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The End of the Neve Clones!!!! Channel Strips
Old 16th October 2005
  #1
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The End of the Neve Clones!!!!

As Jules posted in another thread, AMS/ Neve may be preparing to take action against all of the clone manufacturer's...
Old 16th October 2005
  #2
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
As Jules posted in another thread, AMS/ Neve may be preparing to take action against all of the clone manufacturer's...

I wonder what sort of action? And what would be considered a clone?

Old 16th October 2005
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
I wonder what sort of action? And what would be considered a clone?
Legal action...

I'm guessing anything that utilizes a Neve design as part of their product. That's a lot of products..
Old 16th October 2005
  #4
Gear Guru
 

I can certainly see how these companies could be forced to stop using the N word in their advertising, but aren't all of them a little bit 'off' in terms of parts/materials? Would that be enough to save them from lawsuits? How broad is the protection for a circuit design?
Old 16th October 2005
  #5
Sounds like a battle royale maybe in the works then, eh?

Fire up the hibachi, crack open a cold one, sit back and relax as we watch the fireworks.



Old 16th October 2005
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont

I'm guessing anything that utilizes a Neve design as part of their product. That's a lot of products..

This is tough to know where you draw the line. I would think this might only apply to something like a Brent Averill that uses the actual Neve parts.
Old 16th October 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
This is tough to know where you draw the line. I would think this might only apply to something like a Brent Averill that uses the actual Neve parts.
I think it could be much farther reaching than that.... This is pure specualtion, but I think they could go after the companies who utilize Neve designs in their products.

BAE, Chandler, Vintech, Chameleon Labs, Wunder(?), Dan Alexander, Shep, Resolution Audio and many others all use designs based on Neve circuits utilizing the BA283 card.

Carnhill might even be in trouble, because the L01166 transformer is a Neve design....

This could change the landscape of products that utilize that transformer...

Whether AMS/ Neve actually does anything remains to be seen, but the idea is thought provoking...
Old 16th October 2005
  #8
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Interesting, just as Jules post was...but I sure wonder how far reaching it could be. Have any of the manufacturers been "served"? That would be interesting info!

Think about how many companies have based their whole operation around cloning the old Neve stuff. I'd like to hear from one of those guys, until we can get one of them to speak up here I will try and stay out of all the speculation.

I'd like those guys to step forward and tell us their thoughts, and why they might or might not be looking at legal troubles.

War
Old 16th October 2005
  #9
IMHO!

Seems to be moot or rather late, the new Portico at about $1500 sounds and works enuff like the real deal to not warrant buying expensive clones that are all over. Even the TapeOp review this month pretty much said the same thing.

I mean if I wanted Neve sound I sure wouldn't buy any expensive older unit or modern clone when I can get the same sound for less and new with a warranty. The high pass on the Portico rocks not to mention the silk button.

Bob
Old 16th October 2005
  #10
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I am NOT a lawyer...but...

I think if these rumors are true, they won't stand a chance...Look at the guitar industry: how many Strat and Tele clones are there? I believe the copyright infringement only comes to play when the visual AND performance aspects of gear was obviously designed to be an imitation, with or without intent to deceive...

Anyone remember the "Fedner" guitars? THAT was a copyright infringement on design.... The (fill in every guitar maker on Earth) version of the Telecaster or Strat is not, even though the parts are 100% interchangeable with the originals...

It will be interesting to watch, nonetheless....

K
Old 16th October 2005
  #11
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Maybe this is just a warning shot across the nose of every design, current and future, to at least curb the amount of clones hitting the market.

War
Old 16th October 2005
  #12
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwy
Sounds like a battle royale maybe in the works then, eh?

Fire up the hibachi, crack open a cold one, sit back and relax as we watch the fireworks.



I'm reserving the high-dollar stuff for watching Apple vs Apple, but this should be fun, too.

Also, the title of the thread implies that the clones are gonna go away; I think it'll just be a naming game, but then, I'm not a lawyer.
Old 16th October 2005
  #13
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Does anybody have an accurate idea as to the longevity of proprietary curcuit design as intellectual property?

