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Author Topic: Calling all busnut patent attorneys  (Read 2877 times)
JohnVickrey
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« on: November 08, 2011, 01:02:57 PM »

My wife is convinced that I will be sued by General Motors because I have re-created a Medallion for the 4104.  Any busnut attorneys with an opinion?? 
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John Vickrey   -   Dearing, GA
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 01:13:49 PM »

That was not a patent it was a copyright I doubt if anybody owns it now since the GM bankruptcy do some checking

good luck 
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 01:24:40 PM »

I don't think you are the first to re-create that and I certainly would not lose any sleep over it.  You can purchase name badges, hubcaps and hood ornaments for any number of antique cars. 
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 02:17:31 PM »

I would be surprised if the trademark lawyers at GM even know GM once made buses.

Kevin Warnock
http://KevinWarnock.com - my blog
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 02:46:44 PM »

Yeah, I'll bet they don't even know they ever made coaches or who holds the copyright or if it's valid.

Is the medallion that you made for sale? Are you producing copies for sale?
If not then I highly doubt it would be worth their time even if someone could show a current and valid registration on the copyright. The first official thing you would see is a cease and desist letter to stop and maybe surrender or destroy all works. If you didn't do that then maybe, just maybe someone might decide it's worth their time to try to scare you or sue you for infringement. It's more likely that you'd only be threatened (at most) if you weren't making money at it since an I.P (intellectual property) attorney would have to bill their company much more than it would ever be worth unless it was just a move to protect their claim for some reason.

I wouldn't lose sleep unless you are commercially selling it and advertising and then I'd check to see if the copyright is current. It seems to me that there were automatic extensions granted recently after a suit but I'm not an I.P attorney and don't know that they would apply, my brother in law is the I.P brain in the family.
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 03:10:00 PM »

I used to have a sideline printing dozens of different stickers with various company logos (all car related), and selling them at car shows and on Ebay. Generally speaking there's very little a trademark owner can really do to stop you using their logo, unless they can demonstrate that they have suffered a loss as a result of your actions, or that you are "passing off" - ie. claiming that what you made was actually made by them.

I was never contacted directly by anyone about the stickers, but for some items Ebay would regularly cancel my auctions through their VeRO programme. Some trademark owners (Harley Davidson was one) obviously had people constantly scanning Ebay for non-legit stuff, and would get the auctions cancelled of anything they found.

Jeremy
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 03:38:59 PM »

I know that Disney for one trolls Ebay and does pursue people as do a few other big name Hollywood studios. I once listed a spare film print of Disney's Song of the South and Ebay cancelled my auction. They reinstated it when I could prove that I did not copy it and was not making copies, that it was an original Disney film made by Disney.  Since then things have really changed since the hobby has gained popularity and Disney has gone after people just for selling films made by Disney and Ebay cooperates fully in order to avoid being named as a co-defendant.
 Disney legal sends nasty-grams threatening legal action and one guy I know actually got sued. Disney and the other studios own all film prints of their movies ever made past and present except P.D (public domain aka older films with expired rights) and Disney guards their animated classics in all formats very jealously and keeps their rights up to date forever. Not one that I know of has ever fallen into P.D.
 Another one is the film trailers where people cut them up and sell the individual cells (frames) for framing etc. There is a difference though between cease and desist suits and damage suits.
This though is admittedly different than making copies of a medallion logo of a product no longer being made and especially if it were for personal use only.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 03:43:43 PM by Paladin » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 05:06:08 PM »

Since this item is not in production by GM AND you are selling it as a reproduction, you are not depriving GM of any revenue.

I can't imagine GM would risk the negative push back from trying to stop enthusiast from improving their restoration.
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 05:09:56 PM »

GM has no rights if anybody does you would think MCI since they bought the GM bus manufacturing 

good luck
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 06:57:44 PM »

Had a friends that once was in business doing vinyl lettering and signs. He used to make corporate logo reproductions and sell them. Things like home depot, Lowes, Dewalt, Budweiser, and such and he lost his entire business due to one big corporation taking him to court and obviously winning. He said he would Never re produce anything ever again for no amount of money and after 8 years he hasn't!
If be very careful. It only takes one complaint to get the ball rolling!
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2011, 07:16:15 PM »

Every old car enthusiast would FREAK if the General ever gave a care about your few reproduced medallions.

And there's a whole lot of them still buying new GM vehicles...

Quite frankly, GM would be far better off to thank you for providing the service to our obscure hobby.

And they have absolutely no interest in offering new ones, and if they did, you'd be happy to stop.

You are fine, and your wife is good to be cautious.

