Qwik Tune tuners want Kwiktune stock to tune out

Published: December 31, 2012
(Page 1 of 1)

Another copyright issue is hitting the Highland piping world, as Ayrshire Bagpipes of Troon, Scotland, have been asked by the makers of Qwik Tune guitar tuners to change the name of its recently released £39 Kwiktune Chanter Stock, or risk “compensatory damages and reimbursement of . . . legal costs.

Lawyers for the maker of the guitar-tuner, Evets Corporation of California, claim that the name is “confusingly similar” to trademark rights under European Union law. Evets claims that it has an international trademark on the name.

Brian Mulhearn, owner of Ayrshire Bagpipes, said that his own lawyer sees no confusion and is awaiting further correspondence on the matter. Mulhearn has no trademark on the Kwiktune name, but said that because packaging has been made and marketing has occurred, a change would be a significant blow to the company.

“It does what it says on the label: ‘It helps you tune your drones quicker and more accurately.’ So how can this be confused with a guitar?” Mulhearn said. “We are only trying to help the piping world and make a living at the same time.”

The Kwiktune chanter stock is intended to be an aid for new pipers who want to practice tuning their drones without having to remove their chanter. The stock features a shut-off valve that stops the flow of air to the chanter with a simple twist.

While the Highland piping and drumming market has grown in the last three decades to become a worldwide industry worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars, it often lacks formal business practices, such as patent and trademark research and protection. Most patentable innovations developed over the last 30 years are left exposed to copying, usually because of the investment involved in securing an international patent.

Trademark registration is, however, usually straightforward and inexpensive, but relatively few products in piping and drumming are protected.

Copyright law regarding bagpipe and pipe band drumming compositions has been a contentious topic for many years, with the rights-owners of major reproductions and broadcasts of pipe music and performances left uncompensated for their work.

Most recently, the publication of the large Scots Guards Standard Settings of Pipe Music Volune III revealed that the rights-holders to many of the original compositions in the collection were not asked for permission by the publisher, Novello Publishing of London, one of the world’s largest music publishers.

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  1. scottcurriepercussion

    Here’s how to deal with confusion and dilution copyright issue aggression… I hope Brian can have some fun with them.

  2. duncanmillar

    Seems like a different category of product as an accessory for enabling the movement of components on a wind instruments instead of an electronic device for reading pitch; I don’t buy that it would lead to confusion as to origin of the product nor that the name QuickTune has acquired secondary meaning – it is merely descriptive and thus weak as to distinction.

  3. KMartin

    What a shocking injustice, let me help you with some free legal advise that I remember from undergrad but with the help of Wikipedia I can recall to the benefit of righteousness: Morning Star Cooperative Society v Express Newspapers Limited [1979] FSR 113 the Communist paper the Morning Star decided to sue the Star, but the Judge asked whether the plaintiffs could establish a misrepresentation express or implied that the newspaper to be published by the defendants is connected with the plaintiffs’ business and that as a consequence damage is likely to result to the plaintiffs” ended up saying: “if one puts the two papers side by side I for myself would find that the two papers are so different in every way that only a moron in a hurry would be misled.” the only band that I would imagine could send out someone to get that tuner and come back with the stock would be Spinal Tap.”

  4. ThePilot

    Hope Brian tells these muppets to go and take a running jump. The products are totally different and not even spelt the same. I would bin their letters !

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