Samodular Buchla kits

Buchla, Serge, Studio.h, Northern Light Modular, Keen Assoc., 1979, Vedic Scapes, etc. Banana systems
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LaBelleAurore
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by LaBelleAurore »

This Trademark thing is wayyyy overblown.

Yes, BUSA has a valid registered trademark for the word “Buchla.” They have every right to protect that mark from dilution, and prevent the use of that mark where it would like to a likelihood of confusion. Likelihood of confusion is typically found where the use of a mark confuses a consumer and they think they are a buying a product manufactured by the trademark owner. If the “Buchla” mark is used in such a way, BUSA has every right to stop it.

BUSA cannot, however stop anyone from using terms like “Buchla compatible” or “For use with Buchla modular systems.” Use of another’s mark to describe compatibility or intended use is considered a fair use of another’s mark. This is well established in the United States, for instance “IBM compatible” is a prime example of a fair use of another’s mark to indicate compatibility or intended use.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 12:46 pm This Trademark thing is wayyyy overblown.

Yes, BUSA has a valid registered trademark for the word “Buchla.” They have every right to protect that mark from dilution, and prevent the use of that mark where it would like to a likelihood of confusion. Likelihood of confusion is typically found where the use of a mark confuses a consumer and they think they are a buying a product manufactured by the trademark owner. If the “Buchla” mark is used in such a way, BUSA has every right to stop it.

BUSA cannot, however stop anyone from using terms like “Buchla compatible” or “For use with Buchla modular systems.” Use of another’s mark to describe compatibility or intended use is considered a fair use of another’s mark. This is well established in the United State, for instance “IBM compatible” is a prime example of a fair use of another’s mark to indicate compatibility or intended use.
Fully agree.

My lawyer actually asked me WHY I didn't register the name Buchla in advance.......told him because of respect to Don ! Being a nice person doesn't earn anything. My business was up even before the name was registered.
Anyway - terms I have used were "Buchla-format" or Buchla-inspired".....lets see.
@Kent - if you agree, please rename this thread.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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I'd like to add that I've read the pertinent documentation on this matter and BUSA does make some good points that I think are fair. This is not to say that everything that they mention and claim is actually occurring. It is a full laundry list of what they would like protected and claim to have protection rights in place to defend. Some unreasonable, some reasonable, and we have no idea if they can stake claims to any of it at this very late stage in the game.

I am casually familiar with claims of tradedress infringement and worked on a fact-finding mission on a case against Behringer, which we won. BUSA make some fair points and state some outright nonsense.

Regarding the points that I find to be fair, I think that SA (and others) could make some minor changes and be in compliance with BUSA's claims, regardless as to whether they have any kind of standing or not.
I have reservations as to whether they can support the majority of their claims given the amount of time that has passed since the launch of these products and I highly doubt than much has been properly protected.

To be clear: I'm not a lawyer and this isn't legal advice as to how to proceed. I could be out-of-date with my knowledge and completely wrong as well.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:00 pm I'd like to add that I've read the pertinent documentation on this matter and BUSA does make some good points that I think are fair.
I haven’t had the chance to read any of that, but based on discussions, anecdotal evidence, and a explanation I received from Reverb in regard to one of my module sales, it does seem that BUSA may be trying to exercise rights that are not actually provided by trademark and limit certain activities of others that are not actually infringing of their trademark.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:06 pm
Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:00 pm I'd like to add that I've read the pertinent documentation on this matter and BUSA does make some good points that I think are fair.
I haven’t had the chance to read any of that, but based on discussions, anecdotal evidence, and a explanation I received from Reverb in regard to one of my module sales, it does seem that BUSA may be trying to exercise rights that are not actually provided by trademark and limit certain activities of others that are not actually infringing of their trademark.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:06 pm
Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:00 pm I'd like to add that I've read the pertinent documentation on this matter and BUSA does make some good points that I think are fair.
I haven’t had the chance to read any of that, but based on discussions, anecdotal evidence, and a explanation I received from Reverb in regard to one of my module sales, it does seem that BUSA may be trying to exercise rights that are not actually provided by trademark and limit certain activities of others that are not actually infringing of their trademark.
Matthew, check the trademarkelite database and you'll find only a few registered names like "Easel, Music Easel", Buchla", "The Electric Music Box".
Some are only registered in the US, some are even pending. Some were registered just the day I got the "surprise" email.

