Are build you own PRS kits legal?

matonanjin

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Yeah, I think I'll do business with a website that says, "bout our factory it is china and South Korea Joint Venture,SO The pruduct quality get control, best price and service for you."
What could go wrong?
 

Matte82

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You make some decent points, but I know I am far better at working on My Ford Mustang, than building and finishing wood projects. (I nearly failed wood shop once) I wouldn't mind helping build a few, I could either do the electronic side or final set up but woodworking is definitely out.

I guess making things is just in my dna. My grandpa was a woodworker in his spare time. It wasn’t his career but he made lots of great things out of wood throughout his life. Then my dad was a journeyman milwright when I was born. He has built everything from custom cabinets to high rise office buildings. Motorcycles were his passion, along with guitars. So he started the motorcycle shop. Electronics was what fascinated me as a kid. Plus helping my dad and grandpa build stuff. So building a guitar is just a culmination of all these interests and experiences. It’s not something I would pursue as a career. Just something to check off the bucket list. Along with building a tube amp.

Anyway back to the point. I don’t want to buy a prs clone guitar kit from some unknown company in China. I want to buy one direct from prs.

And I’ve been thinking since my original post. I would prefer the core body shape instead of the beveled top. So make it here in Maryland. Get me a body routed for 305 pickups and switches, I’d prefer a stoptail, but trem would be fine. A neck that fits the pocket tightly. Just whatever needs to be done to glue the fretboard on. I can install and level the frets. I would even glue in the inlays and level the fretboard. But would need the inlays and fret slots cut out and fretwire and inlays included. I would supply all the hardware and electronics. I would also want the prs nut. Preslotted would be great. But it would have to be.

I realize this guitar would very likely be no were near the level of instrument as a core model. But knowing I put it together would make it special to me. And I think I could make it a very useable instrument. Heck I’ve never been afraid of running the bikes I’ve built 70+ mph down the highway. This would be considerably less dangerous. Haha.

And knowing that if prs did do something like this, the guitars, for the most part, wouldn’t be to Paul’s standard, so they probably won’t. But it sure would be cool if they did. :)
 

cags12

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Apr 25, 2017
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Perhaps the day the SE line comes with carved tops like Core models will be the day knock off will disappear.

I must admit I was sooo close to put together a kit only because what I love from PRS is the Core body shape and wanted some custom specs too for experimenting. PS was/is impossible to me and modding a genuine core one, I do not desire (it included wood routing for especial electronics). Also, I was looking for a project.

In the end I did not do it because I knew quality would be very bad from a kit coming from the far east. I too had quotes from a quality luthiers but price reached CE and Core models levels so I though, no way I'd spend that kind of money for something that would not be genuine and hold value.

I know SE's are great and affordable but again, that carved top man!
There is a reason (understandable) why PRS did not go for the exact same body shape on the SE version ;)

BTW. After all that I became a proud owner of a WL guitar and thinking on getting the DW CE 24 and still I kinda have some desire to pursue my initial project.
 

Aaron Scott

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Jan 24, 2019
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So basically what y'all are saying,is that if someone wants to build a kit guitar for the experience of building one should be tied to a post and whipped to death? I know this is a year late,but damn.
Not sure how a Chinese build kits are illegal or infringing on copyright laws. Maybe if you try to sell it as a original product. It's not like anything other then the name would be a copyright infringement.
If a bird inlay is strictly prs,then a dot would be strictly fender? Or a trapazoid would be gibson? A rectangular inlay is on my esp should I avoid all rectangular inlays so I don't get sued by esp for using a rectangle?
 

Whitecat

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Failure to enforce a trademark weaken's that trademark's protection.

In the case of dots, trapezoids, whatever - those things may have never been trademarked in the first place, so no, they are not protected, and if they were ever protected, certainly that protection is minimal now due to the fact that nobody has ever heard of anyone suing over it. Real-world example: Fender lost the rights to their body shapes years ago when they failed to litigate against copies in good time. So you can make a Strat copy on your own time without any issue. So could PRS, if they wanted to. ;)

PRS' birds on the other hand are trademarked, so yes, it's a violation.

It's all pretty simple really. If you really want to build your own guitar there are tonnes of kits out there that don't step on anyone's IP.
 
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bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
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Failure to enforce a trademark weaken's that trademark's protection.

