Re: HP request on duplicate labels


"I would assum the same source could provide permission for the reprint of labels. "

I tried that and the answer was "no". It's like assuming that if Rolex allows you to put pictures of their watches on the web, that they'll also agree to you making watches that have their name on them. (Trust me - they won't!)

Some of my requests have been granted and some haven't. I'm grateful for the ones that have been. Many companies wouldn't bother.


Hmmm, Dave, but isn't there a difference between making fake Rolexes vs. restoring genuine Rolexes on which the logo was damaged?

Putting an HP logo on a non-HP calculator is an obvious violation of HP's trademark. But restoring the HP logo on a genuine HP calculator is an entirely different matter in my (probably un(der)informed) opinion.



Rolex doesn't allow third parties to sell dials, clasps, crowns etc. with Rolex trademarks on them, even though such parts are needed to properly restore Rolexes.

The issue is not putting an HP label on an HP calculator but rather, someone, other than HP, manufacturing and selling products labeled HP. (The labels themselves are the product.) I'm not a corporate lawyer but I think this gets into the area where you have to defend your trademark or risk loosing it entirely. If other people can put your trademark on their product (the label or dial), then it's just a generic word, not a true trademark.

At the company I work, we are constantly reminded by legal how WE (in our own company) may use and may not use our own trademarks.



OK, well, selling labelled parts is a different issue. I thought we were discussing making labels for one's own use.



It's very simple. You cannot put a trademarked logo on a new product and sell it without the permission of the holder of the trademark.

How much simpler can that be?

Let me tell you something else about trademarks. It is incumbent on the holder of the trademark to defend their trademark rights. They cannot simply turn their back and say "well it does not matter in this case". Failure to defend a trademark is one of the criteria to "losing" the trademark.

Do you think HP is willing to give up the trademark?



The issue is not about putting a trademarked logo on a new product, but restoring the trademarked logo on an old one.




Most of the people in this thread are not talking about making their own labels.

I don't know if it's legal or illegal to make a brandnamed/trademarked label and keep it in your own home, but it may not matter much since they probably don't do random house searches where you live ;-)


If you cut a piece of metal. Then add to it some text. And if that text is HP and their logo. And if you then sell that label.

Then it is NOT restoration. It is creating a new product and using someone else's trademark.

It IS Restoration if you took an existing HP label and touched up the ink.

It is NOT Restoration, if you create a new label and replace an existing one. And it is especially a trademark infringement, if you create and sell such a product.

Why would you think otherwise. Do you think anyone could sell such a label, if it said "Joe Blow Reproduction Label" instead of "Hewlett Packard".


I wasn't talking about selling either labels, or labelled products; I was talking about making labels and using them on one's own calculator. With all due respect, I don't think there's any law on the planet that prevents me from restoring an HP logo on a calculator in my possession, or even replacing it with a TI logo if I am perverted enough to gain pleasure from such a despicable act.



today who specialize in intellectual property law.

We were talking about things similar but not identical to this, but the impression I got was that it was illegal to do this even in your own home, but on a practical level, it's like making copies of rented video tapes: It's illegal, but as long as you keep quiet about it, nothing's going to happen.

Keep in mind that this is 2nd hand, I'm not a lawyer, and this legal advice is probably worth every penny that you paid for it.


Well, I think the videotape analogy is misleading because there's a huge difference between copyrights and trademarks. For instance, when you buy a calculator, you are free to rent it out for money, or even hook it up to your Web site and let the public use it for a fee; when you buy a videotape, you're not allowed to do anything of the kind. In many jurisdictions, you're also free to reverse engineer your calculator (although that doesn't give you a license to violate patent rights, or for that matter, the copyright on embedded firmware code.) In fact, many of us HAVE reverse engineered our calculators, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to fix them in the absence of original parts and subassemblies.

Another difference is that when you watch an illegally copied videotape, you in fact deny rightful revenue to the copyright holder. The interests of the calculator maker, on the other hand, are not in any way harmed if you mutilate their product that is in your possession (at least as long as it remains in your possession.)

