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Kiwi

NOTICE FOR OWNERS OF RICKENBACKER COPIES

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We have received emails from John Hall, CEO of Rickenbacker, alleging trademark infringement in relation to a classified advert for a Tokai Rockingbetter. We've made the thread invisible while we seek a legal opinion but wanted to make members aware that there were issues with these instruments. We have also asked John Hall for clarification on specifics but he has not yet supplied any information.

Documents forwarded by John Hall asserting Rickenbackers claim to trademark rights are included as attachments below.

[attachment=104740:Trademark-EC Bass Head.pdf]

[attachment=104741:Trademark-UK trc.pdf]

[attachment=135199:Trademark-EC Bass Body.pdf]

Please, no photography of any instruments resembling Rickenbacker products should be linked from or uploaded to the forum. No references should be made in listings for those instruments as a "Rickenbacker copy", "Ricky clone", or any other statements that attempt to sell the instrument based on its similarities, qualities or likenesses to genuine Rickenbacker instruments.

The mods have been asked to be extra vigilant and remove any listings that place the forum at risk.

Update from Hamster:

I have been sent a further update from John Hall who has just informed me (Basschat) that he has registered the design of the bass body. So where we have previously allowed photographs of Rickenbacker products where the headstock was not showing, we are now in a position where I must ask that NO photographs are attached to any Rickenbacker copy for sale or trade.

Edited by Hamster
Update, based on legal opinion

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If mr. Hall worries about the copies that run around, then what should Fender or Gibson say about this?
Kiwi, I think you better lock this topic, because there's going to be a lot of rick-bashing. :)

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Until fairly recently RIC didn't have a trademark in the design in the UK - they've now registered the headstock.

I don't think there's any need to lock the thread. Every other brand is fair game for 'bashing', so I don't so why RIC should be any different.

Edit: Just seen that the first attachment confirms their trademark - you need to change the extension to .pdf to open it.

Edited by Musky

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[quote name='thisnameistaken' timestamp='1334124500' post='1611105']
Funnily enough I nearly bought a 4003 in a shop on Monday. Glad I didn't now.
[/quote]

True dat.

If Rics are as good as everyone says, I don't see why they are so threatened by cheaper imitations. Unless they're better... :D

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[quote name='Musky' timestamp='1334127043' post='1611118']I don't think there's any need to lock the thread. Every other brand is fair game for 'bashing', so I don't so why RIC should be any different.[/quote]

I know that RIC has always been very strict with copies and I also know that a lot of people hate RIC for that. I don't mind the bashing, but in this case I think it will be very big. I've got pop-corn ready though. :)

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[quote name='Musky' timestamp='1334127043' post='1611118']
Until fairly recently RIC didn't have a trademark in the design in the UK - they've now registered the headstock.[/quote]

Interesting. Do you have any idea if they have these trademarks also in the rest of Europe?

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I have a great deal of respect for RIC and John Hall for what they do in regard to this, however it really does stagger me that they try to stop the private sales of 30+ year old basses that were made before they had their copyrights.
Fair enough with instruments that were made after the legal issues, even though there is some doubt as to wether or not they apply in whichever country.
In terms of there market, few who can afford a Rickenbacker would buy a copy so does it really massively affect there sales?
It does in one way. I have had 4 real Ricks. I will never buy another after an advert of mine was pulled on FEEBay a couple of years back.
As I said, fair play to Mr Hall, but I think he would be better drawing a line in the sand at pre-lawsuit. He would certainly get some kudos, IMHO.
Strange how FEEBay seem to pull less business sellers ads for modern Rick copies, again, IMHO.

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[quote name='Musky' timestamp='1334127043' post='1611118']
Edit: Just seen that the first attachment confirms their trademark - you need to change the extension to .pdf to open it.
[/quote]
Yes, unfortunately it seems to be a quirk of the forum software. Sorry about that.

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Fair play in respect of instruments that are made after the copyright was passed. However in regards of instruments that were made before this, I can`t see how they can enforce this.

Maybe anyone advertising one of these basses should include in the ad something along the lines of:

"Bass constructed in 19XX, before the Rickenbacker Copyright of 19YY was passed, therefore the instrument advertised for sale does not fall foul of this Copyright issue"

Something that basically tells them to go and brew a big cup (of f*ck*ff)

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[quote name='aheitl' timestamp='1334128285' post='1611127']
Interesting. Do you have any idea if they have these trademarks also in the rest of Europe?
[/quote]
From the attachment it seems like it's an EU wide thing.

AFAIK, trade for the purposes of trademark law doesn't include private sales. A very brief google seems to indicate that even shops aren't liable - only those who produce, package or import the goods.

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Nice one Musky, safe font of knowledge as usual.
Wouldn't it be comical if the actual trade marks registered in 1993 only covered that shape headstock, TRC,with the word Rickenbacker on it :P .