Surely any given curcuit has a limited degree of possible components and configurations?

I mean.. if this is a winable civil suit, Uli Behringer is boned.
Old 16th October 2005
  #14
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The portico is nothing like a vintage NEVE. A great little unit, but no 10 series.
As for any lawsuits, Neve probably shouldn't have been saying that "hey, these clones are nothing like the real ones we now make" When your company states that the clones are not "clones' it's kind of hard to go back and sue them.

Aaron Householter
studio1117
Old 16th October 2005
  #15
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cdog's Avatar
They would be better off spending that war chest on marketing their new line of stuff rather than fight over a dozen extremely costly, time consuming legal battles.

Old 16th October 2005
  #16
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They might stand a chance against a certain plugin company.....
Old 16th October 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinderArts
They might stand a chance against a certain plugin company.....
Why, Neve never made plugins?
Old 16th October 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studio1117
As for any lawsuits, Neve probably shouldn't have been saying that "hey, these clones are nothing like the real ones we now make" When your company states that the clones are not "clones' it's kind of hard to go back and sue them.

Aaron Householter
studio1117
Great Point.

They really have no need to do so at this point.

The new Neve's are getting rave reviews at a slightly higher price than the clones.

There's really no market for any more clones so the market has been set.

Most of the clones could stop using the Neve name and still be successful from now on.

They would use words like "vintage N series" and than Neve wouldn't be getting all the free publicity.

The only reason Neve reissued the line was because the clones did the research for them. They proved that there was a market. So Neve jumped in.

I think it was just a way for Neve to get more publicity and remind everyone that they are making them again.
Old 16th October 2005
  #19
Gear Nut
 

AFAIK, there is no "copyright" type protection for circuit design. The only protections are for things that are patented. For this to be a successful suit, it would have to go beyond circuit copying to the overall design, ie. circuit layout, transformer specs. Products that are exact clones may have difficulty trying to prove that they developed them on their own.

How many guitar distortion pedals are wholely original designs?
Old 17th October 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midlandmorgan
Look at the guitar industry: how many Strat and Tele clones are there? I believe the copyright infringement only comes to play when the visual AND performance aspects of gear was obviously designed to be an imitation, with or without intent to deceive...
Didn't Gibson just successfully sue Paul Reed Smith to stop making the Singlecut model, an instrument whose visual and performance aspects resembled a Les Paul only to a blind & deaf non-musician?
Old 17th October 2005
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
As Jules posted in another thread, AMS/ Neve may be preparing to take action against all of the clone manufacturer's...

Is there anything patented, or patentable, in a Neve preamp? I doubt it. If there is they might have a case but I can't think of a single thing in them that would be. Maybe in the marketing angle they have a case, not in the electronics.
Old 17th October 2005
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by h2000
AFAIK, there is no "copyright" type protection for circuit design. The only protections are for things that are patented. For this to be a successful suit, it would have to go beyond circuit copying to the overall design, ie. circuit layout, transformer specs. Products that are exact clones may have difficulty trying to prove that they developed them on their own.

How many guitar distortion pedals are wholely original designs?
Patents on electronic circuits are "extremely" difficult to get. AFAIK there is nothing unique about the circuitry of Neve pre's, they are pretty much textbook amplifer circuits at face value.Neve copied them from someone else, and tweeked them till he got them to sound the way he wanted them to sound.
Old 17th October 2005
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Didn't Gibson just successfully sue Paul Reed Smith to stop making the Singlecut model, an instrument whose visual and performance aspects resembled a Les Paul only to a blind & deaf non-musician?
They did, but Paul Reed Smith kept appealing, and just last month prevailed, legally and in the realm of common sense and decency.

"In a long-pending trademark dispute between PRS Guitars and Gibson Guitars Corp., the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today reversed a lower court decision and ordered the dismissal of Gibson's suit against PRS. The decision also immediately vacates the injunction prohibiting the sale and production of PRS’s award winning Singlecut® Guitar. Paul Reed Smith Guitars announced today that it will immediately resume production of its Singlecut® guitars."

