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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    09.16.16 @ 04:53 PM
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    Default Guitar bodies...legal talk..

    I debated on even bringing this up at this point, but I learned about a week ago that ernie ball is pursuing another trademark. As some of you know I offer premium replacemnet axis/ EVH style bodies. I have been doing these along time. over 10 years ! It turns out that ernie ball is trying to get a trademark on the body. It is my opinion that it is B.S. to go back and get a trade mark on something that you should of done before hand. All of a sudden it is important to them. Just for the record this body was first introduced and sold in 1991. 17 years ago ! Here is the deal I spoke to an attorney about this and Ernie balls chances seem to be 50 % or less of pulling this off. I am sure they would beg to differ ! When it comes to legal stuff you never know. They are now soliciting there customers to reinforce there argument. Most of there customers are going to blindly go along and sign this petition and that is preety weak on Ernie ball's part to do it that way. Either you have a case for a trademark or you don't. So this is why I thought it is appropriate to bring it up now. because if they pull the wool over the USPTO's eyes like they did the 4 + 2 headstock they will kill the ability of anybody who is making this body including myself. It is not just me that has been making this body. There are several other too. I will just say I am going to do anything in my power to stop this from happening. I also plan on challenging the headstock too, that they were awarded a trademark without the proper research. I don't want to go into unnecessary detail on that part, but I believe I have proof to show this. Yes, you can appeal a trademark. Without the expense of court. I have never been aproached because It is still legal to make these. The bad part about this is if you ever want to change your body or buy a back up you won't be able to do it from me or anybody else. That is there goal, to monopolize your choices. As of now just so people know. Ernie ball does not offer it themselves to purchase, . You have to send in an old one to get a new one and that is $600 ! And for all the people that own the original EVH, if you ever need a replacement for a damaged body you are screwed because they don't sell those either.... you can see where this leads. It sets a bad precedent. That anybody can stumble out of the woodwork and do this is quite frankly fucked up ( ala EVH and his stripes after people had been making those for years ) ! Sorry no indents !

  2. #2
    Eruption
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    07.04.12 @ 08:16 AM
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    Scott. I can see your delema.
    This is one of those "let it pan out" situations. You know me. I've been dodgein the copyright crap a long time too.
    My opinion? You'll be fine.
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  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! Zahzoo's Avatar
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    11.04.17 @ 06:01 AM
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    It's a nice body shape... one thing to consider... Apply a little creativity and develop a body shape of your own and copyright/trademark it. Simply make a minor variation to differentiat your product and you should be fine.

    Even if EB were to trademark the body shape... how are the other replacement & custom retailers (Stew-Mac, etc.) getting away with selling Strat, Les Paul and other trademarked body blanks?
    Woke up this mornin, got Blue Moon in your eyes...
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  4. #4
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 12:08 PM
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    Okay Scott, I'm really not trying to piss you off, I'm going to attempt to dis-agree with you in a respectful way. Maybe I'm not looking at this in the right way, and you can explain it to me in a way that will change my mind about it. That being said, here's my take:

    Why is it wrong for the manufacturer that spent the time and money on the design and manufacture of a particular guitar shape to want their product legally protected? How is it pulling the wool over anyone's eyes? They did produce an original body design that nobody else was making. Now, they want control over that design. It doesn't seem like that evil of a move to me.

    I know that it negatively impacts your business for this to go forward, but from legal point of view, how can you argue that you should be able to make money reproducing a body that you had no part in designing?

    This might not be an entirely bad thing for you anyway. If it does end up that they win this, it doesn't neccessarily mean that you are prohibited from reproducing these bodies, does it? Wouldn't it be the case that you could reproduce these bodies with the permission of EBMM? You would probably have to produce a percentage of each sale to EBMM, but you could still make them. If that is the case, would it be possible to be an "authorized replacement" body manufacturer for EBMM. It would look better on a business card anyway.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  5. #5
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahzoo View Post
    It's a nice body shape... one thing to consider... Apply a little creativity and develop a body shape of your own and copyright/trademark it. Simply make a minor variation to differentiat your product and you should be fine.