Now if you were to sell it, or even display it in public, that's another matter altogether! Which makes me wonder, since we've been talking about substituting defaced calculator images to discourage 'image thiefs' on eBay and elsewhere... couldn't HP rightfully argue that this not only violates their trademark in principle, but also represents tangible damage to their image and good name? But, at least in my entirely uninformed opinion (I am, after all, a programmer who only got involved with intellectual property issues marginally, when doing work for the Canadian Patent Office) it would be very difficult to make the same argument against someone who merely tries to restore a calculator.



You've read too much into my video tape analogy. That was my own analogy to show why you can often get away with things in the privacy of your own home. The lawyers never mentioned this.

Some of the interesting things I learned today include that there don't have to be any "actual damages". They can, for example, sue you for the fact that you forced them to waste their time to suing you! So you so you get to pay that in addition to their attorney's fees. The laws in this area are intentionally designed to be punitive rather than remedial because they don't want people assuming they can rip off someones brand and just pay a resonable fee if they get caught.



I've been watching this debate for the last couple of days. As an Intellectual Property attorney, I can offer some insight which might clarify things.

First, the most likely reason Dave Hicks got a "No" answer when he asked HP if he could make duplicate labels was because HP would have no control over what calculators those labels got attached to. One purpose of a trademark is to provide an identifier to the consumers of a particular quality and source of goods. Someone who made duplicate labels with the HP logo and name could attach those labels to any $1.99 calculator from Walmart and pass it off as an HP unit, resulting in what we call "trademark dilution". That's illegal. I know if I was Counsel to HP, I'd put a stop to that immediately. It's bad for consumers and it's bad for HP.

Making NEW labels with the HP name and logo is not the same thing as restoring an EXISTING label on an old HP calc. You can probably do the latter, but not the former depending on the situation. But mass production and sale of NEW labels with the HP name and logo without permission from HP will probably get you into trouble.

Todd E. Garabedian, Ph.D., J.D.
Wiggin & Dana
New Haven, CT


With the HP6S stuff out there, how could HP's image be hurt any further by placing new labels on just about anything?




> You've read too much into my video tape analogy.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you meant the analogy to be this perfect, it was just a good starting point to ramble about the differences between copyright and trademark. Basically what I am saying (I am no lawyer, mind you, so I could be wrong) is that whereas copyright law prohibits the unauthorized copying of a work for any purpose (including, for instance, home viewing) no such prohibition exists for trademarks; a trademark has to be used to label something, sold, etc. before the trademark holder's rights can be considered infringed. In other words, if I copy a videotape or software package, I violate someone's rights, but I am free, for instance, to make a quality copy of the HP logo, enlarge it, frame it, and put it on the wall here in my home. Either that or I am wrong :-)

> sue you for the fact that you forced them to waste their time to suing you!

LOL! There are times when I am glad that I don't actually live in, just near, the United States :-)

Viktor (Canada)


>> sue you for the fact that you forced them to waste their time to suing you!

>LOL! There are times when I am glad that I don't actually live in, just near, the United States :-)

Actually, I thought this was a good thing. It goes like this. Somebody steals your IP. You want to stop them but you have no actual damages because you can't prove that it actually cost you any money. Instead you sue for [can't remember the word] damages which basically says: we both know you did wrong, and it's up to me to go through the legal system to stop you so you're going to pay for my time spent making you do the right thing. If it weren't for this, I think people would be ripping each other off left and right.

The attorneys and I talked about both trademarks and copyrights - I don't recall any differences about being able to copy one for private use but not the other but I didn't specifically get into that. I did see the Kinko's thing below which says that they beleive you can't copy a trademark and I saw the thing from Todd which says it's PROBABLY OK to restore an EXISTING label. You can tell he's a lawyer - he clarifies with PROBABLY. :-)

They also told me that it's not necessary for something to be marked Copyright in order to be copyrighted, so the back labels could also be copyrighted. I'm not sure if they meant everything in the world is "copyright someone" or if it's just specific things. I didn't think to ask.



