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API TRADEMARKS SIGNATURE KNOB Dynamics Plugins
Old 14th February 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
API Sez...'s Avatar
API TRADEMARKS SIGNATURE KNOB

JESSUP, MARYLAND – FEBRUARY 2008: Now approaching its 40th year of designing and building high-end analog consoles and outboard processors, API announced that it has been granted a trademark for its signature dual-concentric knob. Trademark for the knob, which graces every piece of API gear, and is immediately recognizable as the “look” of API, was issued on January 1, 2008. Just as API’s trademark of its logo prevents other companies from copying its design, API’s trademark of its knob prevents other companies from copying the knob’s distinctive look.

The API knob has been in use by the company for decades, so why did API move to protect it now? Explained Larry Droppa, president of API, “We secured the trademark primarily to protect our loyal customers, and to remove the temptation from other manufacturers to confuse the marketplace by copying or approximating the API look. We felt it was especially important to protect API now, given the many studios and engineers investing in API equipment based on its distinct sound and reputation for excellence.”

While trademarks for logos can be relatively easy to get, trademarks for shape or form are generally not. However, in some instances, the look of a product is integral to its function and may convey information about the brand that is just as potent as the brand’s trademark. The most famous example of this concept is the trademarked shape of a Coca-Cola bottle. In the pro audio world, the “API knob” is analogous to the Coca-Cola bottle. Even with the API logo covered up, knowledgeable engineers recognize API gear by the knobs alone.

API’s legal team proved to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the API knob deserved protection, partly by submitting letters from users, dealers, and even two major competitors who testified to the knob’s unmistakable connection to API. “With the trademark in place,” added Droppa, “users can be assured of the integrity of our brand. The API look means the API sound, and the API sound continues to mean absolutely stunning audio.”

Automated Processes, Inc. remains the leader in analog recording gear, with the Vision surround production and Legacy Series recording consoles, the DSM Series rack-mounted mixers, and the classic line of modular signal processing equipment.
Attached Thumbnails
API TRADEMARKS SIGNATURE KNOB-api_knob.jpg  
Old 14th February 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
el cochino's Avatar
 

I love the looks and feel of these knobs. And what they do to my audio when I twist them, of course. heh
Old 14th February 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
drew's Avatar
ahh, Behringer proofing. Hope it works!!
Old 14th February 2008
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Jay-'s Avatar
Im happy to report that I can afford that knob.

How soon till the knobs start shipping?

Old 14th February 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
emkay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
Im happy to report that I can afford that knob.

How soon till the knobs start shipping?


great one! LOL!
Old 14th February 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

This may explain why the (quite excellent-sounding) API-style EQ plugin from URS now suddenly looks positively awful.

-- c
Old 14th February 2008
  #7
Lives for gear
 
severe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
This may explain why the (quite excellent-sounding) API-style EQ plugin from URS now suddenly looks positively awful.

-- c
Wooah!!

Agreed. So this includes digital renderings as well?

Yikes.
Old 14th February 2008
  #8
everything is affectd.

also replacement for knobs might get a lot more expensive. but let's see what happens.

cheers
Old 14th February 2008
  #9
t_d
Lives for gear
 
t_d's Avatar
congrats API... i've always thought their knobs were the coolest looking.. partial influenced the purchase of my 5500 :D
Old 14th February 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
s.d.finley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
Im happy to report that I can afford that knob.

How soon till the knobs start shipping?

LMFAO!!

I think I can afford maybe 4 of them!

Old 15th February 2008
  #11
Gear Nut
 
inayat's Avatar
 

Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
Im happy to report that I can afford that knob.

How soon till the knobs start shipping?

I think, you get the best results buying more than one knob.
Old 15th February 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by API Sez... View Post
Trademark for the knob, which graces every piece of API gear
my 560s don't have them. can they be upgraded? how much?
Old 15th February 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drew View Post
ahh, Behringer proofing. Hope it works!!

But you know it won't- they'll change it up just enough..
Old 18th February 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 

It's a beautiful knob!
Old 18th February 2008
  #15
Led
Lives for gear
 
Led's Avatar
Weren't those knobs originally made by a third party? I'm sure I've seen some other vintage gear that uses them , or something very similar. Could have been Olive maybe?
Old 21st February 2008
  #16
Good for you, Larry. This kind of thing wouldn't be needed if people wouldn't try to hook onto the heals of other's successes. When a product is identified from a distance and cannot be mistaken as something else, it implies that it belongs to the owners.

The URS plug in took the knob and the font (which never existed as a commercial font) and placed it on their own product. Everyone then says "did you see the API plug in by URS". That is why there are trademark laws. It is also clear that the new knob they replaced the API knob look with is not very attractive, which proves that they couldn't come up with something as cool or as recognizable, something that would say "this is ours".

For those who might think that this is not a retroactive thing, when you are the only one using a mark or look in commerce, you get common-law protection. You extend it formally with an actual government document, but it is not free to copy just because it isn't trademarked.

Most of us try to identify our own products by our look and sound. When I started Tonelux, I wanted to become my own look, and did not want to hook on the heels of API. They had a rich history, well deserved, i carried the torch and it was time for someone else to do that, I sold it, I didn't own it and had no right to imply my look like it. That is why I went with black round knobs, gold pointers, greenish panels, red and black lettering, 1" centers, custom molded switch buttons, a class A op-amp, a round op-amp case, tone, etc. No one has ever said "that looks like API" or "that sounds like API". I am happy, they are happy, we each have a direction that defines our products. It took a took of work and expense to do it, but like I said that is theirs, this is mine. We compete, but don't clone. What a concept.

And as I said, if everyone did their own thing, we wouldn't need to patent and trademark everything, which is why, I might add, is one more reason stuff like this costs more than a copy.
Old 21st February 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Jazzpunk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
This may explain why the (quite excellent-sounding) API-style EQ plugin from URS now suddenly looks positively awful.

-- c
That's awesome! I've long held that the GUI has a huge influence over how people perceive the sound of a plug in.

Good for API!
Old 21st February 2008
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
This may explain why the (quite excellent-sounding) API-style EQ plugin from URS now suddenly looks positively awful.

-- c
So does this mean that the vintage knob version of the software is going to skyrocket in price because of its desirability?
Old 21st February 2008
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
API Sez...'s Avatar
Yes

Thanks Lynn.

We hope so - that will mean the payout for damages will be higher also!!
Old 21st February 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Love the API Knobs for hardware but on the software side they are fiddle and annoying.
Old 21st February 2008
  #21
What about Waves' API collection? I looked there and the pictures of the knob are still the same. Was that a licensing deal? I guess since they also use the name API prominently, it must be.
Old 21st February 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 
azwun25's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
What about Waves' API collection? I looked there and the pictures of the knob are still the same. Was that a licensing deal? I guess since they also use the name API prominently, it must be.
it was licensed from API.
Old 23rd February 2008
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
it was licensed from API.
...as were their SSL plugins, which not coincidentally look like SSL consoles. Not so for their Neve plugins, though, which not coincidentally don't look like Neve consoles (although they did when they first announced them)...
Old 23rd February 2008
  #24
Gear Maniac
Yeah, i love API products a these knobs.
Old 28th July 2018
  #25
Lives for gear
 
jsvalmont's Avatar
I’m curious, what’s the patent number for this?
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