    Even if EB were to trademark the body shape... how are the other replacement & custom retailers (Stew-Mac, etc.) getting away with selling Strat, Les Paul and other trademarked body blanks?
    Good questions. I do have my own stuff aside form this. Making that particular body became a staple for me as much as a strat style body did for others. And it was perfectly legal because no one actually owned that design. Years ago it was fun for me to make. Then it got to the point people wanted to buy them because I was willing to offer different options on the body. Different woods etc.... Ernie ball only offered it in basswood. If they had it trademarked form the begining I would respect that. But they did NOT. Imagine getitng one with a mediocre maple top after spending $1600 and wanting to redo your guitar with a better one, Your screwed ! Now they have this BFR line offering in different options and make it seem like they are all that now. Has anybody seen the price of the new BFR axis. $4000 list and selling for $2500 !! They are trying to be a PRS wannabee. They were upcharging people $500 for an 1/8" top! You don't even want me to tell you what they were paying for it !! And if they were paying too much that is their problem. That is totally out of bounds. They actually scrapped that program and worked it into the BFR line, conforming your choices on the color etc..... I was offering that for much less. I had someone the other day tell me that I am actually giving people what they pay for. Keeping the quality up and keeping it fair. Why limit people on tlhe color chart ? If people are willing to pay for it, make it ! They will starve the color for a while, then bring it back ! Like a good businsess man I would watch my competiton. I has always let people choose what they wanted, NOT conform my customers. Sterling ball just wanted to conform his customers and come up with excuses not to do stuff. They conveniently caved in and now let you choose between flame or Quilt, this or that etc...... They finally offer an arm contour on the BFR axis only. Big fucking deal, they should of offered it along time ago. People were begging them for it. I believe someone at that company saw what I and others were doing and got worried about it. They have arm chair warriors all over their forum. Now they are back tracking 17 years later !

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    09.16.16 @ 04:53 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    Okay Scott, I'm really not trying to piss you off, I'm going to attempt to dis-agree with you in a respectful way. Maybe I'm not looking at this in the right way, and you can explain it to me in a way that will change my mind about it. That being said, here's my take:

    Why is it wrong for the manufacturer that spent the time and money on the design and manufacture of a particular guitar shape to want their product legally protected? How is it pulling the wool over anyone's eyes? They did produce an original body design that nobody else was making. Now, they want control over that design. It doesn't seem like that evil of a move to me.

    I know that it negatively impacts your business for this to go forward, but from legal point of view, how can you argue that you should be able to make money reproducing a body that you had no part in designing?

    This might not be an entirely bad thing for you anyway. If it does end up that they win this, it doesn't neccessarily mean that you are prohibited from reproducing these bodies, does it? Wouldn't it be the case that you could reproduce these bodies with the permission of EBMM? You would probably have to produce a percentage of each sale to EBMM, but you could still make them. If that is the case, would it be possible to be an "authorized replacement" body manufacturer for EBMM. It would look better on a business card anyway.
    Ok, I like this question too. Believe me if they win it is not going to stop my other stuff. I just feel it is important enough to shed light on. Here are some additional details. Ernie ball WILL NOT license anybody. That is the first issue. Let me start this by showing what PRS went through, and this might shed some light on what my argument is. This would set a bad precedent.
    PRS was sued by gibson for making a single cut model. Gibson argued that it hurt there business because it was like their les paul.
    They actually won that case, But because Paul did not give up, he took them all the way to the supreme court and got it overturned ! Basically Gibson should of spent more time improving there stuff instead of reeling, because PRS was kicking their ass! That is what it was all about. They were getting beat at their own game. Thank god someone stood up and did not roll over, because 10 or so years later we now as a market have other single cut guitars to choose from. ESP, Warrior guitars, etc... the list goes on. Had gibson won that case they would have pushed it further. We would be left with Fender and Gibson to choose from since they own pratically everything else ! Imagine if Hamer argued that PRS guitars was too close to their double cut guitar, we would have no PRS . I wanted to be able to offer that body with other head stocks as an option but they want that now too. It is not about taking credit for a design. It is about giving this trademark to them allows them to go to the next step and crush every design that looks even close. It somtimes never ends. If it was not successful they would not care, all of a sudden it is like " hey now that it is still selling, let's pay for the trademark ! "
    Last edited by scottfletcher; 12.13.08 at 12:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    I agree with what you are saying about PRS and Hamer, but there are a couple differences. PRS was making a single cut body that was similar to the Les Paul. PRS made a double cut that was similar to a Hamer. The guitars that they made were not exact spec copies of a Hamer, or a Les Paul.

    Hey Scott, don't get me wrong, I don't really see anything wrong with what you are doing. It's great that you are offering people options on woods and tops. You found a hole in the market that the manufacturer wasn't filling. That's their bad. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with them trying to control a design that they came up with. What if Guitar Hero or Rock Band2 wanted to make an EBMM/EVH controller?

