Plans, kits, licensing, IP....

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by Pacha, Dec 11, 2019.

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  1. Dec 13, 2019 #61

    gtae07

    gtae07

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    The Bill of Sale, which is required to register the aircraft (see below). The builder in question bought up partially-completed kit portions and abandoned projects, so the majority was still built from a kit.

    From the FAA:
    Edit: and more to the point, although he could have told the DAR or FAA that it wasn't from a kit and was mostly scratch-built, you'd have a hard time being convincing without lots of documentation. Yes, there are a handful of scratch-built RVs out there, but if you try to register an RV and you tell the FAA it's an original design or a scratch-built example I don't think you'd pass the smell test.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  2. Dec 13, 2019 #62

    Hot Wings

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    There are also a couple of instances of the plans only being leased or rented to the user. The company that owns the copyright and the related IP also retains ownership of the physical plans. More common in the boat world.......
     
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  3. Dec 13, 2019 #63

    Himat

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    There is probably a grey area there, and that is what jurisdiction that is force. The law in USA apply only in the USA, even so hard they try to make it Pax Americana. If Vans or someone else sell to somebody outside the USA, what the licence terms say may not have much legal backing at the buyers whereabout.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2019 #64

    Himat

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    Not at all useless to someone that want to design an airplane with the specification close to a Van’s design. The new airplane will not be a copy, just very similar. ;)
     
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  5. Dec 14, 2019 #65

    cheapracer

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    [/QUOTE]
    If Vans or someone else sell to somebody outside the USA, what the licence terms say may not have much legal backing at the buyers whereabout.[/QUOTE]

    Contracts in most, if not all WTO countries are valid.

    Vans could sue me in China for example under their American Company contract.
     
  6. Dec 14, 2019 #66

    pfarber

    pfarber

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    First Sale doctrine.

    If you buy a cook book they don't limit the amount of cookies you can make, or if you can sell them. You and a friend could sell each other the same set of plans over and over, each 'sale' resulting in the creation of an airplane. The license or agreement that bound the first owner is not transferred to, nor do they affect, the rights of the new owner. As long as you sell the ORIGINAL plans (not a copy of the plans) you are golden.

    The ONLY limitation is if the plans are LICENSED to you, not SOLD. This is not the same thing as an agreement to limit the number of planes you can make.

    What you could not do is call your copy an 'RV-10', that's trademark and copyright. But you could call it a JoBlow 10.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2019 #67

    Daleandee

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    Hope not to be too off topic here .... but as noted here and I had mentioned earlier, Sonex uses this to control the "one plane per set of plans rule." Yet I have heard that Sonex will make an exception in the case of a verifiable accident where the wing spar needs to be replaced. Not sure of the criteria that would be required for them to do so but wanted to point out that while the company works to protect their rights they are willing to assist the builder/owners in anyway they can.

    Dale
    N319WF
     
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  8. Dec 14, 2019 #68

    pfarber

    pfarber

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    Sounds like a GREAT reason to not buy their product. Something happens to the die? The company goes out of business? Don't think it will happen? The BD-4 has had it happen. Bankrupt/changed hands many times and the original 2024 spar is not made anymore, the huge press needed to extrude the spar was sold to China. So they had to redesign a new spar out of different aluminum.. meaning its thicker and if you damage the original 2024 spar you get to rebuild the entire wing and part of the cabin.
     
  9. Dec 15, 2019 #69

    Daleandee

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    Obviously we don't agree. Maybe I never need a spar, maybe they don't go out of business, and maybe some enterprising engineer would redesign the spar to use angles instead of the extrusion if it ever came to that (I heard of a Sonex that was built using builder designed spars some years ago --- don't know if that's true as I couldn't tell from the pics I seen). We are builders ... trust me when I tell you that if it became a problem, we would find a work around. :D I don't spend my time focused on what things could be but rather what they are. Currently the glass is full. If it ever becomes half full ... I'll simply use a smaller glass!

    At this point it is of no consequence as the company has been in business for 22 years. I've been flying a Sonex product (this is my second one) for over 12 years and praise God I've not needed a spar as of yet. It is quite a fun plane to fly ... when you get some horses on the nose!

    Dale
    N319WF

    PS: Sorry for the off topic. I'll leave this alone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  10. Dec 15, 2019 #70

    Jim Grasso

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    First off Sonex is on borrowed time. Their CEO has no business experience. His previous experience was photography. 2nd their customer service representative has absolutely no knowledge of their products. I called and asked for the distance from the front landing wheel to the propeller hub and she could not answer the question and refused to directly to someone who did. Lastly their old CEO was killed in one of their own factory build, factory maintained airplanes...
     
