Designed a new T-style guitar, now I'm going to protect it

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by BeeTL, May 13, 2009.

  1. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    I really like that!

    :cool:
    I'd like to think that a simple C&D letter from a prominent patent and trademark attorney would be sufficient to cool the enthusiasm of a rogue copycat.

    On the upside, I look at it as an investment in the potential future value of the company should I be in a position to sell down the road.

    Only time will tell.
     
  2. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    maybe you could have a metal insert edge along that "beak" so you can actually open bottles with the headstock....that'd be different...;)

    your design is safe from me, old mate.... I do wish you well on your journey though...:)

    just do the business...take your guitar designs to China and get 1000's made and out there on the street ... more productive than spending the cash on lawyers... nes pa?.....
    see if they sell first ,,,before worrying if someone will copy the design........ IMHO
     
  3. ludashoeless

    ludashoeless Tele-Afflicted

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    cool. not what i would drop 2k on though
     
  4. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    And if they laugh at it and throw it in the bin? Then what?

    The point I'm trying to make is protecting IP is the realm of big business, not the little guy. Unless you have the finances to fight, a registered trademark is like a lock on a ricepaper door.

    The upside of this is only those who have made millions from their trademarks ever really need to fight them. People copy what is/has been in popular culture for decades ... like Gibson and Ibanez and Fender.
     
  5. chauncy

    chauncy Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    From the look of that headstock I thought this was a shark week promo.
     
  6. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    Nick JD,

    Are you an attorney?

    The only reason I ask is because of the "JD" in your username.
     
  7. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I had to google that J.D. was short for Juris Doctor, so in my defence, I'm going to have to say, no.
     
  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I don't know a lot but I've made my living for around 37 years by making things that are visually pleasing. I think I have a pretty good eye for design. It's just my opinion but I can't see your having to defend your headstock design.
     
  9. Arbiter

    Arbiter Banned

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    Wise words. I survived getting a patent, having the invention stolen outright (the company that did this didn't even change the source code that had our name in it!) and defending it. In the end, after all was said and done, the invention cost us about a half-million dollars.

    That's right, we lost money.

    Without the patent and the money we put into fighting it, we would have made a decent sum and would probably still be a player in the market in spite of the theft.

    The judicial system is heavily biased towards people with patents who have money. If you don't have money and attempt to defend your patent, you are going to get slaughtered in the court system.
     
  10. Scantron08

    Scantron08 Tele-Afflicted

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    Justice is definitely *not* two things - swift and free.

    Congrats on getting a TM. I, too, would want to protect my ideas (I do copyright my band's songs, actually). I'm glad that by sharing pics of it here in '09, you didn't blow your chance to protect it, esp. since the first use is listed as 4/20/11. True, patent lawyers can be expensive, but as you learned, simple filing fees are not necessarily cost prohibitive. I, too, think a cease and desist can have positive effects. There will always be an excuse out there *not* to do something. Keep reaching for your dreams.
     
  11. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    Jack, I love your skele-tele, and Nick JD I love your carbon fiber T, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in how you've both responded to this thread.

    Why? Because I got it...the same bug everyone else here has; I want to build T-style guitars, and I want to put my name on the headstock.

    Now I can, and if they choose to, any guitar store in the country can hang a Lowe guitar in their window without worrying about getting a C&D letter.

    Honestly, if I had it to do over, I'd skip the table saw, multiple routers and table, bandsaw, buffer, spray guns and compressor, gallons of nitro, scroll saw, bodies and necks by Warmoth, USACG, Red Dirt, Plaid Sabbath, AllParts, etc...and go straight to the USPTO, Best Guitar Parts and Pat Wilkins.

    And if anyone else is interested in building S,T,P,J or original/custom designs, I'd encourage them to do the same.

    To me that's just taking a different path on the DIY road, and it's the path I've chosen to take.

    And although it's not widely known or publicized, it's the path that many other small USA builders have taken.

    In the mean time, I hope folks here find this thread informative.

    It's been a good run.
     
  12. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

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    Actually after all this much of writing, I want to see one darn guitar done....

    As kiddies of todaymwouldnsay, pics or it didnt happen...
     
  13. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So your saying you don't really want to build guitars, just put your name on them?
     
  14. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

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    Any publicity is good publicity. Jes sayin'...:cool:
     
  15. piece of ash

    piece of ash Friend of Leo's

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    You first goal should be to build a guitar that someone would want to fake.
     
  16. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I like your headstock, it's quirky. And I admire your optimistic yet cautious approach to protecting your design.

    Sorry if I have come across harsh - I'm just trying to present the reality of the situation. The 2K you've spent is worth it just as a learning experience and I appreciate that you've shared the experience on a forum with others who are probably thinking of doing the same.

    A question I'd like to raise is, do big-name "T" and "S" builders have their headstocks registered? Or even their logos?
     
  17. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    You mean like Fender, Ernie Ball, G&L, Schecter, Dean, Lull, Lakland, etc.?...or companies like Apple, Dell, Toshiba, HP?

    Yes, please.
    That very well could be, but that's not where my head was at three years ago when I started this thread.

    As to how ugly my design is, or how stupid I am for wasting $2,000 on pursuing a trademark, all I can say is that twenty years ago (maybe thirty?) I thought the Tele was the ugliest guitar ever made.

    Then I saw the Pete Townshend Schecter Tele, and it changed my world:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    Thank you for that.

    I've learned a lot here on this forum, and I felt like the information about this process is something I could "give back".

    I spent a lot of time looking at Fender, Gibson, Ernie Ball and Rickenbacker, and it's no surprise the answer is "yes" for them.

    If you want to do your own USPTO searches, go here:

    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchstr&state=4002:q14i4h.1.1

    ...and enter two elements of the company's name in the "Owner Name and Address" field, then select "AND" as the Operator.

    You can find lots of cool stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My next door neighbor worked for a company here locally that developed an innovative way to make a product found everywhere and anywhere. Zip closures for plastic bags. After a nice run of 10 or so years, they got wind that another huge company, one of those that owns many, many other companies was using their patented methods.

    Of course, they filed suit and sent a C&D letter. The C&D letter was ignored. Shortly after the mega company made an offer to buy out the little company including all their patents.
    The little company refused, and was immediately served a patent infringement lawsuit for the method they'd patented a long time ago!

    When it came down to brass tacks, the mega attorneys told the little guy's attorneys, "yeah, we know you own the patent, and our lawsuit will be thrown out of court, and you might even win your patent suit. . . .eventually. But we can delay, get extensions, depose all of your employees, subpoena every record your company has ever produced, and basically break you using the legal system, and we will unless you sell out. We will get your patent one way or another." The little company sold out.

    There is a graphic I saw a long time ago of three fish swimming one behind the other in a row. The biggest fish had his mouth open about to engulf the medium fish in front of him. His thought bubble was saying, "The world is just." The middle fish, who in turn had his mouth open to eat the little fish in front of him was thinking, "There is some justice in the world". The little fish was just thinking, "there is no justice in the world."

    Welcome to reality. A patent is absolutely no protection against anything, unless you've got megabucks to defend it. Even if you defend it in the USA, if the Chinese like it, there is no amount of money you can get to buy some justice.
     
  20. BeeTL

    BeeTL Tele-Holic

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    Big fish don't scare me, and they shouldn't scare you either.
     
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