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Old 30th May 2008, 02:17 AM   #1
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Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing

Instead of doing counterfeits, rip-off copies by a midnight winder or etc---- with so many good choices why not do business with the companies who support the audio community? Many of the companies you mention by name have focused on the needs of the DIY community--- and offer good products. Instead we see some people who are simply engaging in counterfeiting other companies products and illicitly appropiating for themselves the hard earned good will of those companies.
I am not aware of any "midnight winders" actually capable of building good transformers... unless this refers to smaller manufacturers who are able to do this work ... Electra-Print, Magnequest, Doc Hoyer, Sowter, Heyboer, Bud Purvine, etc. As far as I know, the only times people have made clones for personal use (who haven't done it themselves for experiment) it has been at great expense through these various large and reputable manufacturers. Then there are all of the companies that make replacement copies... e.g., MQ doing high-end Dynaco clones, or Heyboer doing guitar amp transformer reproductions, Sowter building Acrosound TO-350 clones, etc.

I guess of some concern may be the various Dynaco clones of various grade, but it seems quite reasonable that there are enough choices in that market to pick a good one at a desired price point. Unless there is a problem of highly-inaccurate copies flooding the market from China, etc., I don't think this is an issue. People have a choice what to buy, and can easily judge quality by the reputations of those selling a product, and the quality of their past products.
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Old 30th May 2008, 03:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
Instead of doing counterfeits, rip-off copies by a midnight winder or etc---- with so many good choices why not do business with the companies who support the audio community? Many of the companies you mention by name have focused on the needs of the DIY community--- and offer good products. Instead we see some people who are simply engaging in counterfeiting other companies products and illicitly appropiating for themselves the hard earned good will of those companies.

What do you think?
You yourself create copies of old designs and sell them for profit, so it is OK when you do it, but not others, even if it is for personal use? Seems a tad hypocritical. Your making this a lot more dramatic than it really is.
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Old 30th May 2008, 03:21 AM   #3
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by jon_010101
[B]

:::Then there are all of the companies that make replacement copies... e.g., MQ doing high-end Dynaco clones, or Heyboer doing guitar amp transformer reproductions, Sowter building Acrosound TO-350 clones, etc.::::

Hi Jon:

Overall a good post. If possible I would like to address a few issues that you have raised.

"MQ doing high-end Dynaco clones"--- the first question that comes to my mind is what constitute's "high-end" in your opinion--- do you mean price? Performance? or perhaps the matrix of price and performance? Or that the product referred to is different is some substantive respects to the originals which you make reference to.

I'd also like to point out that we purchased the original factory engieeering (i.e., blueprints) about 15 years ago. So our products are not based on "tear downs" or "reverse engineering" or "cloning".

And we do not use (expressly as a matter of course or marketing) the Dynaco brand name to identify the products made from the original factory blueprints which we purchased since we do not own the trademark. And in fact none of our products are Dynaco. The only company\person who could offer you this brand name (Dynaco) and the good will associated with that brand name is the owner of that trademark.

:::I guess of some concern may be the various Dynaco clones of various grade, but it seems quite reasonable that there are enough choices in that market to pick a good one at a desired price point. Unless there is a problem of highly-inaccurate copies flooding the market from China, etc., I don't think this is an issue.::::

Trademarks (think of brand names) whether registered or not--- represent the good will of the company who uses that trademark.
The "name" (trademark) acquires a reputation in the marketplace based on the performance of the company building the product. The idea of brand names and trademarks is to benefit the consumer--- so that he can distinguish and rely on the brand to offer a certain level of performance and\or satisfaction.

So a brand name can come to mean something in the marketplace--- just as a person's name comes to mean something in his\jher community. Someone sez Jon XXX and we all know who they are referring to. But--- if we allow identity theft--- allow various individuals to use your name---- and they don't live the good clean life that you've built your rep on---- then your name is sullied and it's good will is diminished.

