Legal question - Licensing Agreement

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Frog4, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Frog4
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    is it an industry standard for boat plan sellers to write up Licensing Agreements for 1 set of plans = 1 boat build ???
  2. rxcomposite
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    Yes it is a legal practice. Plans remains the property of the designer or the company he works for and got paid for doing so.

    1 boat build is permitted, otherwise you might use the plan for mass production and the owner doesn't get any commision.
  3. Frog4
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    So it is similar to the Housing Construction/Builder standards ... thanks :)
  4. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    Licensing agreements are generally unique and have become standard practice. Each one should be carefully read and interpreted for intent before signing. People have become cavalier about ignoring licensing agreements due to the technology business and they generally agree to anything without reading and often completely void their own rights in the transaction.

    People assume that agreeing to a licensing agreement is automatic, but when you question most small businesses, they'll alter the agreement to guarantee compliance with laws and individual requirements. Licensing agreements can limit your ability to resell a boat, sometimes they actually establish ownership of the product developed from the design - meaning they own it and you are only a licensee without ownership rights.

    As a business person, people tend to follow the lead set by their lawyers when drafting these types of documents - and lawyers being lawyers, they draft agreements completely to the advantage of their clients without any consideration to fairness.

  5. Frog4
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    We received a set of prints from an online plan seller which included a photocopy (boilerplate text) copyright worded that we can only build one boat from the plans. There was no indication of this in the ordering process nor on the suppliers/sellers website, it was included in the delivered plans. We did not sign any documentation nor notarize anything.

    If I had fore knowledge of this one-sided arrangement, I would have tried to work out a better "deal" or purchased from another company. On the surface it's pure and simple shady dealing.

    I understand the copyright issues, I would not want my work pilfered, but put it up front on your site and again prior to ordering or as a requisite to ordering via an electronic signature or key.

    I will honor their piece of paper. But will NOT order another set of plans from them.

    Once bitten, twice shy.
  6. itchy1finger
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    itchy1finger Junior Member

    i also bought plans for a runabout from the woodenboat store. included in the instructions and such was an agreement to not build more than 1 boat from these plans. i have no problem with that. i am asuming that this thread came up due to my post on looking for plans on a gentleman's racer, 30 foot. it is true, i am looking for plans on said boat, the more legal it goes the better.
  7. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Poida Senior Member

    I don't take any notice of this type of marketing. Far as I am concerned common law prevails. If you buy it, it then belongs to you and you can do whatever you like with it.

    Imagine if you bought an electric drill and inside the box it said, "This electric drill is for the sole use of the purchaser, and is not be used by anyone else."

    So what they are trying in a weird way is to make you believe it would be illegal to lend it to your brother.

    I am of the opinion any contract is only legally binding if agreed to (ie signed) by both partys.

    Copying the plans and reselling them would be different.

    Glen-l on their website have mentioned people who have purchased their plans and have made several boats from them, and don't appear to have an issue with it.
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Poida, you haven't bought boat the design, just the right to produce one hull from the plan set you received.

    If you want the right to produce more then one boat then contact the plan seller and arrange a royalty agreement (fee) so you can continue to produce boats from the same set of plans. The fee is usually quite nominal, typically up to 5 boats. If you want to produce more then 5 boats, well this is a production run and likely will require a different contract.

    Glen-L also makes arranges for a royalty fee on their plans, at least on the few that aren't public domain designs (most of Glen-L plans are), if more then one boat is produced. This is common and standard practice, in spite of what some might think is "right". Simply put, you've purchased nothing more then the right to produce one boat from the set of plans. You haven't purchased the design or the rights to produce the design in any quantity you like.

    In fact, most firms have two types of arrangements; limited or full production agreements. If you have plans in hand, then it's a royalty payment (typically limited production only). If you haven't plans yet, it's a production contract.

    If you bought the electric drill, then built a few hundred to sell, how many lawyers do you think you'd need on court day?
  9. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Frog, if you let a business space, you negotiate the contract then take possession, right? same with every noncommodity. In future, two-step the process- agree on terms and then do the transaction.
  10. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Copyright and licensing agreements are outside my area of expertise, but I do deal with them as they impact other business concerns.

    Podia, these rules are descendant from common law, so I don't know what you are talking about. If you think 17th century British common law applies... Well you are wrong I don't know what else to say.
    At least under US law, a license to build one boat (which is what most designers sell) is absolutely enforceable. Any boat built in derovation of that agreement can be seized and destroyed by the rights holder, though more typically they will work out a post production agreement, which may be double the normal license.

    If you were not aware of the license when you bought the plans then you can probably return them for a refund. I can't make such specific recommendations without looking at the paperwork though. Typically though designers who sell plans are up front about what you are buying, and since it is the industry standard I can't really place them for just following their standard.
    When you do business outside your area of expertise you run the risks associated with the new industry, even those you aren't aware of.


    I take exception to placing the blame here on the lawyers. I wright contracts all the time that are intended to be 'fair' and most of the time the people I work for want them to be. But a lawyers job isn't to be fair but to be an advocate for their clients opinion. If you have a question about the contract, then either be sure what you are signing, or hire your own lawyer to review it for 'fairness' anything less isn't their attorneys fault, it is yours.
  11. Frog4
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    Agreed ...

    My mistake was NOT asking about the licensing agreement before hand. I made assumptions since there wasn't anything on their site or pre-purchase. Even with multiple conversations with the seller, it never came up.

    folks, don't get me wrong, I will honor this paper agreement without my signature. They have rights. I would have negotiated something pre-purchase had I known. Again, my mistake.

    Just be aware, this is something folks should consider before purchase.
  12. Frog4
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    I will build out this set, paid for and researched already.

    Other sellers have the agreements up-front, pre-purchase and on their site. This Co did not, should have asked, but I didn't.

    My biggest gripe is the after the fact BS, including it without my knowledge or signature, and this being a requirement to build.
  13. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Par, My Mum was a dress maker. She often bought patterns for dresses as well as knitting patterns. There was never a problem or was it ever questioned, how many items you made from them.

    My Dad was a woodworker and sometimes worked to plans the same applied.

    No wonder I am so talented???

    And the electric drill saga, I did not say anything about manufacturing them, I was refering to someone else using it, and I was relating to computer programs where they state you can only use it in one computer and of course receive a download from the internet to get it authorised.

    This corporate greed has only crept into our society over the last 20 years and I have read two instances where Judges in court cases in Australia, have thrown cases out of court because there simply is no law to control what you do with something once you have paid for it and own it.

    However I will repeat, you would not be able to copy the plan and sell it, as that would be a breach of copyright. But you can use the plan yourself for whatever purpose.

    Don't forget, people can write what they like on anything they sell, but that doesn't make it law.

    Phil - You are talking about a contract. What we are discussing here is purchasing something without any agreement but the vendor trying to enforce an agreement after the sale.

    Computer programs do the same thing and state if you don't like the agreement, to return it to the store. We have what is known as Fair Trading and there are conditions under which you are by law allowed to return something, and not agreeing with terms and conditions aren't one of them.
  14. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "This corporate greed has only crept into our society over the last 20 years "


    I had a boat built in the 1960's from plans purchased from an Aussy try designer (Hedly Nichol) and they came with the same "build only 1 boat" restriction.

    Copyright laws have been protecting artists and designers for longer than just 20 years.

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