onlymeeee

Putting UREI on front panels
« on: January 18, 2009, 10:39:56 PM »
Hi,

What's the deal with putting UREI/SSL/Pultec etc on front panels.  Is it allowed? Is it only if you sell them that there's a problem? Or does it depend on the company? If they're not in business anymore?


NewYorkDave

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 10:51:30 PM »
My position has always been that putting a company's logo on a piece of equipment not manufactured by that company is counterfeiting.

rrs

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 12:46:03 AM »
If it's for non comercial benifit ie. personal use then I feel it's ok.

I mean copying the design in the first place would be the bigger issue.
David Wilson

EmRR

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 12:58:28 AM »
I frequently put a logo on a re-rack of an original piece, as it is correct brand identification for the circuit contained within.    I have once had problems with a brand trademark owner thinking that my (decades later) repackaging of his brand product, within a new case bearing his logo, could lead to 'consumer confusion' and potential liability for himself.  This in a case where my logo was right beside the logo (his) representing the piece within the case.  And really his issue was with the exact duplication of the original logo graphic design.  Had I done it with a different font, he'd have not cared.   

It's a different angle which Dave's point doesn't fully address; I put a logo on a repackage of a complete circuit item made by the owner of the logo.   That original logo was no longer visible because of the item being repackaged within a larger case. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

NewYorkDave

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 01:52:46 AM »
No, I don't consider that counterfeiting. For example, I have a couple of Gates preamp cards lying around. If I were to rack them up, I wouldn't hesitate to put a Gates badge on the front panel because the electronics within the enclosure would, indeed, be Gates products. But if the PCBs were clones, then... no, I wouldn't use the Gates logo on the panel.

Ptownkid

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 08:27:05 AM »
The real question here is why would you want to put someone elses logo on something YOU built from the ground up?

okgb

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 09:37:58 AM »
Quite right what need is there to do that ?

Although as nice as one can make a piece of gear ,
poeple still won't believe you when you tell them
it's just as good or exactly the same as .

My d.i.y. is for my own pleasure of having better gear
to make better recordings , and hopefully enhance my reputation
but it's a tough sell to charge extra for premium gear or to rent
any of it out
GKB Audio / Greg Boboski

JohnRoberts

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 11:48:04 AM »
This is an interesting question fraught with legal, and ethical issues. Perhaps an ink blot test for DIYers, revealing personal motivations.

Important questions (IMO) are not as much the individual's personal intent, but how using somebody else's mark is interpreted by others.

While some may rationalize this as a honest homage to a classic product, it is hard to escape that the "good will" of that classic product is being shared by that counterfeit (I know, an emotionally charged word).  If effort is made to resemble the look of the original mark, how could this not confuse what the association is?

Another question, what is the extent of "good will" associated with a classic product? Is it limited to schematic and the values of parts used? Or does it encompass, component quality, build quality, PCB layout design (a factor for better or worse in performance), control ergonomics (placement and laws), etc?

More questions than answers. In commerce it seems pretty clear cut (don't do it). For personal use, if you are the only person to ever see it, you are not likely to confuse yourself. When showing off such gear to third parties, it's hard to imagine that there is not some dilution of the "love" enjoyed by that old mark. Whether this helps or hurts an individual's reputation, depends on the mindset of the viewer. I am probably not typical in this regard.

Sorry, I'm sure my personal biases are showing. Being copied by Uli is not the honorarium that being copied here is.  I have openly shared all my kit designs, since that was the deal I made with my customers. Commercial designs and work for hire are a different matter. Of course what you do in the privacy of your home is your own business, as long as you don't break any laws of man or nature, and/or don't get caught.

JR 

 




Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Mbira

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2009, 12:31:16 PM »
IM oh so humble O, there are only two reasons to put a commercial manufacturers logo on a piece of gear:

1) Blatant counterfeiting, or
2) to deceive your clients by making them think that it is actually that gear.

I think I have gotten more 'street cred' when telling people "that is a design I built based on an 1176LN" than if I were to try and act like it is an 1176.  My clients and friends are more into the esoteric one-off kinda gear than they are looking for name-brand shopping anyway.

YMMV

Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com

Mbira

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2009, 12:33:12 PM »
Hey emrr,
I fully support your labeling racked modules, etc.
Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com


EmRR

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2009, 01:23:16 PM »
Hey emrr,
I fully support your labeling racked modules, etc.

