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Seedwings ...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:40 pm

I was recently contacted by a member of the US Hawks about an ongoing dispute regarding the use of the name "Seedwings".

As a result of that contact, I got an email message from Bob Trampenau including this link and post:

http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=73256#73256

Bob Trampenau (seedwings@gmail.com) wrote:Post Copyright infringement on Bob Trampenau Seedwings tradename

The world hang gliding community from the early days of modern hang gliding strives for and prides itself on self-regulation and we encourage self-responsibility in all our actions. The inherent nature of hang glider pilots is to be free yet we act in accordance with natural laws and respect universal values that transcend regulation.

I made a good faith agreement with Andreas and Manfred Bangheri of Tyrol, Austria who were Sensor dealers at the time to license the manufacture of the popular Sensor 510. Additionally, a manufacturing license was agreed upon for the all new Sensor 610-144 size only being developed by myself and my team in Goleta, California. All sail and airframe technologies and assistance along with the agreed payment of monies were completed. I arranged and delivered technical service to Andreas and Manfred Bangheri helping them to become a hang glider manufacturer. Our agreement has a need to respect tradenames and it is common law that continues following their agreement with me that they essentially agreed to forever respect the issue of tradenames and logo’s, even if technology exchange ended. Our agreement and contract is viewable here:

http://tinyurl.com/Seedwings1992contract

My company with its copyrighted tradename, product name and logo, Seedwings and Sensor, originating in 1975, has devoted 100% of all profits to the development of the modern hang glider and I personally have devoted my entire professional life to its scientific development. In such a small community as ours where the sports survival depends upon mutual respect, cooperation and friendly competition we should not be infringing upon each other’s copyrighted trade names. Andreas and Manfred Bangheri are wrongfully using without any agreement what so ever my company name after the contract period ended. There is no difference if Icaro was continuing to infringe upon Moyes name or the former Wills Wing Europe continuing to use their names long after their technical exchange with Moyes or Wills Wing had ended.

I respectfully ask the world hang gliding community, all hang gliding professionals, associations, publishers and alike not to use my company name except in reference to my products and in regard to communications with me, (Bob) Robert Trampenau. As for laws, in the USA, any product sold or bearing the name of another company can be immediately taken possession of by local authorities because it’s wrong. Andreas and Manfred Bangheri and their company is misleading the hang gliding public and causing confusion in product identification. I have no connection with and I am not in any way in control of or responsible for Andreas and Manfred Bangheri’s quality control, airworthiness or independent product development.

I ask Andreas and Manfred Bangheri and their company publicly to stop using my names, logo and photographs in connection with any product they make, distribute, advertise or deliver and change their company’s name now. The sport of hang gilding’s best route is to maintain respect for trade names. Our community could better support any company when they are playing the game fairly and with respect. The late Rob Kells at my request in the mid 90’s stood up in my defense and made several phone calls to US concerns expressing the wrongful and illegal use of my trade name. Rob’s help is greatly appreciated to this day.

Bob Trampenau
Seedwings

I don't know enough about the dispute to take sides at this time, but I do believe that USHPA should play a role in helping to resolve conflicts like these within the community. I don't think USHPA has any authority in this matter, but I believe they should be able to draft a recommendation based on the potential benefits to the hang gliding community (clarity of naming of products, for example). To that end, I have participated (with other members of the US Hawks) in asking USHPA to become involved in this matter. Specifically, I have asked USHPA to offer voluntary mediation to help resolve this conflict in a fair manner for the benefit of the hang gliding community. I hope they will reach out to help.

I'll keep you posted...
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:38 pm

Some talking points that came to mind during my sleep last night on this matter:

1. Does contract law ride in this matter aside from trade mark law? The offenders signed a contract (see PDF link you posted in Trampenau's post above). In that contract is a particularly strong agreement about the stopping of the use of trade marks, which see the paragraph in the contract.

