Question about new design submissions

R

Rain

Guest
Hi,
I am not trying to be a jerk here or anything, but I am wondering how Warmoth handles new design ideas from submitting customers. For example, what if, say, someone has Warmoth create a custom body, and then Warmoth offers it in their line up? Since there is no patent on the design shape, would Warmoth offer the artist a percentage on further sales, or would they take the capitalist approach and totally ignore the source (the customer) of where the idea came from?
Please do not misunderstand me - I 'm not trying to upset anyone. But thesedays it seems that as long as someone can rip someone off legally, they can get away with it...like hyenas stealing a kill from a lion.
I understand the importance of securing a patent. I also understand that many, many people have become broke in the process of trying to protect their patents from big business thieves, and that a patent means nothing without millions of dollars (attorneys fees) behind it in support of it's protection.
But in this situation, it's different. Once I have paid the fees (CNC set-up charges, etc.) to Warmoth, the dirty work is done. Warmoth, in charging me custom fees, would have no investment into it's design that was out-of-pocket for them, since I paid for everything up front.
At that point if Warmoth decided that my design might be a hot seller, and began to include it into their body options, would they contact me for a buy out or percentage of sales agreement, or would they just take the idea outright, and then tell me to take a hike?
Of course I don't expect you to admit "Oh yeah, we'll totally rip you off", but I am interested in what your official policy is regarding this. 
Once again, I am sincere with this in the sense that I do not wish to imply that Warmoth's credibility is questionable or anything like that. It's just that nowadays you have to find out what everyone is up to before you do anything. I certainly hope you can understand that, and that because America is what it is today, I can't be too careful.
Thanks for your time and effort with this,
R
 

m4rk0

Senior member
Messages
5,383
I wonder what's so special about your 'design'.
I don't think Warmoth would mass produce anything before they are sure there is a reasonable demand for it.
and I don't think there is going to be a reasonable demand for something that doesn't resemble anything that is already established.

Can you post your design here, so we can all steal it?? :)
 
R

Rain

Guest
m4rk0 said:
I wonder what's so special about your 'design'.
I don't think Warmoth would mass produce anything before they are sure there is a reasonable demand for it.
and I don't think there is going to be a reasonable demand for something that doesn't resemble anything that is already established.

Can you post your design here, so we can all steal it?? :)

Let's try to keep this on an adult level. There are many variations of guitar bodies, most of which are not interesting enough to become huge sellers, as you implied. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that it is the end of the world for  new guitar body designs. It is interesting to note that the minute someone says "I have something new", the first response is "No you don't". That's incredibly assuming and egotistical on your part...
 

GuitarEC

Active member
Messages
71
Rain said:
Let's try to keep this on an adult level. There are many variations of guitar bodies, most of which are not interesting enough to become huge sellers, as you implied. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that it is the end of the world for  new guitar body designs. It is interesting to note that the minute someone says "I have something new", the first response is "No you don't". That's incredibly assuming and egotistical on your part...

Rain,

Let's not let this turn into a flame war or anything...  If anything, m4rk0's last sentence was the only thing that was even remotely poking fun at you, and he put a smiley at the end to let you know that he was not being serious.

As far as being adult - you raise a lot of valid issues.  However, instead of bringing it up on an  "UNOFFICIAL" discussion board, perhaps you should call Warmoth directly to get the answers you seek (and any disclaimers and other legal-type documents relevent to your situation).

Good luck with your design, and look forward to a posting of it on the boards,

Eric "GuitarEC"
 

Wyliee

Senior member
Messages
1,931
If it is a significant concern, the prudent move would be to handle all the legal registrations prior to submitting the design or showing it publicly.