Same goes for brand names--- and if the brand name is federally registered trademark--- there is actually an obligation for the trademark owner to defend and preserve the good will of his trademark and to not allow others to use his trademark.

One of the dangers of "dilution" of trademarks is when owners of a mark do not take prudent steps to protect their namesake and perhaps allows other companies to appropiate and use their brand name in commerce. This "dilution" can eventually lead to "abandonment" of the trademark. Trademark law requires that the mark be "distingusihable".

And perhaps (only a wild theorem) Dynaco has not been protective enough of their brand name that the name itself becomes "cloned" and loses all of it's distinguishing good will and reputation by the frequenct misuse of the brand name by unauthorized users of the namesake.

So that when I see someone using our brandname to identify products not made by ourselves--- I will make a statement that the use of our brand name is protected and that the product is not in fact a genuine (for example) Peerless™ item---- but instead is a counterfeit.

Call it "cloning"--- which is perhaps sounds a little "softer" than counterfeits---- but a counterfeit is when you identify a product with a brand name which you do not have the legal right to use.

A rip-off copy\clone Versace handbag---- is a counterfeit product. It is the theft of that company's good will and reputation for the illicit benefit of an unauhorized party.

To me this is common sense ethics---- if I make copies of Jack's transformers and call them Electra-prints or allude to or represent that they are the same as his products turn for turn--- then I am stealing his design work, his experience, his learning, his reputation, and it would be unethical.

Do we want an audio communty who rapes the same companies who cater to the community? That we tear down and offer on this forum copies of dave slagles work or Lundahl's designs?

The issue of whether the copies are good copies or poor copies---- an interesting topic in-and-of-itself of which I could speak volumes---- is, none-the-less, not the germane point. It would be like arguing whether the Versace rip off handbags use real leather or fake leather---- while all along the copy has Versace's namesake and marks all over it. The salient point being that some con artist is ripping off Versace and using his reputation and good will for their own illicit benefit.


:::People have a choice what to buy, and can easily judge quality by the reputations of those selling a product, and the quality of their past products.::::

But consumers can and do get confused--- and get fooled--- thinking that they are buying a real "lundahl" instead of a hot rod copy. If it didn't work--- the con artists would not make a habit of using other companies trademarks.

In the meantime--- even if that buyer of the illlicit "lundahl" never learns that he did not in fact have a genuine "lundahl"--- Lundahl is still injured by this process by losing a sale that came about on the coattails of the good will which they created, fostered, and maintained for several decades---- only to have the economic reward go to the con artist.

And worse--- if the product doesn't measure up by buyer's views--- it is likely that the brand name "lundahl" will have been tarnished by a product that they did not build or authorize or have anything to do with.

Your post was written well---- and I thought sincerely---- I have tried to answer your queries in an equally thoughtful and sincere manner. I hope it is accepted in that light.

MSL
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Old 30th May 2008, 04:56 AM   #4
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Hi Mike, and thanks for the reply...

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
"MQ doing high-end Dynaco clones"--- the first question that comes to my mind is what constitute's "high-end" in your opinion--- do you mean price? Performance?
My point is that you have offered Dynaco transformer substitutes, as many others have ... and by high-end, I mean offering better-than-typical laminations, sweet bell covers, etc., and at a higher price point.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
I'd also like to point out that we purchased the original factory engieeering (i.e., blueprints) about 15 years ago. So our products are not based on "tear downs" or "reverse engineering" or "cloning".
But fundamentally, there is little difference here (although some will be reassured in knowing you have all the facts on paper). Reverse-engineering is a completely legitimate means to acquire knowledge about a product. These are no longer covered by patents, and even if they were, this is still a legal approach if it does not lead to an identical design, or if it is used to prevent infringement (I'm sure Nokia owns a few iPhones). It is considered a legal way to acquire trade secrets. Having original diagrams does offer more convenience, but it is legally no different when it comes to 50 year old transformers. Perhaps more marketable though!

