
2,421
Awesome thank you very much!!! I doubt the few extra sales would out weigh te legal fees. It's crazy tnat tney are going after such small builders, but fenders not dumb and I'm sure they realize they are losing a lot of buisnes to these guys
It's not that much business. High-end guitars are a niche market, including their own custom shop. They aren't suing because of money lost in sales to small builders. They have to protect their trademark or they'll lose it. It's not enough to claim & register a trademark; you must actively protect it. And that means C&D letters on up to lawsuits.
 

Mr. Dad

Member
Messages
252
It's not that much business. High-end guitars are a niche market, including their own custom shop. They aren't suing because of money lost in sales to small builders. They have to protect their trademark or they'll lose it. It's not enough to claim & register a trademark; you must actively protect it. And that means C&D letters on up to lawsuits.
^ Someone who knows what they are talking about.

For many companies, the brand, "goodwill" (in the legal sense), and trademarks are one of the most valuable parts of the business. They must protect those things.

Fender didn't write the trademark laws. They are working within them.
 

K-Line

Vendor
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8,383
But the question I have is that how can a trademark shape hit the market in 1954 (pre-CBS strat headstock), and not apply for protection until 1997? Look it up on USPTO.gov
 

Mr. Dad

Member
Messages
252
You can have rights in a trademark without it being registered. There are a lot of factors and gray areas.
 






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