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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by djs »

Does this mean that "Easel Weasel" is not trademarked? Clone pants- here I come!
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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djs wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:19 pm Does this mean that "Easel Weasel" is not trademarked? Clone pants- here I come!
Do a red-faced one and call it a "Measle-Weasel".
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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djs wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:19 pm Does this mean that "Easel Weasel" is not trademarked? Clone pants- here I come!
Check:
https://www.trademarkelite.com
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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weedywhizz wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:22 pm Check:
https://www.trademarkelite.com
It's not! Neither is Easel Beagle or Easel Smeagol
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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djs wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:24 pm
weedywhizz wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:22 pm Check:
https://www.trademarkelite.com
It's not! Neither is Easel Beagle or Easel Smeagol
Go for it 😁
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by Ebolatone »

I'm reminded of the Monster Cable fiasco...sometimes lawyers make money by convincing corporations they MUST PROTECT their name by threatening any and all who have similar. Every year, like clockwork. Didn't earn them any goodwill, did it.

"Easel Smeagol"

:hihi: Nice
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by LaBelleAurore »

weedywhizz wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:10 pm
Matthew, check the trademarkelite database and you'll find only a few registered names like "Easel, Music Easel", Buchla", "The Electric Music Box".
Some are only registered in the US, some are even pending. Some were registered just the day I got the "surprise" email.

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Interesting, thanks! I didn’t realize they had recently registered additional marks. I knew that Buchla was registered.

The problem is none of these marks seem to meet the distinctiveness threshold required for trademark. People names and generic terms do not make strong trademarks, which means they can be easily challenged, which puts BUSA on the defensive requiring them to establish secondary meaning.

Where a trademark fails the distinctiveness test, a mark holder can establish that the mark has taken on meaning in the minds of consumers to indicate the source of goods or services. This is called “secondary meaning.” It’s a PIA to establish secondary meaning.

It’s better in the beginning to just create distinctive marks. This is why car manufacturers just make up new words for their car models, and new companies make up new words to call their companies. It’s much easier to defend these types of distinctive marks.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by Kent »

One fun thing to think about is that BUSA would have to spend money to challenge every single defendant that they would bring to court. They likely can't afford this and are just using threat as a blunt cudgel.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by 01235813 »

I know BUSA has claims to 200e series but what about the 200 series, anyone know?

I personally view their reissue as more of a clone/remake than some of the clones, if that makes sense. I'm an all out easel fanatic and even I was surprised/disappointed when they made the 208c without investing in their "flagship" product. I can't be more than surprised and dissapointed because I don't know their plan and I've always rooted for BUSA but as of late I'm just not seeing it. Hopefully I will be surprised. OT but I wish I would have never listened to that Eric Fox interview on the Buchla podcast.

Cheers to Stefan for running a reliable and exemplary business. I hope things don't get too chaotic/stressful so that you're able to continue to focus your time and energy on the fine business that you have established.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:51 pm The problem is none of these marks seem to meet the distinctiveness threshold required for trademark. People names and generic terms do not make strong trademarks, which means they can be easily challenged, which puts BUSA on the defensive requiring them to establish secondary meaning.
I have no expertise in trademark law, but couldn't you argue that within the scope of musical instruments that "music easel" is a unique enough term that it could be considered referencing a specific product? i.e. no one else has made anything with that name, unless they are riffing off of the original easel? Compared to say "Drum machine" which would be a generic identifier of a type of product.

Also, it's my understanding that trademark only applies to within that specific industry. Meaning- if I were to create something to hold paintbrushes on a canvas, and called it an "Easel Weasel", there's not much Buchla could do about it?
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by LaBelleAurore »

djs wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 3:03 pm
mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 1:51 pm The problem is none of these marks seem to meet the distinctiveness threshold required for trademark. People names and generic terms do not make strong trademarks, which means they can be easily challenged, which puts BUSA on the defensive requiring them to establish secondary meaning.
I have no expertise in trademark law, but couldn't you argue that within the scope of musical instruments that "music easel" is a unique enough term that it could be considered referencing a specific product? i.e. no one else has made anything with that name, unless they are riffing off of the original easel? Compared to say "Drum machine" which would be a generic identifier of a type of product.