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  11. Dec 15, 2019 #71

    BJC

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    Jim:

    Tell us about the kit aircraft company that you run.


    BJC
     
  12. Dec 15, 2019 #72

    cheapracer

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    God's not going to help you, anyone with a CAD program and .dxf output can though.

    I can't see Sonex have a propriety on a spar design that is way over 25 years old from the Monerai.

    .
    Monerai spar.jpg
     
  13. Dec 15, 2019 #73

    cheapracer

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    Apparently people are very pleased with the B model with it's extra room, something that was lacking for previous potential clients, and there's a waiting list for the little jet.

    Those 2 models, and the motor glider, are indicative of a company that's willing to dare, and not to stagnate. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they have a 'full sized' 2 seater ready to step up and take on Vans if their current line dwindles at all, it's what i would be working on.

    Sonex is more successful than a lot of people realise, they're not going anywhere soon.
     
  14. Dec 15, 2019 #74

    Pops

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    I agree, as a customer many years ago, I had a bad experience with them and will not buy anything from them from now on. I can recognize a company with very poor customer relations without every running a kit company. But I did run a successful aviation company, if that helps.
    They were wise in locating at Wittman Field , they always get top billing on their engines and airplanes from the EAA.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
  15. Dec 15, 2019 #75

    Wanttaja

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    There are about 500 Sonex aircraft on the US registry (as of January of this year), which puts them about #9 on the list.
    _________Type_________|_Number_|
    _________Vans_________|__6447__|
    ________Zenair________|___992__|
    ________Kitfox________|___875__|
    _Lancair (All Models)_|___824__|
    _________RANS_________|___636__|
    ________Glasair_______|___571__|
    _____Pitts (EX-AB)____|___548__|
    ______Challenger______|___491__|
    _________Sonex________|___486__|
    ___GlaStar/Sportsman__|___410__|

    Safety-wise, it's quite good, it has an average fleet accident rate lower than average. However, it does have an unusually high rate of accidents involving loss of engine power (both aircraft- and pilot-induced). About 32% of all homebuilt accidents involve loss of engine power, vs. 58% for the Sonex series.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  16. Dec 15, 2019 #76

    BBerson

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    I think success might be how many kits they sell instead of numbers registered.
     
  17. Dec 15, 2019 #77

    Topaz

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    Sorry, but no. A cook book is a terrible example for this, because the IP issues were dealt with between the author and publisher long before the book store ever got the book, and you didn't sign a sales contract when buying the book, that limited your use of it.

    First sale doctrine doesn't apply in the kind of sale done for airplane plans and construction manuals. The sales contract limits your usage of the materials, and you agree to those terms at the time of sale, or the sale doesn't happen. If the terms include a limit on the transfer of the materials to a third party, and/or not allowing a third party to build an airplane from the plans, you're bound to those terms because you agreed to them when you signed the contract.

    Period. Full stop.
     
  18. Dec 15, 2019 #78

    pfarber

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    If plans are SOLD the original terms DO NOT CARRY OVER TO THE 2nd buyer. FULL STOP.

    There are some plans (usually done by formally licensed engineers) that have laws that override First Sale doctrine, but in no way, shape or form, that plans SOLD carry any such limitations. Architects are an example. But if you get a 'work for hire' agreement, then the client owns the rights to the plans.

    If the plans a LICENSED then yes, you are right. But I also specifically mentioned that the plans must be SOLD.
     
  19. Dec 15, 2019 #79

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    Unfortunately, there's no external, unambiguous source of kit-sales information. My table above shows 6,500 EAB RVs registered in the US; Van's figures show over 10,500 Van's airplanes have flown.

    I've actually worked with Van's to try to understand the differences in our figures. My list does not include aircraft licensed other than EAB (most RV-12s), planes that are not listed as EAB in the registry (about 1200), and those that have been deregistered. We're still about 1500 planes apart, though. Many of them are probably kits sold outside the US, but there's no way to verify that.

    The key point is, if I decide to accept Van's numbers at face value, I have to accept the claims of any OTHER kit manufacturer.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  20. Dec 15, 2019 #80

    12notes

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    I didn't sign anything or check any license agreement to buy the plans for the plane I am building. I would never sell the plans when I am done, in case I ever need to remake a part, but without any contract or other sales conditions, it seems it would be legal to do so.
     

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