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Thread: Copy Rights to a design being made

  1. #1

    Copy Rights to a design being made

    Hi Guys and I really welcome this site it's about time that something like this was done for us homebuilders of all designsJ
    The question I have to impose on someone who has the answer is this:
    I am about to order a foam mock-up of an aircraft that sorta looks like the Velocity but is totally new in many of the features, this will be a once off copy once I finish I will pass on what I have learn including the moulds, it will be carbon-Kevlar and honeycomb and like the Velocity it will be lighter. Could I get into copyright infringement with Velocity if I proceed with this build or should I keep the dimensions and change the shape so it doesnít look like their Canard?
    I could really use some real honest input getting real close to making the order for the mock-up foam for the master mold.
    Thank you for your input

  2. #2
    Adam Smith's Avatar
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    The only way to be sure would be to ask Velocity first. If this is a personal project, not competitive with Velocity's business, I doubt they would object - particularly as their own design was itself inspired by the work of Burt Rutan. If they object to your project, you'd probably want to take some professional advice.

  3. #3

    Copy Rights

    Oh no this is strictly personal project, but I am willing to share all I have learn with Velocity since I am sure they would like to Pressurized one of their models in the future, also I want to lighten their design but going with Carbon/Kevlar also I am changing some of the dimensions and location of landing gear to outside of the wing away from the prop line as it is in the Velocity major changes to the design in many ways. Improving on a already great design.

  4. #4
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    It really depends on how much you're truly "copying" the Velocity design. Just because you design a four-seat canard aircraft doesn't mean it's a copy of a Velocity. A layman might look at a Piper Cherokee and a Beech Musketeer and think they are copies of one another, but of course they aren't. A Velocity looks a lot like a Cozy, a lot like an SQ-2000. Your design could be in that family without being a copy of a Velocity.

    The devil would be in the details. If you copy truly Velocity-unique features, such as the doors, you might be in a grayer area.

  5. #5
    Copyright/patent infringement is a mine field of extraordinary complexity. Inspired by is great for hangar talk. But if it is close enough for you to raise the issue, I would suggest that you contact a patent attorney in your area. In my thirty years of legal practice, I have always referred such issues to patent attorneys; they are a special breed. For possibly a few hundred dollars they may be able to save you thousands if litigation is initiated. There is a tremendous amount of litigation in this area of the law. A consultation would provide either peace of mind or a reason to do something different.

  6. #6
    The only airplane I know of that was patented was the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10. Using the phase "looks like" is what you need to avoid. That can get you a takedown notice. A patent lawyer will do a search for similar technology, though until Google that might be quite weak. (about $250 in 1969)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndsegment View Post
    The only airplane I know of that was patented was the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10.
    There was a patent on a flying machine back in 1906 by two obscure brothers.......

  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    A "Design Patent" can be used to protect a particular appearance. They've been used on a number of aircraft.

    IIRC, Barnaby has a Design Patent on the Facetmobile. Seem to recall he invoked it on a company selling RC versions of the plane without his permission. Couldn't find it, but did find another of his Design Patents on an aircraft design....

    https://patents.google.com/patent/USD365545S/en

    You'll note it refers to "The ornamental design for an airplane, as shown and described. "
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    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    That’s too funny. Enforcing patent rights on a design of one and I don’t think it’s even flown since it’s crash. Not sure it was worth the effort and cost to acquire a patent...it doesn’t appear to have any appeal that would drive financial or technical demand. I guess it looks good on a resumť though.
    Dave Shaw
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  10. #10
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airmutt View Post
    Thatís too funny. Enforcing patent rights on a design of one and I donít think itís even flown since itís crash. Not sure it was worth the effort and cost to acquire a patent...it doesnít appear to have any appeal that would drive financial or technical demand. I guess it looks good on a resumť though.
    I think once you're familiar with the process (and Barnaby has a number of patents) it's not that onerous. Guys with a lot of brain cells (and Barnaby Wainfan certainly qualifies) like to protect the process of their cogitation.

    BTW, for those who haven't heard, EAA Chapter 292 in Independence, Oregon is building a new Facetmobile with Barnaby's blessing. They just had the first engine run.

    https://www.eaa292.org/fmx-4



    Ron Wanttaja

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