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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743060
06/08/18 03:15 PM
06/08/18 03:15 PM
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I recall reading or hearing that in other countries (I think the UK) when a rebuilder replaces the soundboard, they can no longer label the piano with the original manufacturers trademarks. It really seems only fair that a rebuilt instrument should be labeled as such to keep down confusion, depending upon the scope of the rebuild.

The original manufacturers name is cast into the plate, and the serial numbers and case numbers can all be traced back to Steinway-built instruments in their records, so Steinway really can't divorce itself too far from the rebuilds by third parties. I understand why they don't sell soundboards to rebuilders, and I could understand why they might want to verify the abilities of 3rd party technicians to whom they might sell parts or decals.

I know this topic is getting a lot of traction here on PW, but think about all of the techs and rebuilders out there who aren't on PW. They're going to be really surprised in a few weeks when they can no longer order decals.

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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743067
06/08/18 03:30 PM
06/08/18 03:30 PM
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There are a few things we don't know:

1) The specific wording of the license agreement with DU.

2) The specific wording of the revocation of that agreement.

3) Whether or not Steinway feels that DU did not live up to that agreement. (I am not casting aspersions or trying to accuse anyone of anything here...simply stating a fact as far as I know).

4) Precisely the reason(s) why Steinway is not going to renew it.

5) Precisely what they intend to do about it in the future, or what they may already be doing but not telling anyone yet (including DU).

6) Whether or not they intend to litigate anything or anyone.


Here are a few things that make sense to me:

1) It does not seem realistic for Steinway to even attempt to corner the entire rebuilding market worldwide. I just cannot see it.

2) It does not seem realistic to sue every single person who might put a decal on one of their pianos.

3) From a legal standpoint it DOES make some sense to lay the legal basis (protecting their "trademark") so as to have a legal leg to stand on in court if and when they do decide to go after someone who is fraudulently applying decals to non-steinway products, since one of the first questions any fair-minded judge is going to have is: "Exactly what have you DONE to protect your trademark?"

This may be a first step in that direction to be followed by others.

They may have hired a new lawyer who looked at the situation and said: "Uhhh, we need to do something about this..." (just speculating of course).

Anyway, this is what I am thinking about this at the moment. Feel free to disagree.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743069
06/08/18 03:35 PM
06/08/18 03:35 PM
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I don't see what the big deal is here.
Steinway doesn't have to sell decals of their trademarks to anyone if they don't want to.

Restricting the sale of decals is not the same as trying to restrict what can be done to their pianos after sale. Anybody can do whatever they want to the piano, it just may be harder to buy a decal for it.

A quick search of the USPTO database shows that they are definitely maintaining their trademarks

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/







Last edited by spk; 06/08/18 03:37 PM.
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743128
06/08/18 09:58 PM
06/08/18 09:58 PM
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If a person owns a used Steinway piano, they have every right to restore every detail of the piano to any state they see fit including applying appropriate decalomania. Steinway has no right to restrict anyone in business supplying to customers, and/or applying said decalomania beyond requiring the full disclosure that they are not original or "certified" from Steinway Co.

Steinway products are not copyrighted works of art that allow the producer to retain certain rights over how they are treated. They might be able to sustain a copyright of this nature on custom art cases, but standard production items I don't think will support a claim like this.

When one orders a reproduction soundboard decal for a Steinway piano, Decals Unlimited includes a disclosure that warns the purchaser they must not affix this decal to any non-Steinway origin or original part. Many rebuilders do not accept these terms, but no cases against them have ever been brought as far as I know.

Steinway can believe and promote that only they are capable of restoring a Steinway to original intent, but the evidence amply shows otherwise. Steinway does not have exclusive rights to rebuild Steinway pianos and I very much doubt they want to sacrifice the lucrative parts business they have supplying rebuilders by eliminating this part of their business.

So the company push on the decal issue looks very much like an attempt to restrain trade, but not a clear cut case. They have to weigh whether the bad press and possibility a case may be strong enough to gain court acceptance and thus open the door to discovery is worth the effort.

Rebuilders may abandon all Steinway part purchases as a way to retaliate. There are many outside parts available for Steinway pianos now, and this may grow because of this stance.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: ando] #2743272
06/09/18 06:18 PM
06/09/18 06:18 PM
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London
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
While I too join the chorus of those criticizing Steinway's many marketing ploys,

However I must admit, as a marketing consultant specializing on marketing pianos in North America, I only wish I could claim to be the creator of Steinway's marketing over the past 100 years.

A real pain in the ass....but none the less brilliant.

You gotta hand it to them.