Most people do; I was surprised to be called out on it.  Again, the issue as I understood it in the end was the particulars of the trademarked graphic design, which I reproduced.  It was pointed out to me that people like Brent Averil, in doing re-racks, included their own logo (which I had done), as well having permission to reproduce the original.   I see these days that he doesn't even use Neve or API as a name in any context, while making near exact cosmetic reproductions of some products.

Most of my re-racks never come close to this issue, as they are generally so antique as to be inactive brands, at least with regard to the field(s) they are being applied in.

But UREI would be a real no-no, having active legacy product in current production (UA).  I see there are 'UREI by Soundcraft' DJ mixers back in production too. 
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 01:48:58 PM by emrr »
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

sahib

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2009, 01:29:24 PM »
Dejavu. We have all been here before.

Anyhow, with all good intentions and to be constructive.

It is counterfeiting.

It is infringment of trademark.

It is illegal.

It is also immoral (in my view, in terms of current moral standards that shape our society).


Do not do it.

Whether it is DIY or not. You also can not re-produce a commercial product without the consent of the intellectual right holder of that product.

You also can not modify and pass it as your own.



This is a great forum and I am happy to be part of it. But let's be realistic, we are all at the understanding and tolerance of  the companies whose products are being DIYed. Not to forget that at their mercy too.



Mbira

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2009, 01:36:53 PM »

Quote
You also can not modify and pass it as your own.

I disagree with that-isn't that what every guitar amp manufacturer has done in the last 50 years? ;D
Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com

JohnRoberts

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2009, 04:37:45 PM »

Quote
You also can not modify and pass it as your own.

I disagree with that-isn't that what every guitar amp manufacturer has done in the last 50 years? ;D

To get this back on the road surface and out of the ditch, this discussion is mainly about usurping the good will associated with brand names.
=====
A lot of tube designs were lifted from tube design manuals and old Western Electric, among other company's pioneering designs.

On the subject of modern circuit design there are many public domain design techniques that are common knowledge to those skilled in the art and free to use. There are also novel circuit designs that are protected by utility patent or sometimes literal copyright. I have developed several potentially patentable design tricks that I didn't bother to patent, especially when using my own money. Even patented technology reverts to public domain and is again free to use after the patent term expires. That's the whole deal behind patents. Temporary exclusive use in return for publication and sharing the knowledge.

There are IMO different skill levels involved in reverse engineering a finished design. Professional designers read a schematic to parse out any useful, but not protected, design advancements worth applying to future designs. Like listening to another artist's music. It's also useful to study competitors protected technology so you don't inadvertently infringe. Unskilled copiers will often copy a design, including flaws just to get a working result, without investing the effort to understand how something works. I get a little irritated when trying to help folks even here who don't want me to lead them toward an answer, they just want to be handed the solution without exercising their gray matter.

While not so bad today with modern CAD tools, the early hand drawn schematics were notoriously inaccurate. Studying schematics back in the day required a degree of skepticism and judgement to know what to ignore and what to pursue.  ::)

I don't buy the "it's OK because everybody does it" argument. A skilled designer absorbs all the information available to him, then assembles his unique combination from that broad palette of tools or techniques. Designing without standing on the shoulders of others who have gone before is not a strategy for above average outcomes. I am personally motivated to improve upon other's designs, but I am not so arrogant to dismiss an approach because somebody else has used it before.

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

sahib

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2009, 04:39:35 PM »
You absolutely may disagree but us, who make a living out of designing have to follow the law closely.

However, the answer to your question is no. If you go back to egg or the hen scenario, the basic topologies that were used by the guitar amplifier manufacturers all belonged to the valve manufacturers, as at the beginning all they did was to copy the aplication notes. The valve manufacturers specially produced those application notes and allowed them to be used commercially because that was the only way they could sell their new technology to masses in consumer electronics.

Also the guitar amplifier manufacturers did not buy each others' amplifiers, modified them and than sold as their own. If I am not remembering wrong Mesa used Fender transformers initially but when they were found out the supply was cut off. Even then, that is different as all you are doing is that you are using a transformer of one manufacturer. However, on the other hand, the transformer feedback topology on mic amps was patented to BBC and anybody whom used that topology paid royalty to BBC.

But if you buy a Fender amp, modify the electronics, replace the Fender logo with your own, and sell it as your product you will be infringing;

1. Fender's patented design (electronics).
2. Fender's copyrighted design (cosmetics).

However, I am not an expert on the history of valve guitar amplifier development and I am sure the masters will chime in. Even then, it might have happened to a degree in the past, I do not know, but not now.

