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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious... when a piece is manufactured by someone other than Ford - like a floormat with the horse or cobra on it for example - does Ford have to approve it? What about the import reproduction gas caps that are exact duplicates of original Ford items? ...Or kick panels or upholstery? What about the really inferior pieces that Ford probably doesn't WANT to be associated with, but are duplicates of something they once produced?

What it boils down to is if I wanted to produce an aftermarket item specifically for vintage Mustangs, and it had the horse/tribar or cobra logo on it, would I need permission from Ford?
 

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To answer your final question, yes, if it has a copyrighted logo (like the tribar/running horse or the cobra snake) you are going to need permission from the copyright holder.

For items that don't have a logo, generally you can produce the part without infringing on copyrights, but that would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

I'm not a lawyer, nor should you accept legal advice from me. Why the hell are you still reading this? /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

Steve
 
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YES on everythihng. If you notice, a lot of the parts places like ours (Wild West Classic Mustang Ranch) does not use the Pony as part of their logo or even on the cover of catalogs. The names of these parts places can not use the word "Mustang" without a modifer such as Mustang Word or Classic Mustang.

You most can get away with it if you are a non profit org.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info so far. That's kind of what I thought.

But what if it were altered in some way. For instance, what if I wanted to make a gas cap that was identical to a 66 Mustang's, but it had a different emblem on it, and it didn't say "Ford Mustang."

Does Ford own the rights to the shape and styling of the cap itself, or just when the the horse/tribar appears on it?
 

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You can make the cap any way you want. Ford doesn't have a copyright on the shape.

One thought for you...if you could incorporate a ford part, decal, or licensed ford product into your design you would be OK. For instance, if you wanted to make a Mailbox that said mustang on the side of it in raised letters, you could buy the mustang emblems (properly licensed) from a vendor and put them on the mailboxes for resale (I THINK!). I don't know if the helps you or not.

The other thing, if this is for your personal use, I wouldn't worry about it. I'll post a picture of my running horse weather vane sometime. The big pony on top of the arrow might look AMAZINGLY familier to most of the members of this board. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif. Of course, I haven't been turning them out by the thousand to sell to walmart either.

One other thought...Ford can't possibly own the word "mustang" like GM would own the word "Camaro". Mustang was a word long before the Mustang II showcar was introduced. After all, they just stole the name from the WWII fighter plane.

It's kind of like when Lotus tried to sue Microsoft for stealing their spreadsheet program. Turned out they had done the same thing to visicalc. Kind of made their suit moot.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the words of wisdom. I knew I could make things for my own personal use, and have done just that. But I've had some outside interest in those very things. I'm giving some thought to a cottage industry of sorts to mass produce these pieces; but it's still very much in the planning stages at this point. I may actually post polls here in the future to gauge interest in different pieces.
 

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Now you have me curious, Dan. With the understanding that these things are not (yet?) for sale, what sorts of pieces have you made?

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ahhh, a customer! I've made some badges to replace the GTs the sides of my fastback.

They were really just for my own amusement until a local Mustang buddy saw them, and asked where I had bought them. When I told him I made them he said I ought to go into business. "Now, there's an idea" I thought. So, I'm investigating the possibilities for the badges and a few other "inventions" I've written down over the years.

I have a feeling it's going to be pretty expensive to produce these pieces; but you never know till you try.
 

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interesting topic/discussion. Last year, I cast up EXACT copies of the 69/70 shaker hood scoops, including the various different bases utilized on different engine combos. to my surprise, I was told that I would be infringing on copyrights Ford had filed way back when due to the fact that my repop was an EXACT (dimensionally and appearance wise) cast-off of the original, despite the fact I dont have the fomoco logo or part numbers cast on the pieces. so right now, I am having discussions about how to avoid this as a license from Ford is running around 10k for a repopped piece, and of course, comes with their indorsement. The shaker offered by the Aussies, for example, is vastly different than the original piece, that is how they can sell it and keep Ford off their back. Its a shame as my shaker bases look EXACTLY like the originals and cost a fraction of what used originals are going for on the open market....

randy
 

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You bet. Ford products are theirs and, even if you alter them to some degree, you still may very well have liability exposure for infringment if that case can be made. Infringement is serious business for the big boys, so take care. The safest and best route is to ask permission and go through the licensing process. Sorry, I know that's not what you wanted to hear.
 

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There is 3 types of legal protection that is issued by the US Government. Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights. A Patent will protect a specific idea and has a finite end date (but can be extended a certain number of times. The max extension IIRC is 40 years, though 30 is more common.). A trademark Protects a Logo type display such as FoMoCo or FORD in the blue oval. A Copyright will protect a body of text or series of statements such as an original document or sound recording.

Some things are considered "public Domain" and are not able to be owned. Also as a Patent or Copyright runs out it goes into Public Domain. That is why some products are only manufactured by the original company until their Patents run out and then other companies can build the product, although not an exact copy. I'm not positive but I think a Trademark lasts until the company officialy goes out of business.

This is why you can you can reproduce an exact repro of an old product, unless it has a current trademark on it. For example, you can cast identical copies of a '28 Model A exhaust manifold, as long as it doesn't include the FORD logo.