    Hey, I feel for your situation, but I'm just not sure I agree with the notion that because EBMM didn't offer every custom shop option imaginable for a low price, that makes them a bunch of pricks.

    They want to be in control of their design, I still don't see a problem with that.

    BTW: Full disclosure here Scott,

    -I'm not currently a EBMM owner, although I have been, and love the Axis/EVH

    -I have not, and will not sign any petition in this matter. I think they should present the legal merits of their case, and not a bunch of signatures.

    I wish you luck in this. Even though I don't really see anything wrong with what they are doing, I would not like for it to hurt a signifigant corner of your business.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  8. #8
    Eruption
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    09.16.16 @ 04:53 PM
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    Thanks for your input. I am just trying to present some examples. We will see what happens . I will also say that I like the Ernie ball company. That is a great company. I never said anybody is a prick or anything like that at all. I just merely stated the facts as they evolved. Some people have expressed there opinions to me about Sterling ball, but I can not say either way about someone I have never met. I have gotten all my building influences from all companies. I am resourceful by nature. This is not about the tit for tat, this is about what is legal on not legal. I will tell you I found a patent on a headstock from a different inventor that has a 4 + 2 configuration. Remember this is the same configuration that ernie ball was awarded a trademark on in the early 90's. So I asked a lawer about that. He was befuttled too ! He proceeded to tell me that the trademark division and patent division do not operate together. So there was no way of them knowing that someone else already had a headstock. That trademark awarded to ernie ball would nulify that patent because you could only get 4 + 2 on the headstock. In summary, without even knowing it two companies were issued a exact configuration under 2 different systems . That goes to show that there are flaws in the system and it is up to the public in a free enterprise system to cover our own asses. The USPTO is not without flaws, nothing is perfect !
    In closing I would like to say that NO company other than ernie ball, NOT ONE has a trademark on their tuning key placement. 6 in line, 3 +3 etc..... Who gave the USPTO the right to tell you and me where I can put the tuning keys on my guitar !!! That is like saying how many tires I can put on my car when designing it, Oh ! 4 tires have been used by Ford already. lets go with 5 tires . Just having fun with it. I can't help myself !

  9. #9
    Hot For Teacher
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    01.22.17 @ 07:52 PM
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    I rearly post, but I thought I would because being a lefty, I get screwed over all the time and appreciate guys who help pepole get what they want when the company doesn't offer their own options. So if anyone has information on a left handed wolfgang other than frankenstraat, that would be cool.

  10. #10
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephenjay21 View Post
    I rearly post, but I thought I would because being a lefty, I get screwed over all the time and appreciate guys who help pepole get what they want when the company doesn't offer their own options. So if anyone has information on a left handed wolfgang other than frankenstraat, that would be cool.
    A lefty. Not a problem. Email me and we will get it done.

  11. #11
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottfletcher View Post
    A lefty. Not a problem. Email me and we will get it done.
    Now thats how to do biz.
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  12. #12
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    07.13.12 @ 05:20 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottfletcher View Post
    I debated on even bringing this up at this point, but I learned about a week ago that ernie ball is pursuing another trademark. As some of you know I offer premium replacemnet axis/ EVH style bodies. I have been doing these along time. over 10 years ! It turns out that ernie ball is trying to get a trademark on the body. It is my opinion that it is B.S. to go back and get a trade mark on something that you should of done before hand. All of a sudden it is important to them. Just for the record this body was first introduced and sold in 1991. 17 years ago ! Here is the deal I spoke to an attorney about this and Ernie balls chances seem to be 50 % or less of pulling this off. I am sure they would beg to differ ! When it comes to legal stuff you never know. They are now soliciting there customers to reinforce there argument. Most of there customers are going to blindly go along and sign this petition and that is preety weak on Ernie ball's part to do it that way. Either you have a case for a trademark or you don't. So this is why I thought it is appropriate to bring it up now. because if they pull the wool over the USPTO's eyes like they did the 4 + 2 headstock they will kill the ability of anybody who is making this body including myself. It is not just me that has been making this body. There are several other too. I will just say I am going to do anything in my power to stop this from happening. I also plan on challenging the headstock too, that they were awarded a trademark without the proper research. I don't want to go into unnecessary detail on that part, but I believe I have proof to show this. Yes, you can appeal a trademark. Without the expense of court. I have never been aproached because It is still legal to make these. The bad part about this is if you ever want to change your body or buy a back up you won't be able to do it from me or anybody else. That is there goal, to monopolize your choices. As of now just so people know. Ernie ball does not offer it themselves to purchase, . You have to send in an old one to get a new one and that is $600 ! And for all the people that own the original EVH, if you ever need a replacement for a damaged body you are screwed because they don't sell those either.... you can see where this leads. It sets a bad precedent. That anybody can stumble out of the woodwork and do this is quite frankly fucked up ( ala EVH and his stripes after people had been making those for years ) ! Sorry no indents !
    Why don't you file for the trademark as well?

