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Cloning a boat, is it legal?
By:Edgar Kleindinst
Date: 8/21/1998, 2:01 pm

I was wondering about the legality of copying a commercially built kayak and making a modified woodstrip version for personal use.

This came up when I got a kevlar Necky Tesla last year from somebody who bought it new, used it a couple times, and discovered he hated kayaking. Why he didn't start with a plastic boat I can't imagine. I can't complain since I got it for less than half price. Even though I already owned 7 kayaks I couldn't turn it down.

Along with my wife and various friends, I have built strip boats for years and since I really like the Tesla's design I started wondering about modifying and stripping it. It is a high volume boat and I am a high volume person (6'2"/220lbs) but it isn't overly large like some other high volume boats I've tried. I am very comfortable in it, especially after I installed my own seat, and it handles very well. I was looking to build another boat this winter and I started wondering if it would be legal to build a modified Tesla.

The boat is a good starting point but I think I can make it much better. I would change the hull design a bit taking out some rocker and moving some volume further forward. Probably make the deck shape differently also. It would still be based on a Tesla though hence my concern about copyright laws. I certainly don't want to be accused of stealing anything from Necky. How much of a change constitutes a new design? Can you legally start out with someone elses design at all no matter how much you change it?

An extreme example; how about a car? Could somebody legally build a wooden Volkswagon Beetle for their personal use? If so what's the difference between that and cloning a boat?

I realize that if someone were to mass produce and sell the strip versions or publish plans of a Tesla (or a Volkswagon) there could be a huge problem. Realistically I can't see Necky wasting time and money taking one person to court for a boat made stricly for personal use but you never know these days.

It is an interesting question, any thoughts?

~Edgar Kleindinst

Messages In This Thread

Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Edgar Kleindinst -- 8/21/1998, 2:01 pm
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
scott -- 8/25/1998, 9:50 pm
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Nick Schade -- 8/24/1998, 4:18 pm
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Jay Babina -- 8/24/1998, 9:53 am
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Paul Jacobson -- 8/23/1998, 12:26 pm
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Mike Spence -- 8/21/1998, 2:36 pm
Re: Cloning a boat, is it legal?
Edgar Kleindinst -- 8/21/1998, 3:20 pm