There are specific cases in the law established that it is infringement. One example which my lawyer sent me a few years ago belonged to a gear manufacturer. One mechanical engineering company bought this gearbox, modified and sold it as part of their product range. The court decided that it was an infringement of patent. This was in US.

While I was writing my post one master already chimed in.

Mbira

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2009, 10:25:37 PM »
Modifying another companys physical product and selling it as your own I can see the problem obviously, but in terms of modifying circuits?

5F6A Fender Schematic
Marshall JTM 45

But you're saying these designs came from the tube manufacturers originally?  Where can I find that info?  Thanks!
Quote
Designing without standing on the shoulders of others who have gone before is not a strategy for above average outcomes. I am personally motivated to improve upon other's designs, but I am not so arrogant to dismiss an approach because somebody else has used it before.

Exactly.  And I hope to be there someday...
Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com

Mbira

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2009, 10:57:30 PM »
BTW, I'm not saying what Marshall did was "right", but I am saying that it seems like a lot of people (companies) start with an idea from another company and then develop it and eventually keep branching into their own thing...
Joel Laviolette

Rattletree   |  https://www.rattletree.com
The Rattletree School of Marimba | https://www.learnmarimba.com

Butterylicious

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2009, 12:02:55 AM »
Most if not all of the tube manufacturers published example circuits with their tube data.  If you've ever been under the hood of just about any amp pre 1950, it'll say licensed under Western Electric Patent number bla bla bla.  This doesn't mean WECO had anything to do with the unit other than providing an example circuit.  The first Fender amp was made in 1947 and actually had a label stating "licensed under US Patents of American Telephone and Telegraph Company".   I could be completely mistaken, but I think the only "circuit" Fender ever patented was the roach style tremelo.  It could be argued every audio circuit was initially developed by the phone companies.  Another great example:
Laurens Hammond needed to find a way to add reverberation to the living room. He discovered that Bell Labs had devised an electromechanical device to simulate a single delay experienced on long distant calls. The device used two springs to transmit the delaying signal and four additional springs to dampen and “center” the driver saddle. While the dampening were housed in long tubes filled with oil, one of the springs transmitting the delay signal ended in a short tube which, by varying the amount of oil in the tube, varied the decay time. After modifying the reverb to create many echoes, it was perfect for Hammond’s needs.
Here's a picture of an original Hammond reverb tank.



The saddest part of the whole story is that Bell Labs, perhaps the greatest "think tank" ever assembled, is today nothing more than a fleet of lawyers.  I think the original thread question has been answered enough already.  Most people who are bright enough to know which end of a soldering iron to hold, know the difference between right & wrong.

-Richard

sahib

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2009, 06:27:11 AM »
Mbira,

I agree with you that you can certainly take a design topology and improve on it but if that topology is patented you will still require patent holder's consent. Take my previous example of the transformer feedback topology. A lot of companies designed their own circuits with that topology with obvious improvements to the end result, but they all still paid royalty to BBC until the patent run out. Because the idea that is patented here and the idea is taking the feedback from another winding of the transformer. Therefore your improvements are based on that idea.

If we take another example. You buy a D class amp IC and design your own circuitry around it. It is o.k. But if you design a discrete circuit based on the patented design of that chip you will need patent holder's consent.


JohnRoberts

Re: Putting UREI on front panels
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2009, 10:40:38 AM »
It is worthwhile studying patented technology. First to learn where the minefileds are to avoid, but more importantly to learn what is often the best way to accomplish something.

Patents can cut both ways. I lost use of my first invention in a contentious bankruptcy auction (the company I assigned the patent to went belly up). I was prevented from using my own invention for years, but time passes and that technology is now public domain. I am using it again in modern consoles.

While working at Peavey I was tasked with designing an automatic mixer. Doing my research I discovered (Dan) Dugan's patent, IMO  the best way to do it, was about to expire. Instead of jumping though hoops to work around his patent, like several other competitors did, I built upon his invention. I was granted an improvement patent (US05652800  Roberts) for my enhancement to his basic invention.

Most original tube patents are surely public domain by now, and you might be surprised at how long class D technology has been around. Royalties are probably included in the price of dedicated chip sets but the basic class D technology is surely public domain and free to use. I recall making a crude low power class D amp on my bench in the early '70s just messing around. OTOH I suspect the SOTA technology which these days is making 8kW monster amps for sound reinforcement, is protected, but there are multiple ways to skin any cat. Who knows you may think of a better one?

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


 

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