boat design and patents Help!

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by flatboat, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. flatboat
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: florida

    flatboat New Member

    I'm a new boat designer and plan to build small production flats boats but I'm afraid of incorporating features on my boat such as spray rails due to fear of existing patents. How can I know if a particular design feature is patented ? ie spray rails, deadrise or a particular boat design.:confused:

    any help would be greatly appreciated

    thanks Eric
     
  2. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Frankly, there are very few boat designs, or even design features that are patented. Most designs are generic and have been around for 100 years or more. If you are really paranoid about it check with the patent office. http://www.uspto.gov/

    A few things are. Boston Whaler's method or building their boats is patented, but the basic sea sled hull they use in the 13 footer and others is not because it is generic.

    The delta conic design is patented but the basic idea of a deep vee hull with fore and aft running strakes is not.

    Some stepped hulls are patented but the idea of a stepped hull has been around since the beginning of the 20th century.

    The copyright office http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/ administers the Veseel Hull Design Protection Act but getting one covered is difficult because you have to show that it is unique, and very few are.

    Flats boats in particular are pretty generic to the gulf region. Everybody and his brother in Florida makes flats boats, so I wouldn't get too wrapped around the axle about this.
     
  3. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    There's no need to be concerned if you aren't copying anything with obviously unique and unusual features. By now, little in marine design is protected by patents except highly unusual/original methods and features.

    Shapes in particular are practically unpatentable since the protection would have been awarded according to proof that nothing similar had ever been in existence before. How could that be proven when there are so many thousands boats out there, all with different designs?

    Once any unpatented design has been sold in any appreciable quantity on the open market, nobody can patent it after that anyway.
    On the other hand, a person can invent something and not try to patent it, and another person can invent the same thing and get patent protection just so long as the first inventor never followed through in good time or didn't manufacture the invention.

    It isn't against the law to have the same design as one that's patented--- It's up to the patent owner to sue and if the item patented is minor, it's probable it won't ever be an issue since a small production run iby a small builder is hardly noticed in the big world out there and even if it were, few patent holders would pay a lawyer a large amount of money to sue you if simpl;y asking you to omit the feature would be cheaper.

    Alan
     
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