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Old 08-11-2010, 10:01 PM
Blushingmule's Avatar
Blushingmule Blushingmule is offline
Where'd it go?
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 358


I just returned from NARAM 52 yesterday.

Carl, Sheryl, and Bruce are the friendliest people that I've ever met.
Why Hobbico would do this; knowing that model rocketry is a niche market is beyond me.

Looks like an order is going to be underway tonight!

illegitimi non carborundum

NAR# 54643 L-1

SAM #043

AMA# 157091

Last edited by Blushingmule : 08-12-2010 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:02 PM
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GregGleason GregGleason is offline
U.S. Manned Space Program Buff
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,298

First of all, thanks Carl for posting about this.

There are a lot of ways this can go, and I am hoping for the amicable solution for all parties.


Last edited by GregGleason : 08-12-2010 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:18 PM
Jerry Irvine's Avatar
Jerry Irvine Jerry Irvine is offline
Freeform rocketry advocate.
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Claremont, CA "The intellectual capitol of the world."-WSJ
Posts: 3,782

Isn't the heart attack as bad or worse of a concern as a request to come to an amicable agreement with Estes? Who is going to do Semroc if you get sick again?

Exemptions not regulations ACHIEVED. U.S. Rockets instaship. Model rocketry is as safe as safe can be defined in human existence. Bow and pray: GH Stine, Orville, Vern, Lee, Lonnie, Carl, Gary, Scott, etc. No, really. U.S. Rockets released first moonburner Toy Rockets G30, TRA first certified motor: H, invented LMR, HPR, Firestarter, reloadables 1-90, and now . . . ACHIEVED. LDRS first pre-HPR motor 38mm I200!!
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:21 PM
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dwmzmm dwmzmm is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 2,314

Wow, sorry to hear about this Carl! What a way to start after NARAM. My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family. I hope this gets resolved on favorable terms for all of us.
Dave, NAR # 21853 SR.
Section Advisor
Old Rocketeers # 724
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:30 PM
Gingerdawg Gingerdawg is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 125

Originally Posted by Carl@Semroc
The complaint is broad enough to cover any products they have depicted in the photos in their catalogs. This would likely include their nose cone shapes, body tube design, rings, chutes, launch lugs, and most of the other 2200 parts we have online. Since most of our revenue comes from parts sales, that would kill us as a company. If they think they can copyright a Little Joe II, then they certainly can "copyright" a BNC-60L design.

Carl, first let me say this sux, and we are behind you and yours 100%.

If NAPA can produce a distributor cap as a replacemnet part for a chevy, and GM can't prevent it, then how can Estes prevent Semroc from producing replacement parts for an Astron Alpha?
I suppose the point may be moot, if it comes down to the big guy financialy squeezing the little guy even though he is wrong.

further, I believe estes, at least through the prior owners, has already given up some of it's rights by not previously "protecting" their intellectual property.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:41 PM
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PaulK PaulK is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: WI
Posts: 1,287

Wow. Just like that, all the goodwill they've tried to build recently is gone, *poof*. I hope it doesn't end like this, I've really appreciated all that Semroc has offered over the years, and even more so, the folks behind the company. I wish there were something we could do to help.
If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane - Jimmy Buffett
NAR #87246
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:08 AM
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Bluegrass Rocket Bluegrass Rocket is online now
Pickin' and launching.
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Posts: 233


I, like the others, can't believe the "goodwill" that has seemingly disappeared. This is the last thing I would have thought of happening. Guess I won't be making any more square clones either. I know they have big money and can end up doing whatever they want, probably, but here is something I found while looking for answers.

The copyright owner's exclusive rights are subject to a number of exceptions and limitations that give others the right to make limited use of a copyrighted work. Major exceptions and limitations are outlined in this section.
Copyright protects only against the unauthorized taking of a protected work's "expression." It does not extend to the work's ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries.

With this statement from Copyright Law, you can continue to make all parts for any rocket kit.

Just like the Saturn V for example. They can copyright their picture of their Saturn V but nothing else. They can't make you NOT make your "expression" of a Saturn V. Especially if you only offer the parts and not a kit. If there is any other copyright involving a Saturn V, I would think someone at NASA would hold it. This would follow through with any Scale or real rocket.