2, Every HG association on earth and its members seem to be stakeholders in this issue. Not only is the entire sport graced by Seedwings and other manufacturers, but the grace arrives in part because of the ethical conduct of pilots, customers, owners, and associations respecting not only state and business law, but the ethics of a hang gliding community. Just what ethical principles will be practiced by members of the hang gliding community with respect to trade? Members and associations have the ability to support or not certain ethical principles whether or not such principles are legal or extra-legal. The hang gliding community could overnight move to support Trampenau's rights and legacy in such a manner that the matter would settle fairly quickly; one way would be a simple firm boycott of the offending company; if the action was strong enough, the settlement would be quick. But, taking a few minutes and choosing a creative new trade mark name and thereby winning the support of the entire hang gliding community for such action would seem the thing to do by an offender.

3. Perhaps in unison every hang glider manufacturer could petition the offender to "get a novel creative trade name, and quickly, like now!"

4. Perhaps a boycott could extend to meets, advertising space in e-zines or magazines, directory entries. The offender's directory data could be disallowed from all hang gliding community publications. Allow no advertising in the hang gliding communities publications by a trade-mark offender. When a visible contract shows the root of the offense along with the long diligence of owner, then editors seem to me to be ethically obligated to disallow robbery on pages.

5. Some disputes are with very fuzzy supports. Some are very clear. This dispute has signature on contract and long diligence for protection. And nearly every day I stumble over the confusion caused by the offender's abuse. The stumbles show in search, in directory maintenance, in recommendations, in describing the history of hang gliding, etc. The injury to the entire hang gliding community grows over time. The damages go on and on. Even trying to reach settlements is a cost.

6. USHPA is a stakeholder in the matter. If manufacturers' trade marks are abused enough, then USHPA will sink out. Same for other large HG orgs. How hard is it today for an executive summit to form via e-mail and put out a full-court press to move the offenders to a new trade mark? Or else, shun. Look at the facts and take a stand; doing nothing is taking a stand and taking a risk--one that could bring a crash.

JoeF
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:34 pm

A branching of the abuse has been installed. :!:
Notice the owner with valid rights has www.seedwings.com :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
Then a branch or dealer from the offender (not sure of the relationship, but they sell items from the offender) spends a few dollars to set up a confusing domain for his business http://www.seedwings.com.au :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: What level of ethics in our hang gliding community would support such crass confusion of trade marking? The WHGA has written the .au further offender and suggested that they very soon get an original novel domain that does not detract or confuse the rights and assets of Robert Trampenau. Our HG community should not have to go through lawyers and expensive dispute processes to maintain trade respects at such levels. Offered also to the .au extended offender was strong world WHGA free advertising space upon performance in concert with the Europe Austrian offender who grabbed for a few bucks www.seedwings.at :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:
And the headlining in the site just shows "Seedwings" which is deeply disturbing.
JoeF
Last edited by JoeF on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:43 pm

A clip from the signed contract:
Attachments
changeorpay.jpg
changeorpay.jpg (28.48 KiB) Viewed 8673 times
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby Free » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:50 pm

JoeF wrote: Our HG community should not have to go through lawyers and expensive dispute processes to maintain trade respects at such levels.


I really hate thieves and I don't care much for lawyers.
Bob should not have to go broke defending his property from people on another side of the planet.

A corporation in Austria, has been and wishes to continue to capitalize on Bob's good name and reputation.
The American hang gliding community needs to take a stand for Bob, or any other theft victim, in this community.
Band of Brothers, right?

Joe has set an example of influence toward the matter. Others can do likewise in different ways.
Corporations understand publicity, good and bad.
Good publicity is being stolen.
Pilots can stand up with Bob, and take that publicity back.

Petitions, personal letters and public rants?
Everybody needs to take a stand.
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:08 am

Along the lines Free suggests, a step has been made:

Neil Larson has posted at World Hang Gliding Association on this topic, which click through to see. :thumbup:
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:27 pm

At Free's good suggestion, another step has been sent:

To: Mike Meier, president of Hang Glider Manufacturers Association
http://www.hgma.net/index.asp

Hi Mike,
Hope this meets you well.

HGMA is invited hereon by World Hang Gliding Association to make public an official position regarding the issue of international trade mark conduct within the sport and industry of hang gliding. Neil Larson has added a statement HERE http://worldhangglidingassociation.org/
where there is also a handy link to an open discussion that is occurring on the issue being focused by the Seedwings challenge. We note the Seedwings membership in the HGMA history.