-Eric.
 

simple

Senior member
Staff member
Messages
2,101
Rain said:
Hi,
I am not trying to be a jerk here or anything, but I am wondering how Warmoth handles new design ideas from submitting customers. For example, what if, say, someone has Warmoth create a custom body, and then Warmoth offers it in their line up? Since there is no patent on the design shape, would Warmoth offer the artist a percentage on further sales, or would they take the capitalist approach and totally ignore the source (the customer) of where the idea came from?
Please do not misunderstand me - I 'm not trying to upset anyone. But thesedays it seems that as long as someone can rip someone off legally, they can get away with it...like hyenas stealing a kill from a lion.
I understand the importance of securing a patent. I also understand that many, many people have become broke in the process of trying to protect their patents from big business thieves, and that a patent means nothing without millions of dollars (attorneys fees) behind it in support of it's protection.
But in this situation, it's different. Once I have paid the fees (CNC set-up charges, etc.) to Warmoth, the dirty work is done. Warmoth, in charging me custom fees, would have no investment into it's design that was out-of-pocket for them, since I paid for everything up front.
At that point if Warmoth decided that my design might be a hot seller, and began to include it into their body options, would they contact me for a buy out or percentage of sales agreement, or would they just take the idea outright, and then tell me to take a hike?
Of course I don't expect you to admit "Oh yeah, we'll totally rip you off", but I am interested in what your official policy is regarding this. 
Once again, I am sincere with this in the sense that I do not wish to imply that Warmoth's credibility is questionable or anything like that. It's just that nowadays you have to find out what everyone is up to before you do anything. I certainly hope you can understand that, and that because America is what it is today, I can't be too careful.
Thanks for your time and effort with this,
R
I understand your concerns. If you have a good design, someone WILL rip you off when the design gets famous. On the level of making parts for OEM builders, Warmoth's reputation is long and rock solid as a business partner of choice for quality and integrity. That said, if someone submits a body drawing, for example, in the shape of something similar to yours down the road, we're not going to police your design claims.
 

m4rk0

Senior member
Messages
5,383
Rain said:
Let's try to keep this on an adult level. There are many variations of guitar bodies, most of which are not interesting enough to become huge sellers, as you implied. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that it is the end of the world for  new guitar body designs. It is interesting to note that the minute someone says "I have something new", the first response is "No you don't". That's incredibly assuming and egotistical on your part...

You were taking my response way too seriously.. not trying to make fun of your design at all..
and all I was saying that Warmoth appears to be more reactive to whatever the popular demand is, rather than to offer 'new' designs (when it comes to body shapes). I could be very wrong though.
 
R

Rain

Guest
Thanks for everyone's constructive replies and for trying to understand my point of view.
The trouble I have is that I do have a good design - and there are sharks swimming all around us, all the time. It is pathetic that the patent sytem, being what it is today, is no longer a viable consideration. In fact, I have personally been advised by a patent attorney to avoid seeking a patent. A better option according to him, is if you are sure you have a really good idea - to sink money into marketing, advertisement, manufacturing, and then really stockpile product in order to meet demand and sell as much as possible before those who will undoutedly steal your design actually begin to do it. Unfortunately a year later many will copy your design, but hopefully for one year you will had generated the all important "next big thing" interest and corresponding sales. Hardly a comforting or inspiring scenario huh? Now I see why American inventors have been dwizzled into only a handful of remaining few optimists...

I was expecting something like "Well, with custom body requests we (Warmoth) always insist on having a disclosure agreement, which protects the designer, but also protects us (Warmoth) in the event that a designer has us build something that unbeknowst to us, IS already patented. That way we avoid all liability for infringments invloving custom work should any questions surface. Also, if Warmoth does agree to pursue a venture with a design, the designer him/herself would be asked to share part ownership of the design with Warmoth before the venture is allowed to continue."
I just thought there were more legalities involved, and that they could generally be outlined here. And as well, that if there was such a "partnership program" in place, that it's structure could be mentioned as well. Just general company policy type stuff...
Anyway, I appreciate the efforts of everyone here, thanks for all your posts!
Not sure what to do next...
R
 