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Who does JH think he is GOD???
I own a 4003 Fireglo Ric at the moment and am seriously thinking of selling it never to buy another one.
They are not the be all and end all of basses, there are far better bass manufacturers out there
that don't get all high and mighty when somebody tries to copy them.
Bloody hell how many Fender Jazz and Precision copies are on the market New and secondhand.
You never hear of people getting their ads pulled selling any of these.
Get over yourself Mr Hall !!!!!! :angry:

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If RIC stopped being so precious about their 'hand made American' basses and introduced a decent, mass-produced budget line that bore the 'sacred' Rickenbacker name they would make an absolute killing and take away a lot of the reason why newer copies exist.

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I've had a original rickenbacker from 76 and it was really bad - I've sold it quickly - E string was dead and i couldn't do anything with it. And there was also terrible dead spots on upper positions of D string. Same thing was in other newer ricks that i played (maybe 4-5 pieces)

I've also had couple of rick copies (BO and NTB) and every single one was better than original (especially aria)

Maybe thats the reason why rickenbacker is afraid of copies?

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[quote name='mrdreadful' timestamp='1334130933' post='1611163']
If RIC stopped being so precious about their 'hand made American' basses and introduced a decent, mass-produced budget line that bore the 'sacred' Rickenbacker name they would make an absolute killing and take away a lot of the reason why newer copies exist.
[/quote]

A very good point that.

I wouldn't buy one though. They play like planks to me!!

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I've owned an Indie rick copy for the best part of two years, bought in England, if "[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]Until fairly recently RIC didn't have a trademark in the design in the UK - they've now registered the headstock."
how long ago was fairly recently? also, it doesn't have a rick headstock.[/font][/color]

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Fender tried something awhile ago, putting pressure on retailers (blocking stock if ifringing) but there were too many bolted horses.

Jon is just trying to maximise the value of the brand as a family asset.

Not like he's a banker or politician or soemthing, but it isn't quite in the spirit of rock 'n roll....

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1 Rick down, 3 to go. Will never have one in this house again.

Edited by Kiwi
profanity

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I love the uninformed reaction to this sort of thing.

Part of getting a patent or showing ownsership of copyright includes showing attempts to control copies. Without it the courts are likely to tell them to bugger off - so they are not being heavy handed, they are simply complying with the law to be able to protect their design. UK and USA copyright law is very different and the test cases on guitars are mostly from the USA. The Gibson -v- PRS case fell apart when Gibson's own counsel confirmed that "only an idiot would confuse them at the point of sale"

The headstock is likely to be the only properly copyright-able part of a guitar as the rest is much more related to the function of the instrument. That is why Phillips lost their sole use of the Phillishave system.

So RIC are likely to be able to force the copiers to change the headstock shape, but I doubt they'll get anywhere beyond that - but the point is -[b] to win future cases they must show that they tried[/b]

The next big one will be NS -v- Warwick. That one is a bit different. W knew they were sailing close to the wind and originally licenced the use of the "Streamer" shape. They refused to pay more fees but still make it. As another example - in Japan the copyright laws specifically allow local companies to "improve upon" the designs of others (TBH that is so subjective it is considered to be just a way to avoid liability for japanese firms) so that is why ESP in particular make Non-export models that appear to be perfect copies of 1959 Gibsons etc, except for the name.


As for the liability of shops - if they are openly selling a "tribute" that is clearly not a RIC then they have no liability. If they are selling an actual copy (name included) then they are likely to be liable.

Personally, I am more amazed at the sadly expected forum reaction. Try changing position on it. If you had a product that you researched, bought to market and sold, building up a global reputation wouldn't you protect it?

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[quote name='Thornybank' timestamp='1334131582' post='1611170']
Fender tried something awhile ago, putting pressure on retailers (blocking stock if ifringing) but there were too many bolted horses.

Jon is just trying to maximise the value of the brand as a family asset.

Not like he's a banker or politician or soemthing, but it isn't quite in the spirit of rock 'n roll....
[/quote]

People would have a lot more empathy if he backed off pulling every 30+ year old copy.

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[quote name='blunderthumbs' timestamp='1334130388' post='1611156']
Who does JH think he is GOD???
I own a 4003 Fireglo Ric at the moment and am seriously thinking of selling it never to buy another one.
They are not the be all and end all of basses, there are far better bass manufacturers out there
that don't get all high and mighty when somebody tries to copy them.
Bloody hell how many Fender Jazz and Precision copies are on the market New and secondhand.
You never hear of people getting their ads pulled selling any of these.
Get over yourself Mr Hall !!!!!! :angry:
[/quote]

I'm already in the process of doing so. Can't bear to look at them, now.

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shrug. Never liked them.
The pre patent guitars will continue to be sold, and the prohibition doesn`t apply to private sales.
Storm in a tea cup.

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