Just talking out loud.
Rick Randol
NAR #28062, ROCI Section #625
“NewWay Space Models-We Cornered Model Rocketry”
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:19 AM
STRMan's Avatar
STRMan STRMan is offline
Master Modeler
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 871

You know, I just popped on to check out this thread again. There were no new updates since my last visit earlier this evening. When I saw this thread was stagnant, but there were 2 other active threads both with the word ESTES in the subject line, I just felt "blah" and didn't even bother to open them. I'm also in the camp that until this is resolved fairly and as "amicably" as possible, I have just lost all enthusiasm for any thing ESTES.

Maybe I'll start looking into making sugar engines on my own.

Then again, this can be a huge opportunity for Quest to start expanding their engine selection.

Carl, I'm in your corner 100%!
"AND I hope they are from the planet of the "Chunk spunky Mary-Lou Retton clones". - Ironnerd

"Those who trade liberty for security have neither" - Benjamin Franklin

"Semroc is almost always the answer" - Stefanj
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:26 AM
Royatl's Avatar
Royatl Royatl is offline
SPEV/Orion wrangler
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,329


I'm going to hold judgement on Estes/Hobbico for a few days.

This may very well be just a 'CYA' letter so that it can be shown that they are defending their copyrights and trademarks.

The lawyers may actually want some small changes that would be perfectly reasonable.

I'd like for Carl to call Mary, or even to call Rick Piester at Hobbico, and avoid the lawyering until absolutely necessary. It would have been better for one of them to have called him *before* the lawyers sent the letter, but since I've had three friends become lawyers recently, I know how necessarily but unfairly nasty they have to be at times.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:30 AM
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Earl Earl is offline
Apollo Nut
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,143

This is just hard news to take.

Honestly, I just don't see how they could begin to enforce any 'copyright' claim to models of 'actual' rockets/spacecraft. I mean really, they don't 'own' the Saturn V, Saturn 1b, or Little Joe II designs at all. Those 'designs' were paid for by the American taxpayer actually, and as such, anyone should be free and able to produce models, kits, representations, etc. and market those to their heart's content.

As for the Arcon and Aerobee, those were not Estes/Cox/Centuri (whoever....) designs either. Actually, THOSE designs did eminate from a commercial third party, and I'm sure back in the day Estes and Centuri had to obtain some type of release from the respective companies that developed THOSE vehicles to market a model thereof. If those companies still exist, I would think that Semroc (should they desire) could go to those companies just as Estes/Centuri did 'back in the day' in obtain permission to produce a kit today. It would be hard to imagine that Hobbico could stop that.

If Semroc wanted to produce a model Space Shuttle tomorrow, I do not see how Hobbico could even begin to think they could stop you from doing it simply because they marketed a flying Space Shuttle model at one time! That's rediculous to me. about the V-2? Are they saying Semroc cannot produce THAT kit either, simply because THEY marketed one in the past?

As for their 'internal' designs (Laser-X, etc.) that is a bit different. But, if they allowed those designs to enter 'free enterprise' without defending them for X number of years, then they may have lost their copyright on those. I'm no lawyer, but I would think their case might be somewhat flimsy in some instances.

Carl, I appreciate what you are saying about the cost of trying to fight something like this. If anyone knows a lawyer that might be willing to work with Carl on this pro-bona (I believe that is the term), that would certainly be great.

Also, Carl do you believe a 'letter writing' campaign (or 'email campaign') by the members here (in a diplomatic, yet passionate manner) to the principles of Hobbico on your behalf be in order right now, or would you prefer for us to hold off on that until you can discuss things with them? I think many of us would send off a letter of 'please back off Semroc' tomorrow to Hobbico if you feel that would help.

I would be highly inclined not to do any business at all with Estes if THIS is the kind of game they are gonna play.

Does someone have any direct friendship with Ricky Piester (or through his dad Lee) that could possibly talk some sense into Hobbico with this thing? This really just seems completely petty on their part.

Carl, I'll pray for a positive solution to this entire thing that will allow you folks to stay in business and continue to supply the parts you do. You are too valuable a resource to loose!

Best Regards,

Earl L. Cagle, Jr.
NAR# 29523
TRA# 962
SAM# 73
Point 39 Productions

Rocket-Brained Since 1970
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