Also, it's my understanding that trademark only applies to within that specific industry. Meaning- if I were to create something to hold paintbrushes on a canvas, and called it an "Easel Weasel", there's not much Buchla could do about it?
You might read up on the concept of “distinctiveness” as it applies to trademark. “Distinctiveness” is a spectrum that runs from descriptive terms like “electric guitar” which are very weak marks and may not even qualify for protection to fanciful marks like “Stratocaster” that are highly distinct and certainly qualify for protection.

“Music Easel” is certainly closer to “Electric Guitar” than “Stratocaster” placing it on the descriptive end of the distinctiveness spectrum, which means it’s registration and validity is more easily challenged.

What you are getting at in your post is “secondary meaning” which is a way in which marks that are not inherently distinctive can still be afforded trademark protection. The catch is that “secondary meaning” is established in court, via complicated evidentiary requirements, it’s expensive, and there is no guarantee that you are going to win a distinctiveness challenge by establishing secondary meaning.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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01235813 wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 3:02 pm I know BUSA has claims to 200e series but what about the 200 series, anyone know?

I personally view their reissue as more of a clone/remake than some of the clones, if that makes sense. I'm an all out easel fanatic and even I was surprised/disappointed when they made the 208c without investing in their "flagship" product. I can't be more than surprised and dissapointed because I don't know their plan and I've always rooted for BUSA but as of late I'm just not seeing it. Hopefully I will be surprised. OT but I wish I would have never listened to that Eric Fox interview on the Buchla podcast.

Cheers to Stefan for running a reliable and exemplary business. I hope things don't get too chaotic/stressful so that you're able to continue to focus your time and energy on the fine business that you have established.
Thank you very much for your kind words.
This type of stuff of course steals a huge amount of time that I could use to fulfill orders. Customers are patiently waiting. I have the best customers on this planet. Full stop.
Last edited by weedywhizz on Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by auxren »

Throwing in the fact that I placed an order on samodular.com and received it 3 days later in California. Obvious care was taken in packaging and all. What a guy!
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by Sinamsis »

Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:08 pm One fun thing to think about is that BUSA would have to spend money to challenge every single defendant that they would bring to court. They likely can't afford this and are just using threat as a blunt cudgel.
Speaking of money, I will gladly contribute something should this come to any legal action. I would encourage anyone with any interest in the DIY world to do the same. This bullshit threatens us all.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by LaBelleAurore »

Sinamsis wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 4:46 pm
Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:08 pm One fun thing to think about is that BUSA would have to spend money to challenge every single defendant that they would bring to court. They likely can't afford this and are just using threat as a blunt cudgel.
Speaking of money, I will gladly contribute something should this come to any legal action. I would encourage anyone with any interest in the DIY world to do the same. This bullshit threatens us all.
Trademark registrations can be challenged. Folks can pull together and file a petition to challenge the trademarks that are merely descriptive a fail to meet the distinctiveness standards laid out in the trademark law.

There’s probably no point in challenging the “Buchla” mark itself as that’s pretty much a legitimate mark.

But some of the others, like the one that seeks to trademark the word “Control Voltage” among other generic modular terminology is perhaps not as clearly legitimate.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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Sinamsis wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 4:46 pm
Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:08 pm One fun thing to think about is that BUSA would have to spend money to challenge every single defendant that they would bring to court. They likely can't afford this and are just using threat as a blunt cudgel.
Speaking of money, I will gladly contribute something should this come to any legal action. I would encourage anyone with any interest in the DIY world to do the same. This bullshit threatens us all.
THIS IS HUGE.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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Sinamsis wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 4:46 pm
Kent wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 2:08 pm One fun thing to think about is that BUSA would have to spend money to challenge every single defendant that they would bring to court. They likely can't afford this and are just using threat as a blunt cudgel.
Speaking of money, I will gladly contribute something should this come to any legal action. I would encourage anyone with any interest in the DIY world to do the same. This bullshit threatens us all.
I second this offer.

I saw a copy of the cease & desist language and it was pretty vile, in my opinion. I won't voice my assumptions as to the actual motivation behind it, but I will say that I vehemently disagree with the approach that was taken - and would gladly contribute to the cause should it reach that point legally.

Also gonna stop putting off my long-pending SAModular case upgrades. :mrgreen:

Thank you Steffen, for all your efforts to support this community. :hail:
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

Post by miaz »

Just call it BUCKLA,
swedish for 'dent' and slang for 'trophy'.
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Re: Samodular Buchla kits

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mritenburg wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 4:56 pm But some of the others, like the one that seeks to trademark the word “Control Voltage” among other generic modular terminology
This was actually attempted?
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