I have a complete set of schematics and printed firmware code for the Apple II -- I'm sure that I'd be free to sell a clone, just as many others did in the day.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
And we do not use (expressly as a matter of course or marketing) the Dynaco brand name to identify the products made from the original factory blueprints which we purchased since we do not own the trademark. And in fact none of our products are Dynaco.
I think this is an appropriate tactic. But it is completely legal to suggest (as you do) that you can make Dynaco clones, or Triad clones, or Stancor clones, etc... Just as long as it is not purported that the product is a "Dynaco" or "Triad" or "Stancor", which I don't see being done.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
So a brand name can come to mean something in the marketplace--- just as a person's name comes to mean something in his\jher community. Someone sez Jon XXX and we all know who they are referring to.
Well, I'd like to pretend I'm the only Jon, but I see many others, just in the audio forums alone. We've long been genericized

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
And perhaps (only a wild theorem) Dynaco has not been protective enough of their brand name that the name itself becomes "cloned" and loses all of it's distinguishing good will and reputation by the frequenct misuse of the brand name by unauthorized users of the namesake.

So that when I see someone using our brandname to identify products not made by ourselves--- I will make a statement that the use of our brand name is protected and that the product is not in fact a genuine (for example) Peerless™ item---- but instead is a counterfeit.
I don't see any competitors marketing "Peerless (TM)" products with "P" logos -- perhaps a few substitute parts have turned up c/o of those who sacrificed their valuable transformers. Producing a cloned/generic/substitute product (MQ470 "compare to" Dynaco A470) is completely legitimate, regardless of how it was developed. I would argue that there is no cause for concern to Dynaco, hence there is no need for them to defend their name (Dynaclone might be "pushing it", but at least "clone" is implicit). There should be even less concern when it comes to hobbyists having a clone made for personal use.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
Call it "cloning"--- which is perhaps sounds a little "softer" than counterfeits---- but a counterfeit is when you identify a product with a brand name which you do not have the legal right to use.
Using the term "counterfeit" is certainly rather derogatory and misleading here, unless a product violates trademark by being labeled and advertised illegally as such. A hobbyist with a single beat-up Acrosound TO-330 would be doing a service to others to sacrifice it to be reverse engineered for cloning, providing a potential replacement part that any skilled winder could produce ("midnight winders", maybe not ). This is a service which you are able to provide quite legitimately -- this would not be a counterfeit product, but a clone/substitute. Personally, I encourage you and others to do this, as there is no patent protecting the designs themselves, and there is certainly a market.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
A rip-off copy\clone Versace handbag---- is a counterfeit product. It is the theft of that company's good will and reputation for the illicit benefit of an unauhorized party.
Sold as "Versace" with associated trademarks, that is very bad. But fashion is definitely an industry in which many things are copied directly/indirectly -- I'm sure the designers for H&M are always looking to Banana Republic or Gap for ideas. And, in any case, the "originals" are always more coveted than the copies, even if the copies are legal.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
To me this is common sense ethics---- if I make copies of Jack's transformers and call them Electra-prints or allude to or represent that they are the same as his products turn for turn--- then I am stealing his design work, his experience, his learning, his reputation, and it would be unethical.
Of course, you'd be welcome to secretly unwind an Electra-Print transformer to get some ideas -- Jack might even be amused to sell you one, and perhaps brag about it publicly, as many companies do -- I recall some car commercials But if you violated the trademark by selling "Electra-Print" transformers, this is very different.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
Do we want an audio communty who rapes the same companies who cater to the community? That we tear down and offer on this forum copies of dave slagles work or Lundahl's designs?
I don't see any "rape" here -- just business as usual! We aren't thinking about copies of newly-designed or patented products, but copies of vintage parts. You are in a similar position to benefit from providing substitutes. There is no difference if you make an MQ470, or if Jack made an EP240A, or if Lundahl made an LL275 McIntosh replacement (I can dream, right?). The trademarks (Dynaco, Peerless, McIntosh) are protected, but the designs are not.