simple

Senior member
Staff member
Messages
2,101
Rain said:
Thanks for everyone's constructive replies and for trying to understand my point of view.
The trouble I have is that I do have a good design - and there are sharks swimming all around us, all the time. It is pathetic that the patent sytem, being what it is today, is no longer a viable consideration. In fact, I have personally been advised by a patent attorney to avoid seeking a patent. A better option according to him, is if you are sure you have a really good idea - to sink money into marketing, advertisement, manufacturing, and then really stockpile product in order to meet demand and sell as much as possible before those who will undoutedly steal your design actually begin to do it. Unfortunately a year later many will copy your design, but hopefully for one year you will had generated the all important "next big thing" interest and corresponding sales. Hardly a comforting or inspiring scenario huh? Now I see why American inventors have been dwizzled into only a handful of remaining few optimists...

I was expecting something like "Well, with custom body requests we (Warmoth) always insist on having a disclosure agreement, which protects the designer, but also protects us (Warmoth) in the event that a designer has us build something that unbeknowst to us, IS already patented. That way we avoid all liability for infringments invloving custom work should any questions surface. Also, if Warmoth does agree to pursue a venture with a design, the designer him/herself would be asked to share part ownership of the design with Warmoth before the venture is allowed to continue."
I just thought there were more legalities involved, and that they could generally be outlined here. And as well, that if there was such a "partnership program" in place, that it's structure could be mentioned as well. Just general company policy type stuff...
Anyway, I appreciate the efforts of everyone here, thanks for all your posts!
Not sure what to do next...
R

We haven't pursued designer partnerships for a lot of the reasons you've already outlined. Too much paperwork and hoopla for a uncertain long term reward. But if you want us to make something for you, we can do that.
 

Greg P

Active member
Messages
36
I'm not an attorney, but I think you are confusing copyright (or perhaps more accurately a trademark) with a patent.  Patents are awarded for some entirely new invention or some non-obvious improvement to an old invention. 

Copyright applies to creative inventions.  A piece of music for example, or I would I think a new shape guitar body would qualify.  By the way, copyright protection begins the minute the work was created, although there are specific things you can do to help your case. 

Trademark is phrase or shape, or something otherwise used to distinguish a manufacturer or source of goods.

In your case, a guitar body unless it is something really, really innovative would not qualify for a patent.  IMO a new shape wouldn't be enough.  In fact, think of all the manufacturers who make something close to a Fender Strat shape.  But the Fender headstock is trademarked and no one can make that same shape without permission from Fender (like Warmoth).  So I would think that if your body was distinctive enough, it could be trademarked. 

I was expecting something like "Well, with custom body requests we (Warmoth) always insist on having a disclosure agreement, which protects the designer, but also protects us (Warmoth) in the event that a designer has us build something that unbeknowst to us, IS already patented. That way we avoid all liability for infringments invloving custom work should any questions surface. Also, if Warmoth does agree to pursue a venture with a design, the designer him/herself would be asked to share part ownership of the design with Warmoth before the venture is allowed to continue."

Again, I think you mean already copyrighted or trademarked not patented, but...like what?  We already know what all the famous guitar shapes are.  If you submit a design that looks exactly like the Fender headstock Warmoth might get heartburn, but other than that everything is pretty much on the table (I'm guessing).  If you have a design that you think is so cool someone would steal it, then the burden should be--and is--on you to trademark, copyright it, or other wise legally protect it. 








 
R

Rain

Guest
Greg P said:
I'm not an attorney, but I think you are confusing copyright (or perhaps more accurately a trademark) with a patent.  Patents are awarded for some entirely new invention or some non-obvious improvement to an old invention. 

Copyright applies to creative inventions.  A piece of music for example, or I would I think a new shape guitar body would qualify.  By the way, copyright protection begins the minute the work was created, although there are specific things you can do to help your case. 

Trademark is phrase or shape, or something otherwise used to distinguish a manufacturer or source of goods.

