Fender Trying to Trademark Their Body Shapes???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    picked this up on the Melancon guitars forum:

    what's this about Fender trying to trademark their tried and true strat and tele shaped bodies?

    does anyone know if they're trying to do this with their basses, too?!?!? :eek:
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    probably a smart business move because they can't hold their own on quality, they have to hold their own on business and reputation and marketing

    even their Custom Shop instruments get blown away by Boutique makers in that price range
  3. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    They shoulda done it a long time ago if they were to do it at all. Maybe the extra money would have been put towards quality control.
  4. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Um, isn't that sort of like closing the barn door AFTER the cow is gone. I can't believe that the government will let that go through @ this point.
  5. i thought it had already been decided some time ago during all of the lawsuits with the overseas manufacturers making knockoffs.
    to my understanding it was only the headstock that could be trademarked, and not the body shape.
  6. I think it wouldn't be such a bad thing. The market would stop being flooded with crappy 75$ Fender wannabes, and all those "boutique" builders would have to finally come up with their own shapes.
  7. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
  8. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City

    Normally I don't support companies that copy something and re-sell it. . . but I think your statement is wrong, especially regarding boutique builders. . .

    I'd bet that almost every single person that buys a Lakland or Sadowsky "Fender-style" would buy from Fender if their quality were up to par. I think its definitely a safe bet regarding the Skyline series Jazz and P. Fender is already making too many sales based on their past reputation and the majesty of their name. Fender trademarking their look would likely be the nail in the coffin for your chances of ever getting a consistently high quality Jazz or P bass ever again.

    If Fender made their basses consistently at Skyline quality, I'm pretty sure there would be no Skyline Osborn or Glaub. If the custom shop built to Lakland USA quality, there would be no USA Osborn or Glaub. Fender has to trademark their design simply because they aren't good enough to build to the standard buyers demand for their dollar.
  9. Wouldn't there be something about the shape being public domain since it has been copied for so long?

    Either way, I don't know how you would trademark a shape of a bass. How little of a change could you make to the shape and have it be different. Surely there are only a certain number of conservatively shaped and normally sized and functional double cutaway body styles.

  10. dhuffguitars

    dhuffguitars Luthier/Bass Wanker depending on your opinion

    Sep 18, 2001
    There is also rumours floating around that Fodera is doing the same thing about singlecut designs......
  11. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Most likely the key word in that statement is "rumour".

  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    While they originated with Fender, by now, the P and J body shapes have been in the market for so long now, and so often copied by other manufacturers, that they would be considered "generic" under trademark law.

    Fender can attempt to trademark the shapes, but they will not be successful.
  13. i'm sure if any of it goes through, everyone with an original design is going to go trademarking everything

    it just seems like an excuse to not attempt to compete with higher quality instruments. taking the easy way out in the fight.
    (that is more directed at fender)
  14. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I think it would have been perfectly sensible and legitimate for Fender to have done that ... oh, 50 years ago. Now, however, it's pointless and probably impossible. Looks weak, too.

    My dark side almost hopes they succeed, though. I am so sick of Fender clones and all-but-clones. If I never see another one, it will be too soon. No matter how great the bass happens to be (and things like Sads are pretty great basses IMO).

    EDIT: Notice I said "almost hopes." I don't really think it's a great idea. It just strikes me as funny that any maker who's been hitching a ride on the quality of Leo Fender's designs should even think of getting huffy if asked to pay a bit for the privilege.
  15. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    To play devil's advocate for a minute, you could also argue that the slavish copying of Fender's designs represents an attempt to avoid having to come up with an original design. Why is it seemingly OK to copy a Jazz almost down to the screwholes, but Behringer gets slammed for what they do? Disclaimer: I don't own any Fender, Behringer, or Fender clone stuff, so don't have a dog in this fight at the moment. Just wondering.
  16. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Music Man/Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I agree somewhat :meh: . I mean its common knowledge here and generally agreed upon that Behringer as a whole are not in the same market of quality as those manufacturers that they have copied (only based upon reputation represented here at Talkbass). Behringers fail electically where those that they've copied rarely do so. So are they really copying them in the long run? :confused: I don't see that they are otherwise their quality control would also be the same.

    Fender on the other hand has both imitators that fall short in some opinions (Essex, Brice, Samick, etc.) and imitators that excel where they as a company do not (Lakland, Sadowsky, etc.).

    I think bass manufacturing is a highly competitive market and that if companies like Fender want to compete with Sadowsky or Brice this should be shown in their actual manufacturing and customer service, not by their legal departments.

    After all does Dell or Compaq pay design royalties to Apple computers just because they both make computer that are roughly the same shape? :rolleyes:
  17. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    I own a Lakland, and Not only does if Sound Better than any Jazz bass I've ever heard, But it Feel's and Looks better too...

    Most people think that Lakland is a Clone or "Wannabe" Fender, but its really ahead of the Fender in all aspects, and Its the Colaborated design of Fender and MusicMan...

    Now as for me... If Fender had 24 Frets, Fast Think Necks, and 6 strings, I would give them more credit...

    Plus Fender is like an old dog that CANT learn new tricks... They have been pushed for years and years. And I wish they would RETIRE the old designs (Jazz Bass Included)


    EDIT: Plus I think that is a petty move SHOWING that all they rely on is their Look, Not there quality....
  18. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Like the Zipper. They're actually called "metal interlocking something or others". Zipper brand zipping mechanisms lost their name as it became common usage.

    That's why Xerox, Kleenex and Band Aid work so hard to differentiate themselves- it's possible for them to lose their trademark.
  19. Sounds like Fender is taking a page from RIC's book...and liking what it sees.
    No way to get a RIC now unless you fnd a used clone somewhere or buy an actual RIC.
    Fender might think its a good way to buy money...("If you want such a Fender like product, you will be forced to buy a Fender")

    But who knows...could be nothing as well...Fender has been known to do some strange things before.
  20. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Nah, they pay royalties to Microsoft--the devil, IOW. ;)

    But we're not talking about "roughly" the same shape--were talking about a shape that's hardly different at all and sometimes virtually identical.

    A more directly relevant question might be, what if someone came out with a Windows PC that looked almost exactly like an iMac--same half-round CPU, same look to the flat monitor, same metal arm, same placement of removable drives, etc. Would that be OK, and if not, would Apple bother to trademark the appearance of the iMac? For that matter, have they trademarked it--anybody know? I don't.