The legitimacy of a trademark on an opensource design

We all know that something has to change and need to prevent progress from being stopped. Facts ,opinions and what you have experienced.


Really?? :confused: What sort of designs is he talking about? Haven’t heard anything about this before

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This topic will be closed temporarily while I move the previous discussion here.

Yeah wtf, he just now mentioned that after you’ve finalized everything pretty much and already sent units out? Gdmf… Heaven forbid we find a way around having to pay like $300 for one single VESC 6, using open sourced information…

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In the EU a design right is granted on products you publish or place on the market. Since a product with a certain design is associated by users with a certain brand or quality this makes sense. A copy tries to make use of a design and the associated reputation that has been build up by someone else. The customer gets the impression he could get the same product/quality from a different source, or he gets confused about the origin of the design. Reading through this thread you will quickly get the point.

I did not threaten stiwii, I informed him about the fact, that we took care of the matter last year and that a straight copy clashes with our IP in the EU. I did that before he invests into stock that might breach our IP. I would say its better to be informed about facts, so that you can act accordingly and judge yourself if your design is far enough apart from the original to stay on the legal side. That is up to him to decide.

There are many ways to design a HW 6 based ESC. Why copy an existing design that is associated with another brand? Everyone complains about Chinese copy cats, taking advantage of other persons designs and offering clone products soon after the original design is placed on the market. I can see the same thing happening here.

The way we designed the Vesc Six is one of many many options. If you plan to make your own ESC, simply get inventive and choose a different design. It should not be to much of a job. Focbox, esk8 1.1, vesc six and all the custom builds we see on this forum are prime examples of different designs, housing similar technology. Each design is associated with a different brand. This is how things should be! Legislation in the EU clearly states that designs should differ. And there are good reasons that your design/IP is granted protection. IP protects your invest into your developments and makes sure that customers aren’t fooled around.

Tesla open sourced their patents, but that doesn’t mean you can build a car, looking the same. You can make use of the technology to build your very own car, featuring your own design. Open Source doesn’t necessarily mean copy paste.

My advice is: Get inventive and design something that people can associate with your brand/identity. If you copy a product you are not seen as the originator and that impression will stick to “your product” like chewing gum in hairs. It doesn’t work in your favor to sell a straight copy of someone elses achievements.



Which specific design elements are protected, any examples?

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stewii’s hardware design is different some features and components of the vesc 6.4 have been removed some other components have been changed the pcb is different dimensions cause it is not the same the form factor is also different different name…

no “straight copy”

As far as this concept of people thinking the products are similar they are both using the same opensource software, as long as stewii gives credit where and how it needs to be due…


Nothing “specific”, to be specific there would need to be a patent. No patent, only a trademark on a mark other vendors were already using in the marketplace.

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I’m just trying to figure out “what” is protected

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His design is different. You do not get to threaten a member of the forum for owning a design pattent on “a box with wires and connectors”. Good luck with selling the vesc six if you don’t have the good will of the forum where the vesc gained it’s popularity.

Lower the price of the vesc 6 and you will find alot of people buying your version. Don’t go after members of the forum offering affordable alternatives, it’s that simple.


Hey guys… before this thread become shit storm. Maybe we should all take a look at the original vesc 6.0 thread and compare the picture of vedder Original design

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The sensor port is in diff location and the ESCape has a voltage selection switch for sensors, those are just 2 quick differences I noticed Also all the connectors are orientated the opposite direction


From vedders own page: he states his vesc project is a opensource esc, software and hardware. How has that changed? If that is the case just need to credit vedder and jump through the few OS hoops?

right at the top of vedders own forum his intention is made clear:

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Here comes Trampa shitstorm again. There is a whole post about the VESC6 trademark and there was not a single mention of hardware design and etc. There are no patents based on the aluminum box with PCB cover so I don’t see any problems at all. I can make one on one design without any VESC mention and use my own firmware with software and as there is no trademark/patent/license involved it shouldn’t be a problem.


You are precisely right.

This is not true. First, designs in the EU do not exist as of use (unlike a trademark, which does not require a registration). They need to be registered. In the UK and all over the EU. See here;

Second, a registered design covers the esthetic aspect of an object, not its functionality. PCBs have nothing esthetic. Even if you attempted, you’d be very hard pressed to register a design on a PCB. Unless the physical PCB had the shape of a skull or a skateboard, then you might. Here, it’s a square. So none of that.

This is not quite right either. What you’re referring to here is passing off, which is a trademark concept. And the end goal of a passing off lawsuit is always to attempt to show that the infringer is attempting to pass off his products as being the same source as the rightful owner of the trademark. Here, @stewii is not attempting to pass of his VESC as Trampa’s. Unless I am mistaken, everyone on this thread is very clear that Trampa is not associated with @stewii. The is no confusion as to the source of @stewii’s VESCs.

The only IP I see is the copyright in the printed circuit board itself, which belongs to its original author. And if that author did not do it from scratch (and he used for examples some little bits and pieces from different PCBs all over the place), then there might be many authors to the copyright. And to infringe copyright, you need to show that a substantial portion of your copyright has been infringed. Very hard thing to do. Nobody has a monopoly on the Moby Dick story.

So, unless you have a registered right (which only protects you for the country in which the right is registered, there is no such thing as a worldwide patent for example. It’s always per country) in a specific given country, you have no leg to stand on in terms of enforcing IP rights.

Full disc; I run at night and am patent lawyer by day.


I’ve sided with you so many times, Frank, but this sounds to me like Apple patenting rounded edges. BV has specifically allowed others to produce and sell hardware based on his hardware design. So I don’t think you can “inform” anyone that they can’t do that.

Source: BV on his forum:

They already violate several OS license from other libraries they use in their project so it is funny to see how they threaten others then they don’t keep up with their problems themselves :wink:

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Bam a quote from the vedder himself. This is an obvious attempt to scare away legitimate competition.

Fair use of a trademark does not exist. Fair use is a concept associated with copyright (which allows you, for example, to make copies of pages of a book at a university library and not get sued by the author - that is fair use for academic purposes). Vedder is not well counselled and this is precisely why his trademark gets weaker everyday that passes. These concepts are all very specific and you need advice by professionals if you start venturing into IP enforcement and protection.


I would be very interested in seeing the letter that Trampa sent you if you wouldn’t mind sending me a copy.

I have an attorney that I havenoaid a significant sum to look at the so called trademark and fair use rights that Trampa/Frank claims. It’s all a bunch of smoke, no substance. I was waiting for the Trampa boot before I released the info, I may go ahead and do that.

Anyways, I would very much like to show a copy of this letter to my attorney. Thanks