Rick Toone Necks

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by JDKam27, May 24, 2016.

  1. JDKam27

    JDKam27 New Member

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    Hey,

    So I'm going to start building my first guitar this weekend, and I'd like to use a neck profile inspired by Rick Toone and Ola Strandberg for their ergonomical benefits, but I'm not quite sure if it's legal or not because of patents and Copyrites. Now here is the link to Rick Toones patented necks. Neck Profiles & Licensing - Rick Toone | Luthier Say I wanted to make a trapezoidal neck profile. Would it be illegal to make one that is slightly different angles then Ricks design? or do I need some kind of license to make a trapezoidal neck of any size, angle and shape?
     
  2. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    I'm sure others will chip in here, but a trapezoid profile and EndurNeck are definitely not the same thing.

    If it doesn't have the same 'twist' to it, you'd be in no danger of violating his copyright.

    And before someone else says it, there once was time when Ola was selling licenses for the EndurNeck, but they are no longer available.

    FWIW I have a guitar with a trapezoidal neck and no twist to it, and it's really comfortable to my hand.
     
  3. Señor Voorhees

    Señor Voorhees SS.org Regular

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    Perhaps I'm wrong in saying this, but wouldn't it only become an issue if you were trying to sell it? Building your own seems like it'd be a non-issue.

    I'm no law expert, so somebody should definitely feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  4. JDKam27

    JDKam27 New Member

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    @MoonJelly: Yes I understand that they're two completely different patents. I'm just trying to figure out if I would violate any copyrite if I were to make something that were very close to the patented necks.

    @Senor Voorhees:Well yeah I'd be trying to sell it because I'm putting all my money into tools and parts for the guitar. So I'm hoping to be able to sell it to fund my next guitar build.
     
  5. Electric Wizard

    Electric Wizard guy incognito

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    It depends on what the patent specifically covers. Personal use is not an exemption for reproducing a patented design. Patents protect the utility of an invention, so while you're not selling it, you are gaining its use when you copy it for yourself.

    If you look at the claims in Toone's and Strandberg's patents, they are pretty surprisingly vague. It seems like Toone's actually is a patent on a trapezoidal neck with no more specifics than that. The Strandberg patent mentions some proportions but again not really any specific measurements.

    Personally I would just ask Ola for permission to use his profile. I think he still lets people freely use it for personal builds. Not sure about Toone.


    EDIT: You definitely can't go selling it without it being licensed.
     
  6. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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    Toone is dishonestly pretending that his Design Patent for a neck profile which has been used by Stick Enterprises for decades is a Utility Patent.

    Look up his patent number US D630,676: the D signifies design patent. Anyone who wanted to challenge the design patent should just copy and paste his utility arguments from his own website, since his patent only covers the ornamental aspects of the design and not the functions.

    Legally anyone should be able to use the same functional design, distinguish it from his ornamentally (by inlaying a logo for example,) but give it a different name since Toone is claiming a trademark on "Trapezoid Neck Profile".
     
  7. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    If he had indeed been able to patent the trapezoid shape then I'd lose all faith in the patent system, as there have been loads of stringed instruments throughout history with trapezoidial neck profiles.
     
  8. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    no joke! A lot of old resonator/dobro guitars have a 'square neck', which is often a tapered square profile, like, uh, a trapezoid. They've been doing this for 80+ years.
     
  9. redstone

    redstone SS.org Regular

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    If someone suits you for building or even selling trapezoid necks, don't worry, they'll lose. Unless they patented specific angles eventually.
     
  10. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    ^Yeah, and that's the weird thing about patent law- you can apparently do that. Just like EBMM landed the patent on compensated nuts that have "non-sinusoidial" offests. Makes me wonder what the patent office considers "prior art". :nuts:
     
  11. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    The patent office is just a formatting checker, it's irrelevant. But the rule in court is, the company that is considered more American wins. ;)
     
  12. JDKam27

    JDKam27 New Member

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    SO... I emailed Rick and asked him. His answer was about as vague as the post on his website so I asked him again with some even more specific questions.

    But I mean there's a thousand ways to make a trapezoid. He cant patent all of them can he? Maybe a handful of specific trapezoid designs, yeah, but someone can't just go out and patent semicircle guitar necks so no one can make them anymore can they?
     
  13. frahmans

    frahmans SS.org Regular

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    as long as the dimensions of your trapezoid neck are different, wouldn't it be okay? I was inspired by his trapezoid design and ended up making my shoulders a lot rounder so it wasn't a full trapezoid. It still has the flat back that is the essense of the advantage he is talking about.
     
  14. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    Piece of advice. Don't try to sell the first guitar you build.
     
  15. redstone

    redstone SS.org Regular

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    I wouldn't even care for a trapezoid neck. Generally when you shape a neck, you start by making a trapeze. Since making a trapeze is part of shaping a round neck with traditional tools, you can't be suited for not having finished the neck. lol. If Toone doesn't patent precise angles with a functional reason, you don't need his approval, trapezoid necks are thousand years old. Screw that bulls***
     
  16. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    Pretty sure Toone's doing the same .... Novax did with his (inaccurate) fanned fret patent: holding it over everyone's head and hoping you'd rather pay the licensing fee than deal with the threat of a lawsuit.
     
  17. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    Came in here to say this.

    And eh, Rick has the whole patent thing going on but as noted on here before it doesn't mean much. The $250 he's asking is over the top as well considering it's nothing new. At least Ola used to charge like $40 for his endurneck and I was happy to pay him that amount.
     
  18. JuliusJahn

    JuliusJahn Luthier

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    I emailed Toone about this a year ago for a build; he basically said he doesnt sell a license for his design but also doesn't care if I use it under a different name. I can confirm that it's a very comfortable shape and I have done it on 3 client builds now.

    I didn't look at his models and just took the idea of trapezoid/flat back/C carve and came up with my own ratio's based on the neck laminates and neck length.
     
  19. JDKam27

    JDKam27 New Member

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    Well it's been a few days since I asked him more specific questions about what his patent covers anddd...... he has ignored my questions.So I guess I'm just going to make one and call it a semi-hexagonal neck or something.
     
  20. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Unless you use a CNC to have your sides be absolutely perfectly equal to warrant it being termed a 'trapezoidal profile', you can just call it an isosceles neck profile :lol:
     

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