In your case, a guitar body unless it is something really, really innovative would not qualify for a patent.  IMO a new shape wouldn't be enough.  In fact, think of all the manufacturers who make something close to a Fender Strat shape.  But the Fender headstock is trademarked and no one can make that same shape without permission from Fender (like Warmoth).  So I would think that if your body was distinctive enough, it could be trademarked. 


Again, I think you mean already copyrighted or trademarked not patented, but...like what?  We already know what all the famous guitar shapes are.  If you submit a design that looks exactly like the Fender headstock Warmoth might get heartburn, but other than that everything is pretty much on the table (I'm guessing).  If you have a design that you think is so cool someone would steal it, then the burden should be--and is--on you to trademark, copyright it, or other wise legally protect it. 


As I said before, I've already spoken with a patent attorney.

A copyright protects work that comes from an artist, e.g. - written word, images including films, and music. If I were to draw a body shape and submit my drawing for a copyright, the only protection I would get, would be the exclusive right to that particular image - my drawing. I would have no protection from anyone that wanted to take my image a create a physical object such as a guitar body.

Patents are reserved for physical object designs that feature some sort of innovation in function - not form. Shape alone is not enough to be awarded a patent. Once a patent is awarded for a given object, that object is ready for production however, the manufacturers identity plays no role whatsoever in the consideration of a patent. They are awarded exclusively for the purpose of protecting an inventor(s) whether or not the object ever sees production.

Trademarks are identity specific to a manufacturer. In theory, once a patent has been awarded, (or at least applied for) a manufacturer may wish to protect a given element in the design as their own, such as the headstock on a Fender Strat. The Strat itself, as well as Les Pauls, and most every guitar has already had mechanical drawings made and the instruments were awarded patents - as a whole guitar - long before consideration is made to trademark the headstock. A trademark is basically a copyright that considers a specific design element in form that has been claimed by the manufacturer as part of the manufacturers identity - as in "Trade"  "Mark". Some companies will apply for trademarks for logos and other artwork, but again the concern here is that a copyright for a logo will provide bascially the same protection, however a trademark is a better option if the design element is to be used repeatedly and exists as part of the manufacturers identity, as opposed to, say, a magazine advertisement that features the manufacturers product (Strat), which features the trademarked design element (headstock).

My design is unique in function, unfortunately. I say that because a patent is my only option, and patents are the most expensive and time consuming cash sucks of the three. Copyright? No big deal, send a copy, and $30 to the Library of Congress, wait a few weeks and bingo, I'm good. Trademarks? basically same thing. But a patent?....$50-60K and 5 - 7 years of time... just go shoot yourself in the head before your thieving competition does.
Ross Perot had one thing right. The legal system in this country is killing the American inventor which cripples our ability to compete in the world market.
The patent process in Japan costs the inventor about $3000 and takes a little over two months...









 

CD

Senior member
Messages
573
Not to be an ass, but you must have one extremely badass guitar design to think Warmoth will release their own version of it after you send it in. Hell they don't even have designs that other companies have that would be sure to sell like some of the other BC Rich or Jackson designs. :party07:
 

simple

Senior member
Staff member
Messages
2,101
CD said:
Not to be an ass, but you must have one extremely badass guitar design to think Warmoth will release their own version of it after you send it in. Hell they don't even have designs that other companies have that would be sure to sell like some of the other BC Rich or Jackson designs. :party07:
I've had ideas before that I never acted on but probably should have. And if I thought the idea had merrit even in the slightest, I would also try and protect it so that I could be compensated for my due diligence. So I understand where Rain is coming from and he is not alone; we get these questions fairly regularly.
 
R

Rain

Guest
Thanks Gregg. I really appreciate it when someone in the industry has such an understanding view. That's rare and I guess THAT is "where I am coming from" as you said. I am an illustrator by trade, and I know very well the tendency for many people to assume that intellectual property is free, yet of course it's not. Not when someone has a personal investment of time and money into making something happen. I have a "friend" that once said "art should be free". He said that while surfing the internet trying to find an image to rip-off for a business card for his own business...
Apparently he figures that the artist that spent time in the creation of the art should not get paid for his work, and that somehow my "friend" should be allowed to use it to promote his own business...a business for which he expects to be paid.
It's completely baffling to me. But it's just another example of how some people think or more accurately 'not think'.
Anyway, I am glad that Warmoth is one company that understands this.

