Why isn’t the Strat shape patented?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by dscottyg, Nov 14, 2021.

  1. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    PRS could easily get an injunction to stop that.
     
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  2. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    1944.

    83271614-D54B-4CAF-986D-A925545BE7A3.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
  3. SIngles Forever

    SIngles Forever Strat-O-Master

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    No I get it now.
     
  4. SIngles Forever

    SIngles Forever Strat-O-Master

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    Anyone who jokes about selling wives to buy guitars is a jerk, period. It's not necessary to spend 'human sale' level funds to get a top notch guitar. He should have simply suggested that he pimps his wife out a few times for a Custom Shop.

    But these days people have no class.
     
  5. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    The point was that even if Leo had patented the Strat shape (I am just not sure if he got a patent for it; I know he got patents for other shapes like the Jazzmaster/Jaguar offset) he would have done so in 1953-54 when the patent length was 17 years, so the patent would have expired in 1970-71. After that point they would have had to file for trademark/trade dress protection.
     
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  6. SIngles Forever

    SIngles Forever Strat-O-Master

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    In any case it's better to have all these fake strats trying to be my amazing MIA fender strats. Let em try and fail.
     
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  7. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    That would be a design patent which iirc is 15 years. When it expires it becomes public domain.

    When something is public domain that’s it. If they wanted to file for a trademark they would have done so at the beginning.
     
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  8. revtime

    revtime Strat-Talker

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    It is nice to have alot of these strats be cheaper and better than any strat fender makes.
     
  9. Deafsoundguy

    Deafsoundguy CERTIFIED HACK Silver Member

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    Good job Ant. Things keep getting easier with some things, obviously searching with Google patents has vastly improved. I was talking about the USPTO not Google patents. When you’re doing searches to cross check your invention with previous prior art, it is required to do exhaustive searches. It used to be anyway, or so I was told, that a wuss-ass attempt can get you an instant office action rejection because you’re wasting the examiners time. While it is possible to get those patent numbers via name on Google patents which you can’t prior to 1975, I don’t think you can do the some fine tooth comb things you can do and related subclass searches. I dunno things change maybe you can now.

    I have noticed though that other patent search sites seem to be stuck in the mud not turning up info prior to 1975 either as the one I last used did not find anything by Leo prior to that date but did recall all utility and design patents past that point (18).

    As you might have noticed, the patent you dug up was the classification regarding electronic pickups not guitar shapes and such. It would be a different number for shapes, mechanical tuners, etc.

    I don’t think it’s been mentioned that one other specialty field is plant patents too, aside from utility, design and provisional patents. I think food patents are included in utility patents (like a cookie recipe) and not unique field. Could be wrong though.
     
  10. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member Silver Member

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    Thanks! I was trying to find the length for a design patent found the length for a standard patent, which was 17 years at that time.
     
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  11. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    I just wanted to show you how to find old patents easy with an example :)
     
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  12. RL21980

    RL21980 Senior Stratmaster

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    Why wasn't "THE" copyrighted by THE Ohio State University?

    They tried and it was a stupid idea.
     
  13. dscottyg

    dscottyg Strat-O-Master

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    Probably, but don’t you think that’s unfair? Basically PRS is saying, “I’m going to use your body shape, technology, and other company’s designs (like Tun-o-matic bridge). The only thing original is my birds, and nobody else better copy that.”
     
  14. dscottyg

    dscottyg Strat-O-Master

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    I think a better analogy would be The Ohio State University not allowing another school to call themselves “Ohio State University.”
     
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  15. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    No. I don’t think it’s unfair. The point of patent law is that useful things are only given exclusivity for a limited period of time. The stuff you describe is useful for making an instrument. The birds only serve the function of identifying the guitar as a PRS.
     
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  16. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Strat-O-Master

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    A while ago I worked for a company where the owner that had a patent on a method for answering a phone and other similar things. They were mainly meant to force their competition into expensive legal battles. The owner was a devious fellow. When he sold the company he kept his patent portfolio, forcing the new owners to pay him licensing fees.
     
  17. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Only if the birds are similar enough to the PRS birds that it creates a likelihood of confusion. The PRS trademark is for their specific design. Nobody else can use birds that look like the PRS birds. It is possible someone could make a bird design that is different enough that the judges say no confusion is likely, even if used as marker inlays on a guitar. Turkeys, perhaps.
     
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  18. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Mmmm, turkeycaster.
     
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  19. dscottyg

    dscottyg Strat-O-Master

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    Ya, but at one time the Stratocaster shape served the function of identifying the guitar as a Fender before other companies made their bodies look just like them. The exact shape of the pickguard, the configuration of the knobs, look of the knobs, two offset horns aren’t necessary to make an electric guitar. I just feel that anyone making a guitar should have to make the body shape original. A new look, not just build another Strat. I don’t think there is any other industry, where a company can legally make a near exact duplicate and sell it, other than electric guitars. If the rules were the same now as they were in years past, once 20 years after the bird inlays started anyone could make guitars with them. But l doubt that would happen. I think it’s because of the way things are done these days vs. days past. More litigation and protections for intellect or artistic property.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  20. dscottyg

    dscottyg Strat-O-Master

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    It seems like no one else agrees with me or my logic. I just feel that anyone making a guitar should have to make the body shape original. A new shape. A new look, not just build a guitar that looks just like a Strat or a Tele, or a Les Paul, or an SG, or an ES-335, or a Music Man. All of these are unique guitars shape ideas.

    I don’t think there is any other industry, where a company can legally make a near exact duplicate and sell it, other than electric guitars. Like Mr. Coffee can’t make a pod-type coffee maker that looks exactly like a Keurig. Nike can’t make an exact duplicate of an Adidas shoe. Chevy can’t make a car in the exact shape of an Escort. Gucci can’t make a purse in the exact shape and size as an LV purse. It just seems equally wrong to me that another guitar company could make a guitar that appears to be the exact shape and size as another company’s model.

    I guess The counter argument could be clothing. Lots of companies make the same looking jeans, polo shirts, T-shirts etc. But still, a guitar shape design seems more similar to an automobile or the other products I mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021