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Old 05-11-2015, 09:26 PM   #1
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Trademark Question

Wondering if any of the knowledge-base on here knows... what constitutes a trademarked item. I saw this listing on US ebay today for Airstream decals and its been there in the past when I've been looking around and quite frankly I'm wondering if its not been pulled for trademark infringement could I make them myself and sell them on the Canadian Ebay?

Airstream RV Trailer Decal Sticker Decals camper Stickers Graphics Vintage | eBay
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:46 PM   #2
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Lots of stuff made out there that technically violates trademarks. It's a matter of the owner of the trademark to enforce it by objecting to it's use. Just because you see folks doing this doesn't mean it's legal in the eyes of the law. Owners of trademarks however need to be aware. If you go out there making and selling these decals it's just a matter of whether Airstream gets wind of it and then one of their lawyers sends you a cease and desist letter.

Here's a trademark search for the word "Airstream". http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield...h=Submit+Query

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Old 05-11-2015, 10:06 PM   #3
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Here is Airstream Incorporated's official word on the subject:
Legal Notice, Terms of Use | Airstream
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:06 AM   #4
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Specifically:

Quote:
Copyright Status
AIRSTREAM, the configuration and appearance of the Airstream trailers, BAMBI, LAND YACHT, SAFARI and others are trademarks of Airstream, Inc., and may not be used by any other party in connection with any goods or services, or to suggest affiliation with, or sponsorship by Airstream, except pursuant to a written license from Airstream. If you have questions regarding Airstream trademarks, or for licensing information, contact Airstream’s Office of Sales and Marketing.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:37 AM   #5
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I am an embroiderer. That is called bootlegging. I wanted to put the name of our local NFL team in four chairs I purchased....for my husband and sons. No can do. That does not explain to me however all the Esty Airstream gifts fir sale, people making a profit off the image and likeness of Airstream, and same with the beautiful artwork we all see. Can someone weigh in the the difference for me please.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:44 AM   #6
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It's very simple. Until you start selling enough to warrant the attention of Airstream's lawyers, nothing will happen. Once you are on their radar they will first send you a cease and desist letter.

I owned the website "MerchantMoms.com" and would get C&D letters from rights owners all the time concerning people whose websites I hosted for copyright infringement of their products. It isn't a big deal until you ignore the letters. That's when it starts to get expensive and their pockets are going to be way deeper than yours.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:50 AM   #7
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I pulled up their Ebay store, and they have dozens, if not hundreds, of decals for almost every boat and RV model out there.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:53 AM   #8
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Obviously nobody cares....yet. The grim reapers will show up eventually. I had a client who had the letters "e b a y" in sequence as part of a much longer domain name. Their website had nothing to do with the auction company, but they received a C&D letter.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:04 AM   #9
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The multiple attorneys I had at a company I had the opportunity to run told me this. Your logo needs to be trademarked with the Feds. Once done, the trademarked logo must be protected, ie. you the company must send c&d letters and enforce those letters whenever you find someone using your logo or likeness without your written permission for profit. Failure to do so will or could mean your loss of said logo.

As an example, Harley Davidson sends their enforcement team to every major bike event, Sturgis as an example and they wander around the hundreds of booths looking for counterfeit logos and clothes and hand out letters, take down names etc. and then go back later with cops. It's pretty serious business for companies like HD and Airstream. Not so much for the one I worked for, but still we enforced it as well.

If one does not sell items, one can use the logo, ie tatoos, one logo printed on a tee shirt that one does them self and only wears them self is usually never messed with.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:41 AM   #10
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I was reading through the links jcanavera and protagonist pulled up, yikes that's a lot of legal Mumbo Jumbo reading it looks like owners of a trademark must re register and pay 100 bucks every 10 tens to keep their rights. I had a look at the posters sellers list to and I can't imagine that ebay lister has paid for the rights to manufacture the raw quantity of boat and trailer logos he has for sale.

Would I be correct to assume though that a long defunct company would no longer be trademarked? I am thinking of the Boles Aero trailer company. I did a trade with a cabinet maker last year where he did repairs on my Safari's cabinets and I resurrected his 1954 Boles Aero logos based on the few fuzzy pictures we could find on the Internet and the hazy remnants left etched on his aluminum.

I guess technically I did not sell it, so no law was broken but as a vintage trailer owner that loves it when things can be retored to original condition I find it sad that images from the past are lost because it's not financially viable for the trademarkee to bother finding a manufacturer for such small runs.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:54 AM   #11
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So how about if we use our own image of our Airstream and make T shirts for a rally and sell them to fellow unit members or forum friends.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:56 AM   #12
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Mostly I see people comments on the forum saying things like well my Airstream belly pans done and I'm waiting for my Airstream belly pan repair merit sticker to show up in the mail and I'm like oh oh oh I can make that :-)
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sbb View Post
I am an embroiderer. That is called bootlegging. I wanted to put the name of our local NFL team in four chairs I purchased....for my husband and sons. No can do. That does not explain to me however all the Esty Airstream gifts fir sale, people making a profit off the image and likeness of Airstream, and same with the beautiful artwork we all see. Can someone weigh in the the difference for me please.
I'm a patent and trademark attorney so feel somewhat qualified to opine on the subject.

Bottom line to your question is that people have different knowledge of the laws and different tolerances for risk...
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:46 AM   #14
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Airstream is a protected brand name, as are it's product names such as Bambi, Safari, Excella, etc. If you launch a commercial venture for the purpose of generating revenue from the sale of items using one of these trademark protected names, you should expect to be contacted by Airstream's legal representatives. If your venture is small scale, expect a C&D order. If your venture is larger scale and/or you have ignored previous C&D warnings from Airstream, you should expect a lawsuit that could be very expensive.

There are other trailer manufacturers that use a streamlined curved profile for their trailers, though none are quite as distinct or consistent over time as Airstream (and even Airstream has changed their profile slightly over time). I'm not aware of an existing trademark by Airstream for the shape of their trailers. Teardrop trailers are also distinctively shaped, but there have been so many manufacturers of teardrop-shaped trailers over time, it would probably be difficult for any manufacturer to trademark that shape. The same may be true for Airstream.

If you are in the graphic design business, and you are producing T-shirts or other items with streamlined trailer images, you may be OK as long as you are not using an Airstream protected logo or brand name on your shirts and if the design is not an exact replica of an Airstream trailer. However, if you are selling those shirts at an Airstream event, you may be on thin ice. You should get the legal advice of an attorney.

I am not an attorney; however, I have worked with attorneys on many products requiring trademark protection. Anytime you are making a profit from the good name of a business that is not yours, at a minimum you should expect a C&D order from that firm.
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