If there's trouble, we'd just surround GM headquarters with bus conversions, set out the house plants and the awnings, and occupy until they smartened up.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 07:26:52 PM »

Well, my other addiction is a Pontiac Fiero.  Out of prodution since 1988.  Several folks were selling repo logo's, decals and what not.  GM sent them very unfriendly letters telling them to quit.   They still own the trademarks on the name Fiero and did not want anyone making money from their property.  John M.
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 07:37:44 PM »

John,
wait for the cease & desist letter, then comply.
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2011, 08:26:40 PM »

I'd listen to Paldin. He knows what he's talking about AND risking avoiding the same fate at the same time! LOL!!

Ian
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2011, 08:38:27 PM »

Well, my other addiction is a Pontiac Fiero.  Out of prodution since 1988.  Several folks were selling repo logo's, decals and what not.  GM sent them very unfriendly letters telling them to quit.   They still own the trademarks on the name Fiero and did not want anyone making money from their property.  John M.



Hey John, do you happen to have any spare Fiero seats with speakers or without? I was thinking of putting a pair in my MGB and have them covered in leather by MrMikes. I can't find any locally as of yet.

http://mrmikes.com/mg.htm

-Dave


We now return you to the original thread........



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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2011, 09:49:07 PM »

  Ferrari has gone crazy suing people over what they percieve as copyright infringement. Their logo, their name, even body shapes are copyrighted. A couple years ago a shop in France was raided, they had completed chassis and body work of replica vintage cars, using correct Ferrari engine, running gear, exact replica cars...all cars, tooling, everything was siezed and destroyed. About two years ago a guy was stopped in Italy driving a Ferrari replica built on a Pontiac Fiero. The car was siezed, and the owner was charged with counterfiting. I never heard the outcome but he likely got prison time. They have sued cases worldwide and won every case, so this is something that bears watching. Other companies have seen the results and are following suit. 

  I highly doubt GM would do anything, but they could, and they would win. If you get a letter telling you to stop, I would do so immediately. Actually, I would make and sell them, just dont tell the whole world. I think your somewhat safe here.
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MEverard
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2011, 05:39:04 AM »

Don't sell them to us. I don't think there is a problem with producing them. Give them to us free and we in turn will loan a friend money which we don't ever expect back.

Good Luck,

Mike
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Mike Everard
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2011, 05:59:18 AM »

 artvonne
 the guy in france was buying wrecked ferraris and using the engines ect to build ferrari 250 gtos they where exact copies
so good that ferrari had to list the serial #s as theres he built about 10-12 before getting in trouble and he never said they where
copys he just sold them as ferrari 250 gtos thats where he got in trouble but as i said his copy are now real ferrari as the factory could
not tell them from the real one and thay had a loss of imfo on serial # back then so told everyone that owned one to regerster it
with ferrari.  ps i love ferrari thats why i known about them about that time i built a all steal body of a gto myself
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2011, 06:31:56 AM »

The exotic car market is stuffed full of vehicles which don't have the provenance they claim - it's not just write-offs which are rebuilt in imaginative ways - it's quite common for perfectly sound 'lesser' Ferraris (330 GTs?) to be cut up and turned into 250 GTOs, and the same thing happens with lightweight E-Types, Cobras and all sorts of other things. Even muscle cars.

It is also true that some car makers have sued or otherwise prevented kit car builders from using their names and badges on replica vehicles, but that is a trademark thing and really a different issue. Ferrari are certainly known in the kit car world for taking a hard line against small manufacturers, but they aren't the only one. For instance I read a piece a year or two ago about the Chinese company that bought Rover, and thus MG brand. There's quite a few companies building MG replicas of various sorts, and apparently they were all shocked to suddenly receive cease and desist orders not long after the Chinese takeover went through. The story goes that the legal paperwork was hand delivered by messenger to each company at 4pm on Christmas Eve, with a response demanded by midday on 1st January.

Jeremy
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2011, 07:21:41 AM »

Like others have said, I doubt that you would be contacted by GM on a product that old and not manufactured for many years.  That said, they COULD come down on you if they wanted to.

All this discussion brought back memories.  I was doing some field testing with a customer who was a Honda Motorcycle dealer.  He attended a Honda Motorcycle convention in Las Vegas.  They shut off the lights and fired up a motorcycle and all the dealers began asking why they had brought a Harley to the convention.  When they turned on the lights, it was a new Honda model that they proudly announced that the engineers had duplicated the Harley sound.

You can guess the rest.  Harley came down on them!  The story was that Harley owned a patent on the sound and were going to sue.  I just did some searching and found this site that tells the story:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2352/did-harley-davidson-patent-the-sound-of-its-motorcycles

As the article notes, Harley had a Trademark on the sound.  Not sure how you do that unless you file a sound frequency profile with the Trademark office.

