Who Owns The Design? Designer or Commissioner

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Velsia, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Velsia
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Jersey C.I

    Velsia Floater

    If someone designs something specifically for me and I build it (or have it built) do I (or builder) have the right to reproduce it?

    Can the designer sell my design as something else? If no how much of the design needs to be changed before it is "different". I can see this is a can of worms already!
     
  2. Alik
    Joined: Jul 2003
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    Location: Thailand

    Alik Senior Member

    This depends on Your agreement with the Designer. Normally, if we design exclusively for Client, would apply for patent where the Designer is author, and Client is patent holder.
    In some cases, if You want to reduce design fee, and the Designer feels that the design has the potential as stock design, then designer can own the rights for the design and he can re-sell the design to others.
     
  3. Velsia
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Jersey C.I

    Velsia Floater

    Hey Alik, that is about what I expected.

    I don't have any problem with the hull moulds being used to be honest as I think they will make a good boat. I am wondering if I keep the deck house design, how much would the designer have to change the aesthetic before it was different. It would take a trained eye to recognize the hull lines with a different coachroof etc. I expect this is a pretty grey area.
     
  4. Alik
    Joined: Jul 2003
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    Location: Thailand

    Alik Senior Member

    There is no answer how much to be changed. The designer would have his style, so often different designs from one drawing board look similar.

    We saw our designs 'traced over' from renderings; if one superimpose the images they will be exactly the same. However this will never result a good boat so we don't care.

    There was one idiot boatbuilder who brought his clients on our design at Boat Show, and then built a 'copy' for half price. Well, the copy was 5' shorter so formally 'different' design. It did not perform and was floating bow down, and of course had no CE certification. So I think he got what he deserved, and his client as well ;)
     
  5. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    It all depends on the market/sector you're in too.

    We own all our designs, non are exclusive. The design we do for one client we can offer to another.
    If the client thinks what we have offered them is something they alone want to have, then they can ask for the design to be 'exclusive' to them only. This of course comes at a premium. It comes down to how much potential the designer thinks the design has in terms of offering to other clients and obtaining more contracts with the - build to print - versus not having more enquires of said design. It is a balancing act to decide the pro's and con's of each, and there is no 'fixed value, as Alik notes.

    Every time our designs are built as a repeat, there is a royalty to pay for the use of the design, no matter whether it is a 100% exact repeat build or if it has been modified either by the shipyard or the designer. No different to other engineering/creative fields.

    All our designs are copyright and we hold all the IPR.
    But as Alik notes, it does not stop others copying - as sadly they have. So going legal with shipyards that have copied our designs doesn't always work either when their actions are endorsed by local laws that do not prevent such illegal copying, which was surprising! So dealing with shipyards that do not obey international legal norms nor understand ethics and professionalism is not always covered by local "legal" laws and there is little one can do....
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019

  6. Velsia
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Jersey C.I

    Velsia Floater

    Thanks for answering this. Your comments have been very insightful. It seems it is all down to the contract signed prior to the design starting. Next time I will be better prepared!
     
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