There might be some aspects of brilliance at Steinway, but this particular aspect is not: In fact, I don't think it even fits under the banner of marketing. It's intimidatory, anti-competitive, and according to DanS' post above, possibly even illegal (right to repair, restraint of trade etc).

One thing's for sure, if I ever get my inherited Steinway K refinished, I will not be sending it across the Pacific Ocean to have Steinway apply one of their fancy stickers. I will source one myself. They don't even have a refurbishing centre on my continent. I think that exemplifies the silliness of all this.

I agree 100%.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2743282
06/09/18 07:19 PM
06/09/18 07:19 PM
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Up until a few years ago Steinway was a publicly traded Company and you could buy their stock on the open market but was bought out by an investment banking firm. Could this have anything to do with it? Maybe the new owners have their eyes more focused on legal matters than before?

Steve


Bösendorfer 170
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2744286
06/14/18 12:38 AM
06/14/18 12:38 AM
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I would be surprised if Steinway was concerned about their reputation with people who aren't paying Steinway for Steinway stuff. And Steinway doesn't have to absorb the entirety of all rebuilding to come out ahead. They only need to increase their rebuilding to come out ahead. And if others can't put accurate looking decals on their Steinway rebuilds, then some number of on-the-fence people will take the plunge and go through Steinway.

Restricting the supply of decals in this way will push the value of Steinways upward by restricting the number of "Steinways" in the marketplace. In that their biggest competitor is existing Steinways, restricting access to the decals will limit that competition, lower the supply of complementary products in the marketplace, and increase the value of everything going through the official Steinway pipeline, new, rebuilt or second hand.

BTW, I see this strategy also increasing the value of older Baldwin Artist models. smile


if you're content with A V E R A G E . . . then just do what everyone else does
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2744532
06/14/18 09:16 PM
06/14/18 09:16 PM
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As I understand it, DU had a license from Steinway to reproduce decals. Presumably, DU paid for that license in some way (royalties or otherwise). That’s because the decal was of Steinway intellectual property. Based on what I read here, it seems that Steinway is not renewing their license.

I didn’t see anyone say that Steinway is prohibiting anyone from repairing, rebuilding, or restoring a Steinway, or from even referring it to a Steinway once re-(whatever)ed.

I just saw that Steinway is not renewing thei decal vendor’s license.

That’s certainly within their rights, and doesn’t restrict trade or violate right-to-repair laws or anything. It just prevents someone from reproducing their intellectual property (the decal).

Personally, I think that if as a side-effect of this, piano rebuilders started labeling rebuilds with *their name* as someone suggested above (i.e. Steinway & Sons Model X, rebuild by Company Y), then I’d think that the quality rebuilders would be happy. Prohibited from getting replica decals, they would instead have the opportunity to put their name on the fall board next to Steinway’s, and be known for the quality work that they do, even as their rebuild is resold.

(Now if Steinway were to push to prohibit you from even calling it a Steinway once you’ve done a certain amount of work to it, well, that’s a bigger problem.)

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: NYSteve] #2744713
06/15/18 03:45 PM
06/15/18 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NYSteve

(Now if Steinway were to push to prohibit you from even calling it a Steinway once you’ve done a certain amount of work to it, well, that’s a bigger problem.)


The name Steinway is cast into the plate, so the piano will always say Steinway. It's just a matter of whether it's on the call board or not.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2744730
06/15/18 05:33 PM
06/15/18 05:33 PM
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Steinway currently sells standard and "historic" decals (solid brass). True, they are not identical to the old ones, but I suspect they will ultimately say that these are what SHOULD go on the fallboard, so buy them from the parts dept. In theory, this is what THEY would put on if THEY were restoring it, regardless of the age.

Unfortunately it requires much more work to put these on. Oh well...

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: P W Grey] #2746349
06/22/18 01:04 PM
06/22/18 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Steinway currently sells standard and "historic" decals (solid brass). True, they are not identical to the old ones, but I suspect they will ultimately say that these are what SHOULD go on the fallboard, so buy them from the parts dept. In theory, this is what THEY would put on if THEY were restoring it, regardless of the age.

Unfortunately it requires much more work to put these on. Oh well...

Pwg


This is incorrect. The Steinway restoration department purchases their vintage style decals from Decals Unlimited. Including the sound board decals. The only brass ones I have seen and have used are the current design.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: NYSteve] #2746433
06/22/18 10:56 PM
06/22/18 10:56 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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When one receives a reproduction Steinway soundboard decal from Decals Unlimited, it comes with a proviso that the user agrees not to affix this decal on any non-original Steinway part. This is not enforceable and begins to look like restraint of trade.

