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Splashing Hulls: Right or Wrong?

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Old 03-13-2002, 03:23 PM
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Default Splashing Hulls: Right or Wrong?

On another Hi Perf boating message board for smaller boats, the subject of "splashing" or making a "direct mold" of another company's hull has brought about some very interesting comments.

They are discussing direct copies of another company's hulls, not simply using 'ideas' or using a boat plug to create a new idea, but they are discussing actually splashing the hull, a clone-copy, line-for-line. An identical copy which can't be distinguished from the original.

There are a number of people making posts who not only support 'splashing' but encourage others to do it. Years ago, when we were in the boat building business, a person who 'splashed' another company's boat, would typically try to hide that fact, to avoid the negative backlash.

I'm curious how many people still believe this way? And how many today encourage 'splashing' simply because the copy-cat company has eliminated any tooling expenses he may have had building an original boat, and thus produces the same boat at the fraction of the cost?

Would love to hear your comments from the Offshore boating world.
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:35 PM
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BK

Just my opinion but, I would personally laugh at someone who Splashed a hull from another boat. (unless the original company did not produce it anymore) Also their is no way I would buy a boat like that. It would be just like putting a Ferrari kit over a Fiero, HA HA HA
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:39 PM
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I heard, and it's heresay as I dont know the law, but legally the top deck only must have at least a 10% change from the original. If this is true I think that's even a bunch of b.s.!! for someone to put al the work into an original design, and then someone else basicly just rips them off and spalshes one. There's no way this should be legal in any way, but it's common practice in the boat building business.
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:39 PM
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Maybe I am showing my age but this seems to me to be a clear cut issue of right and wrong. It is just plain wrong to steal someone else's designs (splashing), words (plagiarism), software (piracy) or whatever. It is not fair to the builder who went to the trouble of designing a boat, building a plug, making a mold etc. for someone to come along and try to profit from all that hard work. I would never knowingly buy a splashed design either.
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:43 PM
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Boats must have something like a trademark or something. I can't see how this is legal.

I'd love to see what would happen if someone spashed a Reggie boat? I would think Pat Patel would sink his teeth deep into the spasher's ass.

Reggie = Fountain boats
Pat Patel = Fountain's lawyer and Supercat racers - Don Q Rum
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:49 PM
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Actually, the "10% Change" law never worked to protect anything at all. So in 1998 a new Federal copyright law went into effect. See http://www.loc.gov/copyright/vessels/

But unfortunately, boat hulls that had been available longer than 2 years were excluded from this protection. These are the hulls being splashed on that other thread.

But today, any new hull design can be registered and placed under the New Vessel Hull Protection Act. Nobody can splash it without serious recourse.

But those hull designs that are older than 1997 fall under the old laws.
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:57 PM
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BK

Nice to see you here.

Splashing is the theft of intellectual property. Both ethically and legally it is wrong and should have been long before the latest law. The boat builders just didn't have deep enough pockets to pursue their cause in court or congress.

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Old 03-13-2002, 04:00 PM
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I'm fairly new to the performance/custom boat scene, so I don't speak from any specific subject knowledge here -- but it seems amazing to me that direct "splashing" is legal at all. Aren't there patents involved?

If hull-design is considered a key differentiator between boats (would seem to me it is), why wouldn't a manufacturer with a superior design legally protect this advantage? Perhaps some do? I would tend to think that a unique hull design...or overall boat profile, would be the at the top of the overall R&D investment list (both time and money). Costs the most? If you can't protect your greatest asset as an organization -- why be in business at all?

I would think the same patent question would hold true for other boat design aspects that are unique to a manufacturer. Some that come to mind; custom-designed/tooled/manufactured hardware and components (cleats, bolster frames, steering wheels design (ergonomics), molded-in lighting fixtures, etc.. I'm sure there are more examples.

If an automobile manufacturer had one of its models "splashed" by a competitor, and it was proven to be true, you can bet there would be big cash settlement -- or worse.

Why so many exceptions in the boat category?
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Old 03-13-2002, 04:16 PM
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I know there are steps you can take to protect yourself because this happened with the HTM molds and HTM fought and won.
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Old 03-13-2002, 04:18 PM
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Hull design, unless something is dramatically different such as the Ocke Mannerfelt design - and in some countries even then, is not patentable. It is difficult to prove that it is novel and wouldn't be worth the time and effort anyway. There is for example no patent on the boat (not trying to be funny). There was on the automobile way back when (research the Selden patent) but it was thrown out. All small boat builders have to rely on is the new law. Large manufacturers, Bayliner say, don't care as the designs are definitely not novel and are not the basis for their sales.
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