Don't get me wrong, I am all for the protection of IP rights; after all, I make a living writing software, and I'd be royally po'd if I found someone ripping off my code, even if he tries to defend his theft by stating that it was not for commercial use or whatever.

But sometimes I have the feeling that this thing is going a bit too far. My publisher, for instance, told me that it's a good idea not to put a comment block containing the author's name at the top of example programs that go on a CD accompanying a programming book, otherwise people will be reluctant to use the examples, fearing that they may be violating copyright. Examples from a book that is supposed to be teaching you Windows programming, for crying out loud!

Then there are those cases on the Internet that have gained notoriety, the most recent one is the shutdown of the MathWorld Web site ( because of a publisher's somewhat agressive interpretation of a contract as it concerned an author's prior, related work. It is these instances that sometimes make me think that we have become far too litigious (and unfortunately, the US appears to lead in this regard; hey, even the presidential election ended up in the courts!)

So here you have my solemn promise that I won't put HP logos on cheap Chinese calculators (HP is doing that already, sigh), I won't copy rental videotapes, and I won't run ripped off software on my computer. But if I find a way to replace a damaged or missing back label on an HP calculator in my collection, I'll do so without a second thought. (That said, should it come to pass that I ever sell, or trade, such a calculator, I consider it my duty to inform the buyer that the label isn't the original one; just as I would make it clear if the calculator contained a card reader wheel that was replaced or a circuit that was repaired.)



I feel that this thread has moved into an area that isn't appropriate for this forum. What you do in your own home is, for the most part, your own business - at least until you announce it publicly. If you're interested in the details of the laws and changing them, you should consult with lawyers and legislators.



I thought I WAS talking about calculators.

Be it far from me to argue with the moderator of this forum, but if you ask me to stop talking about what I do in my own home, I'll have to stop talking about calculators altogether, since the only place where I do anything with them is my home. I also happen to believe that the issue of label restoration is a legitimate issue (albeit one with legal implications) that is of interest to many visitors here. If you ask me to shut up, I'll do so but under protest: if this world has come to the point that we cannot even discuss restoring a label on a vintage calculator because of our fear of corporate lawyers, we're in really big trouble! What is it going to be next time, are we going to throw kids in jail because they "build" a calculator out of cardboard and draw an HP logo on it?



You're not talking in your own home Victor, you're talking in public on a forum that I own and moderate. This is the first time I have ever felt the need to intervene and I hope it will be the last.



First of all, let me state clearly that I appreciate your efforts to bring this forum to all of us, and despite your 'Welcome to the Internet' message, I've been on the Internet long enough to know that I can't argue for free speech on a privately owned Web site; you, as owner, are free to decide what is appropriate here and what isn't.

But I fail to see what was SO inappropriate about my postings here that you felt the need to intervene for the 'first time ever'. To the best of my knowledge, I haven't insulted anyone. My postings were not off-topic, they were most decidedly on a topic that generated a lot of interest (I and others may have illustrated our point with analogies that would themselves be off-topic, but we never strayed far from the issue of the legality of restoring calculator labels.) I did not use your board for an inappropriate purpose, such as advertising or harvesting e-mail addresses. I did not engage in, nor did I encourage others to commit, an illegal activity. I have expressed a personal opinion on a legal matter; I believe I am right, but even if I am wrong, last time I checked you are allowed to be wrong.

So to be honest, I feel somewhat offended that you picked my postings as the 'first time ever' precedent to intervene; don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to play jailhouse lawyer here, but I am not sure if I am simply missing something here, or perhaps I was grossly misunderstood?



I'm sorry you're offended Victor. As I have already stated, I don't feel that this thread is a good fit for the forum.


Fair enough, Dave. I'll try to restrain myself in the future and limit my contributions to technical discussions.


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