Fender loses copyright case

Fender loses copyright case
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Rejected on the grounds that the shape is generic. As the author suggests, the shape is only ‘generic’ because it has been copied extensively over the years.


Wait a momnet @AJ113 . Were you saying the other day that you couldn’t copyright a physical thjing, like that diamond.
I’m thoroughly confused.


It’s not the item but the intellectual property of its design that would be copyrighted.


If only I could create something that would be so hugely popular that it would one day become “generic”. The author does have a good point there though.


So if I then copy “protected” design that into a physical product and the original designer gets to hear about it, he could sue me. Yes? And he’d sue for what? Breach of copyright?


Yep, theft of intellectual property.

Not sure if it helps bt you could think of it like a patent. As you probably know, if you copy anything that’s patented the owner of the patent can sue, and/or issue a C&D (cease and desist) order.


The title of that article is misleading. This is not a copyright case. This is not a patent case. This was brought before the Federal courts under 15 U.S. Code §1051-1052 making it a trademark case. All three, though forms of intellectual property, are very different matters.

[quote=“Coquet-Shack, post:3, topic:1189, full:true”]
Wait a momnet @AJ113 . Were you saying the other day that you couldn’t copyright a physical thing, like that diamond.I’m thoroughly confused. [/quote] AJ was correct in that you can not copyright a physical thing. The difference between a diamond and a physical CD disk is that the physical CD disk contains a ‘performance’ which is copyrightable. Since the ‘musical composition’ exists independently from the ‘performance’ on which the composition was based, a recorded CD disk is NOT a purely physical thing. A diamond does not have that dichotomy of intellectual property attributes. Now if you wanted to copyright a blank physical CD disk? (haha - Then sue everyone who tried to burn data onto it?) No. You could not.

It is also false to assume that all physical objects receive patents. Lines and scripts of computer code receive patent. Not copyright. And patents in this case are far more valuable than copyright because they protect a much broader range of application.

No. Under US law he would challenge the status of your ‘provisional patent’, and block the patent from ever being granted in the first place. Your physical product (whatever it is), will likely be ineligible to receive ‘copyright’ protection, as it must fall within the scope of copyright (as defined in 17 US Code Chapter 1 § 500-501).

Great question but it doesn’t apply to this case, as this is a trademark case. Not a patent case. In trademark law, IT IS NOT the first party that registers the trademark to whom the rights to that trademark belong. It is the first party that operatively USES the trademark. And as expected, in the preliminary motion, Fender cited “First use in commerce” from 1954. But in this case, first use clauses were over-ridden by other factors.

Anyone can sue for anything…the question is if the case has any merit. The owner in this case (Fender) did NOT have a patent, and they sued anyway. Fenders claim was both legitimate and actionable, they simply failed to defend it.


…just so you know, ‘contracts’ are breached. Copyright is ‘infringed’.

Just so terminology doesn’t get accidentally crossed, “Intellectual Property” is a term that encompasses all three divisions of copyright, patent, and trademark.


Can you ‘defend’ a claim? I would have thought you ‘pursued’ a claim. Surely the respondent defends it?


Because you copied a physical product. So copyright can cover a physical product? I am so confused.


PEDANT! :smiley:


A crucial requirement for a proofreader.


Totally. Fender was pursuing a claim. But they also had to ‘defend’ a part of their trademark (the body shape) in order to pursue the claim. Since thats what the respondent effectively challenged when they motioned to dismiss.

Fenders trademark has long been established. Their name, logo, and the shape of their headstocks were never in question. It was shape of the body style which they believed was also a part of the trademark.

…I see where I poorly worded that. My bad.


Pendant - Also a form of ancillary or supplemental jurisdiction! :smiley:


Yes but it’s the design of that product that’s covered (or not). The element that was in Leo’s head originally. He didn’t have a piece of shaped wood in his head, he had an idea, a concept of what it would look like.


Not the same spelling mate.


In my opinion this was a case that wasn’t needed. I see it like this - you can copy the shape of a Strat (as hundreds of manufacturers do), and we call them Strat shape, or Strat copy, or Strat like guitars. Nobody is selling a Stagg Strat and trying to convince you that you’ve bought a US edition Stratocaster made by Fender. It’s in a league of it’s own, in terms of sound and reputation. More over, I know many people who own a Squier or a Stagg, and just dream of the day when they can get the money together and buy an official Fender Strat. I’ve never known anyone ever buying a Strat Copy, taking it home and getting surprised that it wasn’t actually a Fender.


@madpsychot, What you’re referring to is counterfeiting, and didn’t have anything to do with Fenders grounds for filing this case. This case was needed, as it settled charges against many other companies, and set precedent for subsequent disputes which later affected Gibson and PRS.


Spent my working life correcting professional journalists’ copy. Don’t teach granny to suck eggs.