CD, no I don't think you are being an ass, I completely understand what you are saying, but try and understand...
First, I am pretty convident with this design. It is unlike anything I have ever seen in the industry, and it is far from just a body design like Jackson or BC Rich. Think of the recent innovations in the industry as they unfolded such as Paul Reed Smith, Parker Fly, Variax....most likely those inventors were met with some opposition as well. There will always be people that think everything has been done, but I assure you that is far from the truth.
Now, suspend your disbelief for one moment and pretend you have a rock solid design idea at that level...what would you do?
Second, in no way was I assuming that Warmoth would run off with my design. I just figured that they must have dealt with this before, and that they might have a policy already in place to deal with it, in the event that a design actually lives up to the inventor's claim - which mine does. But there are many companies that would rip someone off and I could have called Warmoth and asked them on the phone, but I'd much rather have a public record (this forum) of the first contact...I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

I am going to see what other options are available for the production of a more refined prototype made with a disclosure agreement signed by both parties. I would prefer that Warmoth do the work, since I am familiar with their quality and a prototype by design is shooting for an idealized example. But in absence of a disclosure document, or until a patent is secured, I am leaving myself wide open. Gregg is right, it's stupid to pull the trigger and jump right in without wearing a rubber.
 

CD

Senior member
Messages
573
Rain, have you thought of getting a body blank from Warmoth and carving the body yourself?
 
R

Rain

Guest
Thanks CD, yes I have a version I cut by hand, but it's a far cry from the accuracy of CNC stuff. I am only seeing about 60% efficency in performance, but with more exact cuts (which will give better energy transfer) I will see a much higher return than that. I am hoping that once I get to the 95 - 98% range, I can begin tinkering (obsessing) for the elusive but all important and totally ambiguous remaining 2% (easier said than done right?!).

Gregg if you are still here, and as long as I am thinking about this, what file format can you work with? I can provide AutoCad in both dwg and dxf formats scaled to exact proportions...other options too...not sure what your requirements are for digital files...
 

TonyFlyingSquirrel

Senior member
Messages
4,227
A good example of this is a friend of mine, Neal Moser. 
He worked for B.C. for 11 years in the mid 70's-mid80's, & while there, he designed the Seagull, The Virgin, & the Bich.

20+ years after he left B.C.R, & 30 + years later after he designed these models, B.C. Rich is still producing these models except for the Seagull, & Neal has received no royalties for them.  Only after a settlment with H.H.I last year, is he able to make a limited number of them under Moser Custom Shop's logo, with a different model name, but it took H.H.I. to sue Neal (the designer) over it for him to be able to legally address it appropriately due to legal costs.

On a "one off" basis, have a custom builder build to your specs, your shape, as I did with my custom, you pretty much have no worries, but if you gain massive exposure, & your "invention" receives attention, eventually someone is going to want to emulate it. 

Be foreward thinking.  If you want to protect yourself, do the necessary copywrite & trademark steps at a minimum prior to building what you would consider to be a final product, post prototype or mockup.

 

Alfang

Senior member
Messages
2,596
Heres a quick thought,,,  If you have an attourney already, ask him to draft you up some legal documents..  I forget the names, but basically  one for non disclosure of pat pending product, and non compete document, then start the patent process, then take your legal documents to people who can help you and have them sign the non disclosure and non compete documents before you show them anything......now your covered, In fact, hope they take your idea and run with it, someday you will own them.

Dont worry too much about someone steeling your idea, get it out there, before someone comes up with that idea on there own...If you can show prior art and start the patent process your good to go.

John
 
Top