The only way Steinway could claim trademark fraud would be if the maker of the new soundboard in a used Steinway were to imply that it was a Steinway made soundboard.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746437
06/22/18 11:32 PM
06/22/18 11:32 PM
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NY, Manhattan and Dumbo/Brookl...
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Nobody has mentioned yet what the DU reproductions look like: Bumper stickers! And the historical ones look like cheap kitsch. It is time that finally someone starts a high resolution production with good color fidelity....Alternatively it would be great if a method could be developed to protect the beautiful originals during refinishing.

Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Klavimaniac] #2746440
06/22/18 11:50 PM
06/22/18 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Klavimaniac
Alternatively it would be great if a method could be developed to protect the beautiful originals during refinishing.

That might be necessary if replacements aren't available. frown


if you're content with A V E R A G E . . . then just do what everyone else does
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746441
06/22/18 11:51 PM
06/22/18 11:51 PM
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Lots of wishful thinking in this thread. I'd hate to be the first "test case" to land in the crosshairs of Steinway's lawyers...


if you're content with A V E R A G E . . . then just do what everyone else does
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746446
06/23/18 12:55 AM
06/23/18 12:55 AM
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One thing to remember about the old Steinway soundboard decals is, Steinway quit using them after WW1. They dropped using that part of their "trademark" so to speak for some 90 years. They only started using them again in response to the commercial pressure of their competitors who rebuild old Steinway pianos.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746447
06/23/18 12:57 AM
06/23/18 12:57 AM
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There is a lot of useless speculating on this topic. But Steinway definitely has the right to protect its trademarks. If someone decides to manufacture pianos and put Steinway decals on them, no doubt Steinway will stop them. If someone makes decals and sells them to John Public so they can put them on any piano, they can stop that, just as Rolls Royce stopped the people who were making trunk lids for Volkswagen Beetles that were in the shape of the Rolls grille.

This is no more "restraint of trade" than the person who patents the Whiz-bang Triplex Stringing keeping others from using it without permission, paid or otherwise, as long as the patent is valid. But if someone uses it without permission, or if someone who has permission is using it in a way that the patent holder does not want it to be used, the patent holder would have to take positive action to stop it. That may restrain trade, but it is not legal restraint of trade.


Semipro Tech
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Retsacnal] #2746468
06/23/18 05:28 AM
06/23/18 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Lots of wishful thinking in this thread. I'd hate to be the first "test case" to land in the crosshairs of Steinway's lawyers...

There are a couple of piano restoration houses in the UK who will happily fit new piano technology on anythng that isn't a S&S, because they fear those cross-hairs. There are so many good pianos in the UK of every make screaming out for rebuilding, that there's no need to accept a job that may get the unwanted attention of lawyers.


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: BDB] #2746509
06/23/18 10:42 AM
06/23/18 10:42 AM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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BDB, But when a trademark holder stops using a trademark and they don't defend it in court when others start "using" it; they lose ownership. Same as with patents.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2746517
06/23/18 11:24 AM
06/23/18 11:24 AM
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Trademarks expire after 10 years unless they are renewed. I am sure Steinway has done this many times.


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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746529
06/23/18 12:34 PM
06/23/18 12:34 PM
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I don't claim to be an expert on Trademarks. I know that they can be graphic or written. It's easy to search the trademark database online:

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/

Age and style of decals aside, Steinway has an active live word mark on "Steinway." My understanding is that means that they own the right to say who can use "Steinway" on what, when and where. I'm pretty sure that they've never stopped using the word "Steinway."

I can see a reasonable rationale for restoring an existing physical instance of the trademark which they produced. Producing your own new instances of the Steinway trademark is likely a very different thing altogether. Clearly, DU had to have a license to do so, and they apparently will no longer have a license to do so.

One may argue, "you're restraining me from using your trademark." I suspect that their answer will be, "yes, we are."


if you're content with A V E R A G E . . . then just do what everyone else does
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746540
06/23/18 01:41 PM
06/23/18 01:41 PM
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But we can make our own.

If I meticulously paint over the shadow marks from the original decal when I refinish the fallboard (to restore what was there originally), am I infringing on Steinway' trademark?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746559
06/23/18 03:11 PM
06/23/18 03:11 PM
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Don’t know what to make of this. There must be more to this than we have be told about.
The tone of this thread is that Steinway Is trying to to stop or make it harder to rebuild old Steinways so as to not have competion for the new piano. Yet as far as I know they will sell you ( not cheaply) just about every part that goes into a Steinway for rebuilding except the plate and soundboard including the logo but in brass inlay. That doesn’t sound like a company that is trying to restrict rebuilding. That sounds like a company knowing they can make a lot of money selling expensive parts. Now if they were to cut off the selling of “Genuine Steinway Parts” to us all that would be a bold move that would tell us something.