In the case of dots, trapezoids, whatever - those things may have never been trademarked in the first place, so no, they are not protected, and if they were ever protected, certainly that protection is minimal now due to the fact that nobody has ever heard of anyone suing over it. Real-world example: Fender lost the rights to their body shapes years ago when they failed to litigate against copies in good time. So you can make a Strat copy on your own time without any issue. So could PRS, if they wanted to. ;)

PRS' birds on the other hand are trademarked, so yes, it's a violation.

It's all pretty simply really. If you really want to build your own guitar there are tonnes of kits out there that don't step on anyone's IP.

This! Emphatically, this!
 

Guitpicky

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Jun 29, 2017
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I lie to myself all the time, but believing I could make a kit guitar anywhere close to the quality of my 594 is one I can't pass off... even on someone as gullible as me :)
 

Peet

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Dec 18, 2017
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So basically what y'all are saying,is that if someone wants to build a kit guitar for the experience of building one should be tied to a post and whipped to death? I know this is a year late,but damn.
Not sure how a Chinese build kits are illegal or infringing on copyright laws. Maybe if you try to sell it as a original product. It's not like anything other then the name would be a copyright infringement.
If a bird inlay is strictly prs,then a dot would be strictly fender? Or a trapazoid would be gibson? A rectangular inlay is on my esp should I avoid all rectangular inlays so I don't get sued by esp for using a rectangle?

Welcome to the forum.


 

shinksma

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Mar 20, 2014
Messages
4,809
So basically what y'all are saying,is that if someone wants to build a kit guitar for the experience of building one should be tied to a post and whipped to death? I know this is a year late,but damn.
Not sure how a Chinese build kits are illegal or infringing on copyright laws. Maybe if you try to sell it as a original product. It's not like anything other then the name would be a copyright infringement.
If a bird inlay is strictly prs,then a dot would be strictly fender? Or a trapazoid would be gibson? A rectangular inlay is on my esp should I avoid all rectangular inlays so I don't get sued by esp for using a rectangle?
Two elements will tend to favor legal rulings that certain "Chinese build kits" are illegal/infringe on copyright:

  • Blatant copying of a trademark, such as the PRS birds
  • Having a design that is easily modified to greatly resemble a specific brand - many purchasers will do that modification, and those forgeries will get to the market eventually being sold as "the real deal". The manufacturers profited from knowingly enabling illegal activity.

As noted, dots and rectangles are common enough across multiple brands ever since guitars were built, so they have been around long enough, and are not contested at all, thus they are considered public domain / obvious applications. But if you create a new unique design for fretboard inlays then you can trademark it, and no-one can infringe on that. But if you don't register the trademark, and/or don't challenge any unauthorized copying, then you are out of luck.

Look at the blatant rip-off that happened to Electro-Harmonix by Mooer: Mooer stole the executable code from EHX effects boxes and loaded it into their own "clones", and didn't even remove the embedded copyright disclaimers!

https://www.musicradar.com/news/electro-harmonix-wins-copyright-infringement-case-against-mooer
 

LSchefman

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Not sure how a Chinese build kits are illegal or infringing on copyright laws. Maybe if you try to sell it as a original product. It's not like anything other then the name would be a copyright infringement.

You’re uninformed, as is most of the public, unfortunately.

First of all, it’s not copyright infringement, it’s trademark infringement. PRS has registered various trademarks, including various design elements like the birds, the shape of the headstock, etc. Violation of those registered trademarks involves both civil and criminal penalties under federal law, and in addition, there are state laws protecting trademarks.

Also, the bridge and most likely other parts are patented, therefore subject to the patent laws. Patent law violations are equally enforced under federal law, and patent law was thought to be important enough by the founding fathers that provision was made for it in Article I of the US Constitution, along with copyrights.

Whether you agree with these laws or not is irrelevant, since they’re on the books, and enforced by law enforcement agencies, as well as private civil actions.

A kit that incorporates these legal violations is prima facie illegal, and under federal law any such kit can be confiscated by federal law enforcement agencies. The problem is that it’s hard to chase these offshore companies down, but China’s violations of intellectual property laws are a big issue these days.

I hope this explanation helps you understand the seriousness of the issue. Companies invest gigantic effort and resources in their products, and these laws are created to protect that investment.
 
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