I am not an expert, but I looked into Trademarks a while ago.  As I understand it, there are two levels of trademark.  One is where you simply claim the trademark for your item and always add the trademark insignia when you publicly use that name in a document/website/etc.  I did that for a long time on some names on my products but no longer make the effort except with formal documents (manuals, brochures, etc).

The second level is a registered TM.  That requires filing documents with the authorities and receive a TM that is registered.  Most large companies protect there names (and I guess sounds) with the registered version.

Sorry about my typical rambling Wink

Jim
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2011, 07:24:43 AM »

Yeah, I'll bet they don't even know they ever made coaches or who holds the copyright or if it's valid.

Is the medallion that you made for sale? Are you producing copies for sale?

They do now!!!  Now some smart, hungry legal beagle will find the discussion on Google and alert GM as to how they can make lots of money suing you.   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Never should have asked.  Easier to beg forgiveness.  It's like buying a new tool; do you just buy it or ask Lois first?  I'm with the group that says no one knows about copyright and no one cares.
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2011, 07:28:21 AM »

Good grief guys he falls under replacement parts and my daughter which is a attorney says go for it sale it as a replacement not a thing they can do

good luck
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2011, 11:22:33 AM »

   

  I highly doubt GM will care, but if they did they could stop it.

  I dont know how Harley could claim any kind sound. Indian, Douglas, Vincent, Brough, and many, many others dating back over 100 years built V twin engines whose cylinders connecting rods shared a common throw, and all have the familiar skip beat any Harley has. It would be tantamount to GE trying to patent the sound of a fan.

  What Harely could go after, is if Honda made the claim their bike sounded "like" a Harley. Now they just crossed the line.

  I never understood why anyone would want to buy a copy of anything. If I wanted a bike that looked and sounded like a Harley, I'd buy one. If I wanted a car that looked and drove like a Mercedes, id own a Mercedes. Every time I see a fake Japanese Harely I just laugh. They did everything they could to destroy every motorcycle maker in the world by being technologically innovative, and in the end they end up copying the very things they set out to surpass. I suppose next we'll see a Japanese copy of a 4104. Lol.
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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2011, 11:44:21 AM »

But the point is that Japanese copy of a 4104 would be a really good bus - it'd have much of the character and classic appeal of the original but with all the advantages of modern technology. I expect the same arguements can be made for Goldwings and the like (actually, I've always liked Goldwings - those Honda flat sixes are a work of art).

But it's an entirely personal thing; I would never have (for instance) imitation wood or fake marble in my house, because to me that stuff is bought by people who are cheap or who don't know any better. But I would certainly have a fake Lamborghini in my garage, even if I could afford a real one. Because I like the idea of owning a car with Lamborghini looks which I could actually use - rather than a real one which would be hopelessly unreliable, impractical, blisteringly expensive to run and generally hell to live with.

Jeremy
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« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2011, 12:14:25 PM »

So if GM insists that you not make the emblem then have it altered slightly so it does not inf infringe on them...

Make it with a big CM instead of GM
and spell GENERAL with a C so it would be CENERAL MOTORS

From a distance the C will look like a G

Anyone that buys one could modify the C to look like a G, but that would be after you sold it so you could not be responsible.



.
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« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2011, 01:09:57 PM »

Ha! I love that idea of altering it slightly though I guess you could still be sued with the idea of just keeping you tied up with expensive legal woes until you gave up. Coke has done that hundreds of times on their patented bottle shape and logo including the color scheme.  It's sort of like some cheap H.F house branded Central Pneumatic tools used to have a similar logo as the better brand Chicago Pneumatic. Hmm, I wonder why they changed?


Bottom line is that none of us would bear the cost of a suit or the hassle regardless of the many ideas to get around it or just risking it so the decision is up to the individual. Personally I would ask for permission first to sell and I'd bet I'd probably get it whereas just doing it might incur wrath. If it were only for my use I wouldn't bother and I'm sure nobody would care. I guess I had the idea that it was for personal use though that wasn't specified was it?
 
Today I asked an I.P attorney which by the way is the only type to ask since that's their specialty and the answer I got is pretty much the same as most have said, could be pretty risky and is very likely an infringement to use for commercial use.  The only question is, as paraphrased by Clint, "Do you feel lucky, punk?"  Grin

   

 
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« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2011, 01:42:26 PM »



John  Why worry. They will have to go out of the country to find any one that know es any thing about these.

You are a innocent bystander.

uncle Ned
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« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2011, 02:50:40 PM »

That was not a patent it was a copyright I doubt if anybody owns it now since the GM bankruptcy do some checking

All of the old GM's trademarks were sold to the current GM company as part of the whole bankruptcy process.  I highly doubt GM is going to be concerned about this use of the GM name.
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« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2011, 03:08:20 PM »

Thanks guys, for all you response'.  I asked this kinda toungue-in-cheek, I don't know where she comes up with this stuff. 