Perhaps HGMA has already published directly on the issue; if so, please provide a link for the statement. We would be interested in any actions by HGMA or its members towards the support of Robert's ever-international legacy and rights, perhaps type of which would attend affronts to any hang glider manufacturer within and beyond HGMA. Perhaps a summit among all manufacturers of hang gliders via e-mail could effect a resolution as well as a firming advance of conduct and policy as regards fair use of trade marks. A long effort over 40 years has been made by many to protect the marks and legacy of Wills Wing, Inc., etc.

Thank you,
Best of lift to you and yours,
Joe
CC: Robert Trampenau, Neil Larson, Nick Greece, BobK, Tony Prentice, Rich Hass, Davis Straub, and the offending entity in Austria.
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 pm

Sent to Europe on their online active contact form:


editor@hanggliderhistory.com

Resolving the wound of broken contract with Robert Trampenau

Brothers,
The confusion and wound has been great and continues to grow.
Please resolve the matter with Robert Trampenau. You signed to change names or pay agreed royalty.
The deep rip over his legacy and assets is a cost that can be avoided and mended. Please do the right thing within our cherished hang gliding community.

Lift,
Joe Faust
March 3, 2011

Online form at http://www.seedwings.at/en/contact/contact.php

They sign:
All products are available directly from us. Do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information about our products or if you would like to place an order.

Please contact us by phone, fax or email or fill in the contact form below.
We look forward to hearing from you,
The Seedwings Team
=======================================Font size change added by me herein.
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby JoeF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:04 pm

Help requested:
Identify in USHPA bylaws what could permit the corporation to be proactive as regards Seedwings.

https://www.ushpa.aero/policy/bylaws.pdf
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Re: Seedwings ...

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:33 pm

Hi Joe,

You've seen some of the recent email traffic to the USHPA leaders (Rich and Martin). You've also seen their response (or lack of response). They don't care about no stinking bylaws. The USHPA leadership (primarily the EC) does what it wants.

Here's a perfect example. In the spring of 2010, I worked hard to convince most of the Directors that we should direct USHPA's representative on the Soaring Council (Ken Baier) to add a new USHPA chapter to increase our overall representation from 2 to 3 (equal to the RC clubs). Yet Ken never lifted a finger to carry out that resolution. He never made a motion on the Soaring Council. He didn't lobby the other clubs. He didn't do anything. It was as if the USHPA Board's vote never happened. And did Lisa Tate or Paul Montville or Rich Hass do anything? Did they ask Ken to carry out the Board's wishes? No. They just pretended that the Board never passed that resolution.

But since you asked, you don't really have to dig any deeper than the first article of the bylaws. Here's what they say:

USHPA Bylaws (from your link) wrote:ARTICLE I NAME, PURPOSES

SECTION 1. NAME

The name of this corporation shall be United States Hang Gliding And Paragliding Association, Inc. The corporation may also be referred to as USHPA.

SECTION 2. GENERAL PURPOSES

The primary purposes of the Association are to engage in the development, study and use of hang gliders and the sport of hang gliding; to make available and disseminate knowledge about hang gliders and hang gliding; to promote the organization of meets and competition for the flying of hang gliders; to select pilots for national and international competition; to promote the training and rating of students interested in learning the art of hang gliding; and to promote safety and safe flying practices. As used in these Bylaws, the term “hang gliding” encompasses all fuel-less flight systems and aircraft capable of being launched by human power alone.

The phrase "engage in the development, study and use of hang gliders and the sport of hang gliding" would imply some kind of taxonomy of hang gliders by name. The confusion over the Seedwings name makes it harder to study the use of hang gliders and the sport of hang gliding. The phrase "to make available and disseminate knowledge about hang gliders and hang gliding" also implies a duty to make clear information available. The phrase "to promote safety and safe flying practices" could also apply since it can be confusing (and potentially dangerous) to have different gliders using the same name (dangers from parts confusion comes to mind).

So that section right there is enough for the Board to at least weigh in on the matter if they wanted to. But there's that problem again. It's all about what THEY want. The members don't factor into that equation at all. The fact that they won't even tell us how they vote ... when they're supposed to be voting as our representatives ... says it all.
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