Splashing and the Law

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by gonzo, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 5,055
    Likes: 531, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    The lines, curves, text, etc on the plan are what is covered by copyright, not the idea of the shape. From a US Copyright Office website: Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation If hull shape was protected by copyright then a firm as Bonito boats who had the means to go to court over someone directly copying their design and pursue the case the to US Supreme Court would have cited copyright law.

    Perhaps an analagous situation is a recipe. This is from a US Copyright Office website:
    How do I protect my recipe?
    A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.


    In the US architectural work became subject to copyright protection in 1990 through a specific provision of copyright law, and architectural work is defined as “the design of a building embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.” Boats are not buildings though.
     
  2. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 5,055
    Likes: 531, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    In the US at least software copyright and intellectual property rights are covered by different law than copyright for other works.

    I'm not sure the open source software movement is applicable to boat design. There are numerous different agreements floating around, and many are intended to further particular agendas and ideology through restrictions and requirements in the agreements.

    On the other hand some of the issues raised are relevant to making boat plans available for free. In particular when someone makes boat plans avaible for free do they intend that:
    1) Copies of the plans can be freely distributed?
    2) Copies of the plans can be sold?
    3) Derivatives of the plans can be sold?
    4) The designer has to be acknowledged when the plans are copied or further distributed?
     
  3. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,680
    Likes: 346, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Vessel Hull Design Protection Act of 1998

    My attorney tells me the best protection for a boat design is a design patent.
    However, this act was passed in response to splashing-this is a bit of an analysis of the Act-not the Act itself:
     

    Attached Files:

  4. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 5,055
    Likes: 531, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Design Patents apply on to ornamental aspects of an object not dictated by the functional aspects of the object. Ornamental features on the side or deck of a boat would be covered, the overall shape of a hull or aspects which have hydrodynamic or other functions would not.

    US Patent Office web page about Design Patents: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/types/designapp.jsp#def
    Highlights from the page:

    A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation. A design for surface ornamentation is inseparable from the article to which it is applied and cannot exist alone. It must be a definite pattern of surface ornamentation, applied to an article of manufacture.

    A design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features.

    A design for an article of manufacture that is dictated primarily by the function of the article lacks ornamentality and is not proper statutory subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 171. Specifically, if at the time the design was created, there was no unique or distinctive shape or appearance to the article not dictated by the function that it performs, the design lacks ornamentality and is not proper subject matter. In addition, 35 U.S.C. 171 requires that a design to be patentable must be “original.”
     
  5. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 5,055
    Likes: 531, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Designs registered under the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act can be viewed at: http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/list/index.html

    I was surprised at how few designs have been registered. Perhaps it is because a court decision in 2004 significantly restricted applicability of the law to copies which were virtual mirror copies of both the hull and deck (see Doug's attachment for details). However Congress in 2008 amended the law to broaden the protection - more information at http://www.bromsun.com/media/OCT08_vesselhullV3.pdf
     
  6. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,680
    Likes: 346, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ==============
    Functional aspects of a design, if unique ,could potentially be protected by a utilities patent. My attorney says the the best way to protect a boat design is to file a design patent-which costs substantially less than a utilities patent. He also said that a few years ago the design patent was strengthened so that the old wives tale of "changing something small" to get around a design patent no longer works. I would strongly urge anyone considering protecting their design to get first hand information from a reputable patent attorney with experience in the marine field.I have a number of utilities patents and I have finally come to the conclusion(after the great rush of the first one 30 years ago) that for an individual inventor -particularly in the marine industry-they are a waste of money. That all changes if you can work out something with a big company before they steal it from you.
    For a project- like for instance a line of hydrofoil sailboats, the absolute best protection can be a trademark. I came up with the trademark "3D SAILING" for a line of RC hydrofoils. As soon as it was granted I was sued by North Sails because of their use of "3D SAILS". They lost and I wound up selling the mark a few years later for good money to Bombardier ,who, as best I can tell is just sitting on it. How they get away with that is anyone's guess because one of the requirements of a trademark is that it is used in commerce.
    ---
    Again, get advice from a reputable patent and trademark attorney with experience in the marine industry and make no decisions until you do. Most good attorneys will let you have the first visit free and ,of course, they are bound to keep your invention secret.
     

  7. Cheesy
    Joined: Aug 2008
    Posts: 315
    Likes: 12, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 189
    Location: NZ

    Cheesy Senior Member

    Im not from the US but have been looking at boat protection, it does apear that there may actually be some form of copyright protection for hull shapes under copyright?

    Types of Applications that Must Be Completed on Paper
    Certain applications must be completed on paper and
    mailed to the Copyright Office with the appropriate fee and
    deposit. Forms for these applications include
    • Form D*VH for registration of vessel hull designs
    • Form MW for registration of mask works
    • Form GATT for registration of works in which the U.S.
    copyright was restored under the 1994 Uruguay Round
    Agreements Act
    • Form RE for renewal of copyright claims, and
    • Forms for group submissions, including Form GR/PPh/
    CON (published photographs); Form GR/CP (contribu*
    tions to periodicals); Form SE/Group (serials); and Form
    G/DN (daily newspapers and newsletters)
    To access these forms, go to the Copyright Office website
    and click on Forms or call the Copyright Office. Informa*
    tional circulars about these types of applications and cur*
    rent registration fees are available on the Copyright Office
    website or by phone.


    Ok, looks like this is what Doug posted
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.