I'm no expert on this stuff but I have delt with a bunch of it. The word "Mustang" is not protectable. But using the corect lettering style, size and shape, and making a repro of the cast lettering on the side of the car that says "MUSTANG" would be an infringement if the parts were being sold. The running horse is not protectable except as artwork (copyright), unless it is either made into a reproduction part (Patentable), or used in such a way to infer that Ford is sponsoring the use (Trademark).
 

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Ah, I love how the law protects the inventor so long as they have a deep pocket to prosecute its verbage.

In Randy's case, would the repop bases be covered under patent laws? After all, they're just a piece of formed material, yes? Kind of like your shift levers...? It appears he is getting grief regardless....I'd like to see Ford's patent on those....got a few hundred to do a patent search? *G*

IME, the entity (you'll note I didn't say person) which has the deepest pockets usually wins these kinds of pissing contests....makes great fodder for the country club set.

Corporations steal other's ideas with impugnity and purchase justice in our legal system to protect their legitimate and illegitimate gains...that's how it works in America IME anyway...

Pat's prediction...our day (America's I mean) is coming.....there's a lot of folks out there who don't like our philosophy of doing business...

Way off Mustangs...sorry...
 

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On Randy's bases they would be protected by a Patent and by using the exact configuration they would be infringement. I would do a search for the patent on www.uspto.gov. There might be a patent number cast into the original part that would make it easier to find. Remember, Chrysler and Pontiac also used similar systems, even if the individual parts were different. It may not be Ford that owns the rights and the patent may have run out after 30 years. If I had a number I might be able to have it searched.

You are right though about the golden rule; "He who has the gold makes the rules".
 

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On Randy's bases they would be protected by a Patent

That brings up a query....how much of a vintage Mustang is patented, either by specific patents for Mustang-only parts or by line-wide patents which cover multiple vehicle types which use parts identical to the Mustang? Is is possible to patent the thousands of parts which make up a modern motor vehicle? God, I'd hate to work in the patent office..*G*

Interesting can of worms, eh?

I wonder if Larry Shinoda (or his estate, God rest his soul) is getting any of the residuals from licensing the Boss parts? Oops, rhetorical question....Ford owned him too...

The more I live, the more I understand the true meaning of "The Matrix" *G*
 

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Looking at it from the opposite direction, NPR had a story several months back on inventors, patents and marketable ideas. They talked to an inventor guru, and his primary point was there was no profit in inventing something that:

A. There isn't a market for.
OR
B. Goes on a automobile.

If there isn't a market, you can't sell it. If it goes on an automobile, they'll steal it and enjoin you from ever making it by claiming that they invented it in the first place. Absent a few hundred million to fight them in court, what can you do?

The inventor gurus advice was "Don't bother, you can't win." Specifically he was talking about inventing a new feature for a car and trying to sell it to the big 3. Waste of time and effort. They'll take your idea, eat you up, and spit you out.

Phil
 

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But isn't that the mindset that keeps intelligent people glued to the couch with a remote control in their hand watching mind numbing spoon fed media dribble instead of out tinkering in the shop and inventing the next incredible scientific breakthrough?

Just a question............
 

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I'm with you Hal....keep the ideas fresh and the creativity on full blast. If we don't, we'll end up being a battery just like the inert humans in the Matrix.

BTW, the basic premise the brothers used was one I expounded upon at great length as a writer when I was younger (in school)...I often created stories where the world really isn't as we sense it; we are the limiting factor in the equation.

What I never want potential inventors/designers to lose sight of is that their adversery isn't some mindless robot corporation; it's real people with the morals of clarifier bacteria. (I think you'll get the parallel) *G*.....once we can limit the spread of their gene pool, real progress can begin.

Wow, is that off-topic or what?!? *G*

Hey, long day and two shots of Belvedere...what do you expect..? hehehe
 

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"isn't some mindless robot corporation; it's real people with the morals of clarifier bacteria." --- hehe, that's realy my point...... *G*.

I know, I'm way behind, I still haven't seen the Matrix. I have to go rent it now.............. "the Battery", that pretty much explains it!
 

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Definitely do rent the Matrix....I kick myself for not seeing it in the theater back in '99. Renee got it for me about a year later on DVD and we've practically worn it out. Talk about inventions...you have to see the behind the scenes commentary by John Gaeta, the inventor of "bullet-time" TM, which is the technology that allowed some of the amazing special effects seen in the movie. The tour of the technology he and his team developed is just mind-boggling..

I thought it was going to be a whiz-bang special effects sci-fi movie but the philosophy behind it is enthralling. If you get the DVD, watch the movie first before seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff...then, when you do, you'll go back again and again to see all the little nuances in the film.

The Wachowski brothers may be down-home Chicago boys but they are definitely geniuses in my book...

The sequel(s) are coming next year so don't wait; do it this weekend *G*
 

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so what do I do with all these "perfect" molds????

*sigh*

I guess I should have done a lot more investigating into licensing and copyright infringement before I had the molds made. Keep in mind, that I drilled out the spot welds on the shaker mid plate and the shaker bases that were two pieces in order to get an exact replica to the point that original steel pieces interchange easily with the carbon fiber cast-offs that I have. Back to the drawing board I guess....

randy
 
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