Well it seems the iron is in the fire. UP has sued MTH over the use of logos. See;
The may be the shot heard round the world when it comes to this type of graft by large corporations, i.e. UP. MTH won around 40 millions from Lionel (don't know if they collected or not) but I doubt they will step down to UP. UP may be a much larger corporation but then they have a much large concept (if they loose it could have ripple effects) to loose. This will be fun to watch if one or the other doesn't cave on the court house steps.
Demanding payment from model makers is so short-sighted, it's sick. I hear the MLB is trying to do the same thing to sports fans who use baseball stats. If these corporate idiots keeping trying to squeeze golden eggs out of the goose, they're going to kill it.
You fool... Fun to watch? The prices of model railroading are already out of my range and now if the railroads win and the model companies pay exorbitant fees guess who's paying them - US... So all of the cars and locos will be sold un-painted and it's up to you to get the decals and the right paint which by the way will be surcharged by the railroads as well as "UP Yellow" and Conrail Blue" not to mention the ripple effect of proprietary information you have to get by taking photos of each individual engine or car that you want to model just to get all the colors and decals in the right places but of course that's no problem with these digital cameras now is it unless you consider that you have to use a telephoto lens to get one standing still in a yard due to the terror crap as well as the "get the hell of my land" mentality of the railroads of late so i say surree watch on as your costs increase because the railroad magnates will be happy to pass the costs on to you...
UP has already lost the right to both the current and older logo's because they and the previous holders stood by and did nothing for years while the model industry openly and notoriously used their marks.
The ONLY winning position for UP would be for UP to establish a new trademarked logo and sue anyone who uses it IMMEDIATELY.
This they could win.
I think the new UP logo could have a new slogan... maybe Union Pacific - "better late than never." Copyright 2006 - all rights reserved
The UP suit against MTH is nothing new. We had this discussion at great length a couple of years ago (or was it just last year? Time flies as one ages...
UP sued Lionel and Athearn and they both caved and we now pay about $5/100 more for UP, SP, et al branded products. The gist of those discussions was that UP clearly has the rights to logos currently in use, and probably those in active use in the last 20 years or so, all registered TMs, SMs, etc.
They probably don't have the right and would lose in an expensive trial to enforce the rights on fallen flag logos which they haven't used in many years.
The was about 100% consensus that UP was doing themselves no favors by these heavy handed tactics towards railroading greatest supporters, and that the revenue generated likely not cover the costs of administering their licensing scheme and the lawyers they used to pursue various manufacturers.
But in the end, UP will win because the model railroading business are small, and a few hundred thousand dollars on legal fees, even should they prevail, is too significant a portion of their revenues to justify. So, they will all send in their 5% licensing fees and pass the charges on to us. If you don't like it, don't buy UP et al decorated locos or rolling stock, or paint them yourselves (that is legal as far as I know). If the MR companies sell no UP stock, they won't make them any more, and UP will get zero revenue from their scheme.
Also, write to the CEO of UP and whine, as I did; it will do not hard, and probably no good either, but it is cathartic. If you do write, try to be civil and reasoned, and maybe the letter will be read.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Dennis Mayer at email@example.com wrote on 1/11/06 4:38 PM:
It's a tiny bit of money to UP. Not really enough so they'll notice it.
But they're attorney--paid by the hour--tells them that they MUST persue this, thereby generating fees for himself . . .paid by the hour.
Rational business analysis has nothing to do with it. If it was about that, they'd say, "Well gee, we own that, and we REALLY ought to be paid for it, but howsa bout we charge MRRs a penny/1000 just so we can say we defended it the next time someone Really steals it."
The lawyers make the decisions for themselves and bill the company.
It's the same thinking where condo associations pay thousands of dollars to collect a $20 late fee from a homeowner, and makes about as much business sense.
To some extent, they MUST protect their trademarks and logos. If they don't they do pass into the public domain. That's why Disney protects Mickey, McDonalds their name, Kleenex and Xerox try to keep their names from becoming generic (though in Xerox's case, it is a moot point since they seem to be nearly invisible anyway). It's that lack of protecting old logos (SP, Frisco, etc.) which is on the side of the model railroad manufacturers: it is quite arguable that those old names have moved into the public domain through lack of use by the owners and lack of enforcement of ownership.
My issue Is not with UP et al having a licensing scheme to protect in use and recent trademarks, et al, but with the licensing fee. They should have a simple form for a manufacturer to fill out which establishes them as legitimate, lists the products (or types, like model locomotives, for example) to avoid the Ewe Pee tee shirts, then grant the license, with NO FEE for PR reasons. Heck, they should PAY Athearn et al to use their logos.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Charles Krug at email@example.com wrote on 1/12/06 5:47 PM:
Yep, that's what's so ridiculous about this. In almost every other circumstance, companies PAY you to use their logo. Look at NASCAR -- those guys are getting paid for every logo on the car. Hollywood studios get paid to put corporate symbols in their movies. The railroads should be thrilled that they're getting all this exposure for free.