What I know Steinway is trying to stop is people in the trade using the Steinway name in thier websites and advertising. You see companies list the pianos brands that have for sale and you see Steinway listed because it is a draw.. Maybe you see a little asterisk that takes you to a tiny word hidden in the add that says “ used”.

Also techs advertise that they are “Steinway Trained”or “Steinway Certified” for the sole reason to imply their rebuilding shop is some how connected to the factory. The people who post on this list seem to be above doing this but there are shady techs and stores out there that will and I think that’s who Steinway is going after. How this thing with Decals Unlimited fits into all this I don’t know.

Last edited by Larry Hofer; 06/23/18 03:21 PM.

Larry Hofer
Hofer Piano Works
Corona CA
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746570
06/23/18 04:09 PM
06/23/18 04:09 PM
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Well, remember that back in the early Teflon days, Steinway made the decision to keep everything proprietary. Whoever was responsible for THAT decision probably regretted it later, yet the damage was done. Protectionism only works up to a point.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746579
06/23/18 04:58 PM
06/23/18 04:58 PM
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There are probably several thousand instances where non-company rebuilders installed the soundboard decal on a new soundboard of their own manufacture in the past and as far as I know the company has never attempted to enforce the copyright claim. Some of these pianos were sold by Steinway dealers in the past. I doubt if Decals Unlimited needs permission from Baldwin or Chickering or Bechstein to sell soundboard decals for rebuilt pianos to rebuilders.

Just because Rolls Royce can stop someone from selling a Rolls Royce logo to be installed on non Rolls vehicles does not mean they can stop someone from selling reproduction logos for old R.R. Decals Unlimited is selling reproduction soundboard decals to be used to restore the appearance to original. It is a finishing detail, Steinway does not own the original appearance of the soundboard.

And companies are limited in how many copyright versions of trademarks are allowed. Steinway stopped using the soundboard decal and that ends control except when someone claims the work was done by Steinway. Steinway cannot claim damages to their copyright because someone restores the original look to an old piano unless they believe the copyright entitles them to "own" the exclusive right to rebuild Steinway pianos. That claim would most certainly be considered a restraint of trade.

There have been all sorts of Technicians who describe themselves as "Steinway Technicians" in advertising who do not work for the company. This is a fraud that the company should stop tech's from engaging in.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746595
06/23/18 06:42 PM
06/23/18 06:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,530
New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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P W Grey  Offline
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New Hampshire
So I wonder if, when I wear my "Steinway & Sons" work apron (which would imply to any innocent onlookers that I was an "authorized" Steinway technician, unless of course they specifically ask me: "Have you been trained at the Steinway factory and been sent out by Steinway?"), would I then be infringing on Steinway' s trademark (even though THEY [Steinway] sold me the apron) since I have not been "authorized" by Steinway to officially represent them?

Hmmm.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2746612
06/23/18 08:13 PM
06/23/18 08:13 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,376
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents apply to different concepts, and they confer different rights.


Semipro Tech
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: BDB] #2746618
06/23/18 09:32 PM
06/23/18 09:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 625
Wisconsin, USA
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Lakeviewsteve Offline
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Lakeviewsteve  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 625
Wisconsin, USA
Originally Posted by BDB
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents apply to different concepts, and they confer different rights.


I totally agree. Maybe the current owner of Steinway since 2013, Mr. Paulson's hedge fund takes intellectual property more seriously than prior management.


Bösendorfer 170
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: pianoloverus] #2746640
06/24/18 01:55 AM
06/24/18 01:55 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,608
Bulgaria
PhilipInChina Offline
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PhilipInChina  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,608
Bulgaria
I would be very wary of expressing any opinion on law on a forum. I would be even more wary of following advice given on a general forum.

Actually none of this matters to me as I am a sovereingn citizen and as such no laws apply to me.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Problem getting Steinway fallboard and soundboard decals? [Re: PhilipInChina] #2746735
06/24/18 02:17 PM
06/24/18 02:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 625
Wisconsin, USA
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Lakeviewsteve Offline
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Lakeviewsteve  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 625
Wisconsin, USA
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
I would be very wary of expressing any opinion on law on a forum. I would be even more wary of following advice given on a general forum.

Actually none of this matters to me as I am a sovereingn citizen and as such no laws apply to me.


What is a sovereingn citizen?

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 06/24/18 02:19 PM.

Bösendorfer 170
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