I have gotten a real chuckle out of all the responses. Grin Grin

The medallion is still for sale and they will be available at the Arcadia Rally too.

I'm gonna wait for the letter from GM, and maybe I'm not selling them you're just loaning me money permanently. Roll Eyes

I like the idea of a copy of a 4104!! Next project?
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« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2011, 03:31:29 PM »

You would think that GM would be happy to have the free advertising that the emblems give. Grin
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2011, 06:18:35 PM »

But the point is that Japanese copy of a 4104 would be a really good bus - it'd have much of the character and classic appeal of the original but with all the advantages of modern technology. Jeremy

  Then you probably dont mind that Rolls Royce and Cooper are now owned by BMW and made in Germany, some argue they are now better cars??

  The old WW2 crowd that were watching Britain get blasted to bits, it must about break their hearts seeing that.

  I dont really care if someone can make something better, some things are meant to be the way their meant to be. If I want something that looks like a Harley, it will be. If I want a car that looks and runs like a MB, it will be. Not saying I dont like good copies, but I can understand a company trying to protect their product, name, reputation, etc..

  Now as far as GM and the 4104, it is my understanding it was Greyhound who approached GM to make them, and it was greyhound who more or less designed them so they could get what "they" wanted. As such, is it really a GM at all? I'd want a hound on the front of mine, lol.
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« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2011, 07:14:09 PM »

Paladin, you have a PM.  John M.
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« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2011, 09:32:33 PM »

Paul -

Now as far as GM and the 4104, it is my understanding it was Greyhound who approached GM to make them, and it was greyhound who more or less designed them so they could get what "they" wanted. As such, is it really a GM at all? I'd want a hound on the front of mine, lol.

You've got the 4104 mixed up with the 4501, aka the Scenicruiser.

If you're a true busnut, you should have a copy of Larry Plachno's "Mondern Intercity Coaches" in your library.  Lots of good bus history in that publication.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2011, 11:20:19 PM »

If you're a true busnut.....

  You know, the monequer of busnut has been something ive really tried to avoid most of my life. I try not to even remember 1988, the second hottest driest summer on record up in Minnesota, when we listened to some moron tell us how much aluminum was (more like wasnt) on a Bus. I try to forget that me and my dad and our friend all had cracked ribs at the same time from wrecking Buses that summer (falling off ladders), or how we kept making each other laugh so it hurt. But taking them apart, ripping the aluminum skin off was kind of sad, like skinning a Whale who's species would soon be extinct. We really didnt care much about Transits, but a coach like a 4104, or an 4106, those we never liked wrecking.

  I read a book on the history of Greyhound some years ago. I guess that was where I got the impression GM was just the middle man, doing what Greyhound asked. That that arrangement was what got them in trouble with Congress for collusion, that GM wasnt selling Buses to any other competitors. That that was, among other reasons, the impetus behind the beginings of MCI.

  Anyway, I guess if I crank my head around everytime I see a Bus, or get excited everytime I see its an oldie like an 04, or an Eagle, or Prevo Conversion, or am goofy enough to bring home books from the Library about Buses, im probably a Busnut. At least I seem to be in good company.
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« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2011, 01:06:11 AM »

  Then you probably dont mind that Rolls Royce and Cooper are now owned by BMW and made in Germany, some argue they are now better cars??

- and-

  Now as far as GM and the 4104, it is my understanding it was Greyhound who approached GM to make them, and it was greyhound who more or less designed them so they could get what "they" wanted. As such, is it really a GM at all? I'd want a hound on the front of mine, lol.


So you must be really upset that Greyhound is now owned by the British...?


It may be hard to believe (and I don't really understand it myself) but there's very very little 'product patriotism' here. I was reading an article about this phenomenon just a couple of days ago. There is absolutely no British equivalent to the 'Buy American' movement - in fact we have laws that say that public institutions (councils, emergency services, government bodies) must always buy the 'best' when spending taxpayer's money, irrespective of where it is made - the point is to give British manufacturers nowhere to hide and forces them to be world-class or go out of business.

Rolls Royces and Minis are designed and built by British people in British factories. Hondas, Nissans and Toyotas are too. Does anything beyond that really matter much? Sure, some of the profit will flow out the country, but an awful lot of it stays in the UK in many different forms

And by the way...[Pedant mode back on]....Cooper is not the name of the company! The American misunderstanding of the name Cooper has always really annoyed me - as does Americans who call Land Rovers 'Rovers' - Rover and Cooper were both entirely different companies! Rover was a British car builder (nothing to do with the 4x4s), and Cooper was a very small independent tuning company, whose name is now used as a badge on a Mini model. It's exactly like referring to all Mercedes as 'AMGs' because some of them have AMG badges on the back.

Jeremy

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