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
The issue of whether the copies are good copies or poor copies---- an interesting topic in-and-of-itself of which I could speak volumes---- is, none-the-less, not the germane point. It would be like arguing whether the Versace rip off handbags use real leather or fake leather---- while all along the copy has Versace's namesake and marks all over it. The salient point being that some con artist is ripping off Versace and using his reputation and good will for their own illicit benefit.
I don't think any of us intend to copy and market an Acrosund To-330, name and all -- but we might be looking for an affordable substitute based on the original design that performs measurably equal, and is built by a reputable winder (whoever that might be).

Quote:
Originally posted by MQracing
Your post was written well---- and I thought sincerely---- I have tried to answer your queries in an equally thoughtful and sincere manner. I hope it is accepted in that light.

MSL [/B]
Thank you -- I don't want to be perceived as confrontational or sneaky here.

My point is that there really is nothing illegal or unethical about marketing a generic / clone of something that is not protected by patent/copyright. A trademark protects a brand and name, but the designs themselves (especially for these old transformers) have long been public domain. We are just hobbyists here looking to buy transformers that we can afford. I'm simply not aware of any "midnight winders" who remain, as most get run out of business quickly! (and I can remember at least one) Really, if we buy reproduced/cloned/substitute parts, they are likely going to likely come from you, Heyboer, Sowter, or the other big names. Competition, yes, but plenty of opportunity I'm sure.
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Old 30th May 2008, 05:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by jon_010101
My point is that there really is nothing illegal or unethical about marketing a generic / clone of something that is not protected by patent/copyright. A trademark protects a brand and name, but the designs themselves (especially for these old transformers) have long been public domain.
No, there's nothing illegal in making an identical transformer. The transformer designs themselves were not patented.

The problem arises when you trade on someone else's trademarked name to market it.

While you can make a transformer that's identical in all physical respects to say some model of Peerless transformer, you can't then market it as a "Peerless copy" or "Peerless clone."

At that point you're trading on someone else's trademarked name. Only the owner of that trademarked name has the right to benefit from it.

se
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Old 30th May 2008, 05:38 AM   #6
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The only (strong) legal angle to prevent reverse engineering is to lease ones products rather than sell them, as seen with goods like F1 engines.

A good patent should actually facilitate reverse engineering, though bar sales of clones without license while it is in force. That is their whole point, to advance the arts by making it public.
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Old 30th May 2008, 05:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Eddy

While you can make a transformer that's identical in all physical respects to say some model of Peerless transformer, you can't then market it as a "Peerless copy" or "Peerless clone."

At that point you're trading on someone else's trademarked name. Only the owner of that trademarked name has the right to benefit from it.

se

But you are totally welcome to write "compare to Peerless" or "substitute for Peerless" or "replacement for Peerless" along with proper disclaimers in the same way that manufacturers of generics write "compare to Listerine".

Still, I buy Listerine, because the generics don't have the taste quite right
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Old 30th May 2008, 07:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
You yourself create copies of old designs and sell them for profit
The subtle difference between others who create copies and Mike. Is that Mike bought the blueprints and the right to use the name Peerless.
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Old 30th May 2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bas Horneman

The subtle difference between others who create copies and Mike. Is that Mike bought the blueprints and the right to use the name Peerless.

In Boris' defense, I think he was referring to Dynaco and other parts that Mike and others are able to produce, but do not own brand/trademark rights to. Vintage replacement parts that are not Peerless.
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Old 30th May 2008, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
In Boris' defense,
I'm not attacking Boris though But trying to put things in a different perspective.

I.e. buying blueprints (Which I believe Mike has done for Dynaco and Acrosound as well) is very different in my point of view compared to reverse engineering.

Either way..both are legal it appears from the other posts.
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