UP logo license: letter response

I received a response to my letter (posted in this news group). Here is there response (typed in my yours truly). There was no request by UP to keep the letter confidential and I don't see any private material inside, so I'm posting it to keep the r.m.r community informed. I just typed in it and spell checked. Punctuation and formatting different from the original letter and those errors are mine, notUnion Pacific's. (formatting is necessarily changed because I'm using plain text, not HTML or other formatting. The content should be identical)

I give UP credit for taking the time to read and respond to my letter. The letter below is NOT a form letter, but a thoughtful response, even if I don't agree with their position entirely. They did think about it before hand. I would be interested in hearing from model railroad manufacturers, especially small ones, regarding their experiences with the licensing program. ________________

September 30, 2003

Dear Mr. Oates,

Mr. Davidson received your letter regarding Union Pacific's licensing program and has asked me to respond. I would like to give you some history on this program to help explain our perspective.

In 2002, Union Pacific launched a nationwide campaign to re-energize the Union Pacific brand. Our "Building America" campaign has been tremendously successful and a variety of measures tell us that Union Pacific is significantly more recognizable today than it was two years ago.

By actively taking the Union Pacific brand to the public we have increased the company's value while also increasing its exposure to trademark infringement. When we launched the Building America campaign, we knew it would require much more rigid enforcement of our trademark rights. From a legal perspective, we are obligated to protect our trademarks in all areas or risk losing the right to protect them. This includes the trademarks of our historic and constituent railroads, most of which we still use as transportation marks.

We know that model railroaders are the most prolific users of our brand and generally are friends of the rail industry. Recognizing this, we spent six months crafting a licensing program specifically for the model railroad industry. I spoke with several model manufacturers and met with representatives of the Model Railroad Industry Association (MRIA) before finalizing the current program.

The royalty rates for model railroaders are extremely low, far lower than any normal rates in the licensing business, and we have established a minimum gross annual sales level to protect the smallest operations from royalty expenses. We have also waived the royalty advance for these small companies and have created an annual reporting structure to minimize their paperwork. We have made a focused effort to treat model railroad businesses according to the size of their operation so that small businesses do not pay a disproportionate fee compared to the largest users. Finally, for users who have annual gross sales of more than $1 million, we work individually to create a licensing contract that meets their needs.

We do not expect to have significant income from model railroad licensees, but we do believe it is fair to ask the model railroad industry to share some of the costs we incur to protect our trademarks. It is our hope that we will be able to work with the industry to strengthen the Union Pacific brand, an achievement that will benefit us all.


Brenda Mainwaring Director, Corporate Marketing

cc: Richard K. Davidson


Reply to
Edward A. Oates
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Ed, thanks for posting.

Well, whether we like it or not, the policy is in place and not likely to change.

It's good to know that they actually *did* take some time to consider the impact on the model railroad industry (as well as take the time to respond to Ed's letter). I can see their point: if they let any one particular group use their trademarks willy-nilly, they could lose the right to protect them in any or all other use. And, after all, UP does has the responsibility to its stockholders to protect its intellectual property.

Regarding the complaint by others that UP shouldn't be permitted to protect their fallen flag marks, I would submit that when you buy another company, you buy the entire company, including plant, personnel, inventory and all intellectual property. And don't forget, those trademarks are not dead; they are still very much active--you can find cars with old reporting marks and logos on them all over the country.


Reply to
Dan O'Connor

Thanks Ed, Communication is often the best answer, even if parties do not agree. We can bitch and moan all we want on this newsgroup, but unless we have the facts, it does not mean a whole lot. I do, however, think that if the UP(registered trademark) looked back in time, and the promotion of the Santa Fe via Lionel trains, was incredible in the 40's and 50's. . My history may be incorrect, but I think the Santa Fe paid Lionel. (I am sure that, if I am incorrect, there will be a large response telling me so). By the way, I am also a big fan of the Union Pacific(Registered Trademark) and their inovations to railroading through the years.

Don Cardiff Model Railroad Design Kaneville, IL

Reply to

My problem is not with UP? pretecting its trademarks. They should do that so we don't have UP? diuretics hout there. And they have every responsibility to have a licensing program, too: review and authorize all uses of the UP? logo. My disagreement is the licensing fee charged to model railroad companies: it should be free once granted with maybe a nuisance free of $50 or so.

But I appreciate the response from them just the same.


in article snipped-for-privacy@mb-m25.aol.com, CBT2000 at snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote on 10/7/03 10:35 AM:

Reply to
Edward A. Oates

You are close to the Lionel situation, but not exactly correct. The way I read it in a Model Railroader article years ago was that ATSF and NYC agreed to share the tooling cost for the F-3 diesels in return for Lionel agreeing to paint them only for those two roads. Since those two roads were non-competing, it was a nice arrangement for everyone. And with a blank check for the tooling, the F-3 was and still is one of the best ever Lionel locomotives.


Reply to

If UP had responded that all monies go to the UP Steam program, all this would be over in a minute.

Reply to

Geez, Ratty, I find myself in total agreement with the letter and spirit of your remark. Think I'll go lie down.

Reply to
Steve Caple

That was all back in the day when the general public could actually do business with the railroad - i.e. ride their passenger trains. Unless you ship a few thousand tons a year I doubt they will care what you and I think about the liscense fees.