Full Press Release from PRS here...

http://www.prsguitars.com/news/stori...5_victory.html

As for Fender, the lawsuit and challenge that they won pertained to the headstock of the Tele and Strat, not the body style.

-g
Old 17th October 2005
  #24
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Many of the actual Neve circuits are "patented" or "copywritten" and have been since the 1970's... I don't know the exact term you would use for audio circuits, but I believe it is "registered copyright"???
Old 17th October 2005
  #25
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Clones

I just wanted to chime in as Wunder was mentioned above as a Neve clone (to be fair he did put a ?). We try to describe our website and with our "we are not a Neve clone" sign at the AES show that we are not a Neve clone. For two years now I would be talking to a client at the AES explaining how we are totally different from a Neve in the type of transformers, number of gain stages, amount of input gain, EQ boost and cut, phase shift, turns ratios, saturation, Total Circuit design etc. and then the client says to me with a blank stare and says "so is this a 1073 clone?"
We did start out with the PEQ1 which is the same shape as a 1073 but that was because I wanted to replace my forty eight 1073/1084's with them to load up my console. I have always thought that if I didn't have my console, I would have never made the modules or even started Wunder. The funny thing is I only wanted my console loaded with them and never though of manufacturing any for sale until I was convinced that if we were to tool up for them we should make at least 100 to get the per unit cost down as I insisted on using the most expensive parts the cost was getting pretty high.
I guess if I was a manufacturer first and not a console owner the unit would have only come out in the 19" PEQ1R and the 1073 confusion wouldn't have ever happened.
Old 17th October 2005
  #26
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Unless Neve is actively producing those select Neve pres/eq's that others are cloning, I don't see how their could be legal ground to stand upon.

It's not like a Neve cloning business is stealing business away from Neve designs by manufacturing a Neve Portico knockoff. Most are trying to recreate the older designs that Rupert Neve has long since abandoned.
Old 17th October 2005
  #27
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Patent duration in the USA is 14 years from grant for a design patent and 20 years for a utility patent. A patent cannot be renewed. After a patent expires, anyone may use the invention without the inventor's permission.

Utility Patents: Most common patent -- for machines, articles of manufacture, composition of matter, and methods of making and doing things. Animal patents fall within this category.

Design Patents: This patent protects only the ornamental appearance of the device. A very simple application to fill out because there is only one claim.

Info from: http://www.clemson.edu/research/ottS...ectPatents.htm

I believe the Neve 1073 came out in 1970. I don't know any specifics as to patents on it but it's been out way more than 14 to 20 years.
Old 17th October 2005
  #28
84K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
I think it could be much farther reaching than that.... This is pure specualtion, but I think they could go after the companies who utilize Neve designs in their products. BAE, Chandler, Vintech, Chameleon Labs, Wunder(?), Dan Alexander, Shep, Resolution Audio and many others all use designs based on Neve circuits utilizing the BA283 card.

Neve has a few secrets to their transformers that are different from the generic designs that everyone else uses.

Shep Associates had (?... don't know if they still have it??) a licensing agreement with Neve. They were privy to the "secret" transformer recipe that only the authentic Neves and the new reissues have.
Old 17th October 2005
  #29
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier777c
Unless Neve is actively producing those select Neve pres/eq's that others are cloning, I don't see how their could be legal ground to stand upon.

It's not like a Neve cloning business is stealing business away from Neve designs by manufacturing a Neve Portico knockoff. Most are trying to recreate the older designs that Rupert Neve has long since abandoned.

I think you have it backwards. It's not Rupert Neve that is looking to sue.

It is AMS - Neve that would sue as they have re-issued the old pre's that everyone has copied.
Old 17th October 2005
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher
I think you have it backwards. It's not Rupert Neve that is looking to sue.

It is AMS - Neve that would sue as they have re-issued the old pre's that everyone has copied.

Oh, oops. Sorry. I misread.

Carry on . . .
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