Keep Your Damn Hands off My “Trade” Dress Page 2

Spectator - May 2002 - Part 2

Spectator — May 2002

By Tom Fexas

Keep Your Damn Hands off My "Trade" Dress
Seeking Damages
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Trade Dress
• Part 2: Trade Dress
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• Spectator Index

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that gives to a group of separate windows the appearance of one, long, flowing window; (14) a chine that breaks the water at a distance of four times the cube root of the length overall divided by the height of the freeboard forward times the density of salt water; (15) flagstaffs at the stern and bow the heights of which are 1⁄10 and 1⁄16 the overall length of the boat, plus or minus two feet; (16) a forward cabin that in profile slopes downward in relation to the waterline forming a parabolic curve that intersects the foredeck in another parabolic curve; (17) rectangular portlights whose height-to-length ratio is approximately 2:5 or 2.6:5; (18) a superstructure that in general incorporates any curves whatsoever; and, finally (19) an overall profile that when people look at it invariably elicits comments like, "That's a nice-looking boat" (or as they say in Italy: "atsa nisza barca"). This combined look is embellished by amenities such as a mast, horns, searchlights, stanchions (which may be vertical or raked supporting the aft overhang), fenders, docklines, and flags.

Seeking Damages
I contend that the majority of motoryachts in the 75- to 120-foot range today have infringed on my unique look as described above, and I am seeking damages in the form of all profits gleaned by copycat builders, the seizure of the copycat factories, and servitude for life of the first-born of the copycat owners of these companies. Stealing one's design is serious business. This has deprived me of earning an obscene amount of cash, therefore restricting my ability to live the life to which I would like to become accustomed. These people are infringing on my right to do a land-office business and own a new Lamborghini. All the copycats must cease and desist production of any motoryacht incorporating the elements described above immediately, all tooling must be destroyed, all drawings shredded, and all factories must be burned to the ground. I will settle for nothing less.

In a collateral lawsuit, I am contending that we now own the rights to the words motoryacht, poweryacht, powerboat, yacht, boat, vessel, and floating object. I know these terms have existed since the beginning of yachting time, but nobody has thought about copywriting them before now. Any builders caught using these terms either in print or in conversation will be subject to the full force of the law.

As you are reading this, my crack attorneys from the firm of Mako, Thresher, Hammerhead, White, Dusky, Lemon, Megamouth, Bull, and Basking are filing "notices of intent to sue" with approximately 150 boatbuilders all over the world (except those with deep pockets who could put forth a credible and expensive defense). These guys mean business, and rather than try to fight this juggernaut, I suggest that the offending builders simply cave in, cease, desist, just plain stop, and pay me what I am due.

Tom Fexas is a marine engineer and designer of powerboats. His Web site is

Next page > Trade Dress, Part 1 > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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