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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    I dunno...just because a company didn't file for a trademark early on doesn't mean they don't have their legal and perhaps even moral right to have their design and creative property protected.

    What if we were talking about a songwriter? Say a guy writes a great song, ends up on youtube, he makes a name for himself and then realizes years later, "shit, I haven't copywritten my material." Consequently people have come out of the woodworks recording his songs, touring, selling cds etc. I think you'd be on his side wouldn't you? We may call him an idiot, a bad business person but I'm guessing almost everyone here including you would say "man, that guy is getting screwed by record companies, he should be able to get those copyrights."

    The fact that this is a big corporation we're talking makes them an easy target to pick on because they're the big bad empire trying to keep small indie guitar makers down but let's face facts...if you're using their designs and basically copying their product to make money for yourself it's the same as stealing someone's song and producing it as your own.

    It's their idea and design and it should be protected. If they have a specific vision of how that guitar should be made, that's their perogative as the original designers. If they don't want to offer in a lefty 7 string version made of zyracote and sapele with a pink and yellow polka-dot paint job, well, sucks to be the guy wanting to buy one.

    Now, if I were Ernie Ball I would absolutely look into partnering with the hundreds of incredibly talented and skilled luthiers around the country to create an authorized/licensed product line to provide people with options that the factory isn't interested in manufacturing but hey, if they don't want to do it, that's their thing.

    I think specific headstocks, body shapes etc SHOULD be protected...not because I'm some whore for big guitar companies but because I'm such a believer in protecting someone's rights. If you, scott, came up with some incredible design in your shop and it took off and you were making name for yourself and YOUR guitar was now becoming THE boutique guitar to own and were getting offers from shops across the country, wouldn't you want to protect yourself against...well...guys like you?

    I'm not trying to be insulting or anything like, just trying to have a dialogue so please I don't mean to offend or piss you off...i'm just asking...do you honestly think you're in the right?

  14. #14
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    I dunno...just because a company didn't file for a trademark early on doesn't mean they don't have their legal and perhaps even moral right to have their design and creative property protected.

    What if we were talking about a songwriter? Say a guy writes a great song, ends up on youtube, he makes a name for himself and then realizes years later, "shit, I haven't copywritten my material." Consequently people have come out of the woodworks recording his songs, touring, selling cds etc. I think you'd be on his side wouldn't you? We may call him an idiot, a bad business person but I'm guessing almost everyone here including you would say "man, that guy is getting screwed by record companies, he should be able to get those copyrights."

    The fact that this is a big corporation we're talking makes them an easy target to pick on because they're the big bad empire trying to keep small indie guitar makers down but let's face facts...if you're using their designs and basically copying their product to make money for yourself it's the same as stealing someone's song and producing it as your own.

    It's their idea and design and it should be protected. If they have a specific vision of how that guitar should be made, that's their perogative as the original designers. If they don't want to offer in a lefty 7 string version made of zyracote and sapele with a pink and yellow polka-dot paint job, well, sucks to be the guy wanting to buy one.

    Now, if I were Ernie Ball I would absolutely look into partnering with the hundreds of incredibly talented and skilled luthiers around the country to create an authorized/licensed product line to provide people with options that the factory isn't interested in manufacturing but hey, if they don't want to do it, that's their thing.

    I think specific headstocks, body shapes etc SHOULD be protected...not because I'm some whore for big guitar companies but because I'm such a believer in protecting someone's rights. If you, scott, came up with some incredible design in your shop and it took off and you were making name for yourself and YOUR guitar was now becoming THE boutique guitar to own and were getting offers from shops across the country, wouldn't you want to protect yourself against...well...guys like you?

    I'm not trying to be insulting or anything like, just trying to have a dialogue so please I don't mean to offend or piss you off...i'm just asking...do you honestly think you're in the right?
    After 17 years the shape is in the public domain in my opinion. Opposing them would at least make them prove ownership of it and prevent a government rubber stamp

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    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchitect View Post
    After 17 years the shape is in the public domain in my opinion. Opposing them would at least make them prove ownership of it and prevent a government rubber stamp
    I thought public domain took over after 90 years? Any lawyer want to hop in? Chef...got a quick link?

 

 

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