Reply to
Charles Bix

Not only that, but they do paint the predecessor logos on a few cars just to keep the logo active. I've seen shots of a freshly painted cotton belt grain hopper, and a rio grande coal hopper. I've also seen a WP double-door boxcar with the UP Overland Express logo (so they use that one too)... I've seen that car several times in person (no photos though :(

Reply to

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Then I believe it is fair to ask Union Pacific Railroad to compensate the model railroad industry for what heretofore has been free advertising for the railroad!

My opinion and worth all two cents.

Take care,

Paul - "The CB&Q Guy" (Happy I'm not modeling UP)

Reply to
Paul K - The CB&Q Guy

(Snipped, for brevity)

An interesting post, Ed. Thank you, for making the effort to write to UP, and to post their response. In the light of this letter, the position UP has taken seems reasonable enough. But one part of the letter amused me greatly.

"Re-energize the Union Pacific brand"? What the hell does that mean?

All the best,


Reply to
Mark Newton

So do I. Frightening, isn't it.

Steve Newcastle NSW Aust

Reply to
Steve Magee

I wonder when they started painting the predecessor logos on the cars. Have they maintained them all along or is it only recent? If it's just recent, then they might have a problem.

Mike Tennent "IronPenguin"

Reply to
Mike Tennent

Gee, you must have never been around marketing types or MBA's. They are immigrant group which have never quite mastered the English language, so they make up their own obtuse phraseology (sort of like lawyers and programmers :)

The "re-energize" stuff means that since they stopped carrying passengers, no one except for model railroaders knew what UP was, so they bought ads on CNN et all to acquaint the public with their brand and to create a favorable impression. Why CNN (and fox,msnbc, et al)? Because more business people watch those news stations than watch Friends.

The other aspect of making the public have a favorable impression is when UP gets into some local, legal tussle (like residents trying to keep trains from blowing their horns at road crossings at 2:00am), the locals will know what UP is.


in article 3f83ce00$0$6529$ snipped-for-privacy@news.optusnet.com.au, Mark Newton at mark snipped-for-privacy@optusnet.com.au wrote on 10/8/03 1:42 AM:

Reply to
Edward A. Oates

The response from Union Pacific appears to be well thought out, and IMHO, a suitable way for them to protect their trademarks, with minimal disruption to the model industry.

If anybody is to blame in this instance, it isn't UPRR, who has to take these protections, it is letcherous lawyers that cause them to have to take these steps.

Reply to
Jerry Zeman

Almost enough to make one take a Vegemite suppository, eh?

Reply to
Steve Caple

It means some MBA stooge has been reading his buzzword bingo dictionary again and figured out a way to justify his continued presence on the UP payroll?

Reply to
Craig Zeni

"Jerry Zeman" wrote: SNIPS

Huuuuh? Time for a reality check here.

Unless random lawyers are wantonly putting UP logos on their socks and briefcases and doing other dastardly deeds that raise UP's ire, the only lawyers, I see around this are UP's very own in house pet corporate sharks, and those are the ones making threatening noises to hobby manufacturers.

Lawyers in general aren't doing a damn thing to "...cause them (UP) to have to take these steps. Its a marketing decision by UP.

-- Jim McLaughlin

**************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** I am getting really tired of spam, so the reply address is munged. Please don't just hit the reply key. Remove the obvious from the address to reply. **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** Special treat for spambots: snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov, snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov, snipped-for-privacy@ftc.gov


Reply to
Jim McLaughlin

[ Letter deleted ]

I won't say this response is the biggest crock I've ever seen; politicians usually do better, but... What a crock!

"In 2002, Union Pacific launched a nationwide campaign to re-energize the Union Pacific brand. Our 'Building America' campaign has been tremendously successful and a variety of measures tell us that Union Pacific is significantly more recognizable today than it was two years ago."

"Building America campaign," What on earth is that? They're re-energizing their brand? As already asked, what the hell does that mean? Nation wide campaigns? I live on the east coast. If I weren't a train fan, I doubt that I'd know what Union Pacific is, let alone all the roads they've absorbed. The only thing I've heard of UP recently has been bad publicity over their licensing.

What are they afraid of? Do they think BNSF is going to repaint some of their engines and impersonate UP engines to steal trains? Do they think a train crew of a false UP engine is going to show up at an industry wanting immediate cash payment to remove or deliver a car?

"We do not expect to have significant income from model railroad licensees, but we do believe it is fair to ask the model railroad industry to share some of the costs we incur to protect our trademarks."

Why is it fair for any industry to ask another to defend it? If UP wants to defend its trademarks, fine. Let them do it. Let them search out every maker of trains, T-shirts, and teacups to see if they're using a UP trademark. Then let them deal with the legalities on their own. Let's face it. UP is shirking its own responsibility to defend is own trademarks. They go after the modeling industry because it's easy to find.

Have any of you, as railfans or modelers, ever defended railroads, or the idea of railroads, from the people who think the tracks ought to be pulled up and goods shipped by truck? From the people who think Amtrak is a waste of government money? UP is offending and alienating the very people who would come to its defense if needed.

This UP response shows stupidity in action. The small minded lawyers in a big corporation are trying to cover their idiocy with spin.

Let UP protect their trademarks by charging $1 per year to license and use any and all of their trademarks for models, and put that money toward a steam program. They would protect their trademarks, wouldn't seem greedy to the people who would be their friends, and get a little money for something that practically everybody would want to support.

-- Bill Kaiser snipped-for-privacy@mtholyoke.edu

There are three ways to do a job: good, cheap, and quick. You can have any two. A good, cheap job won't be quick. A good, quick job won't be cheap. A cheap, quick job won't be good.

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