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Thread: Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

  1. #1

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    This is not a personal attack - it is a calm and accurate description of a thread on photo.net at the moment, concerning Bob Salomon.
    Basically, a person in Canada sought advice on photo.net, relating to the purchase of a lens hood. They were recommended by Bob, a Heliopan hood. They then bought it from an authorised US dealer (a strong point in this case in their favour, but imagine if it wasn't).
    For whatever reason, they then attempted to sell it on ebay, with the product being available to the US. They were emailed by Bob that they weren't permitted to sell this item (presumably 'to the US'), and a few hours later, the listing was ended by ebay at Bob's request.
    What does this mean? If Bob's interpretation is always accepted by ebay, any attempt to list an item from outside the US, which would be available for purchase by someone in the US, would be immediately terminated if it was an item of any of the following marks:
    Ansmann
    Berlebach
    Braun
    CombiPlan
    DF Albums
    Ergorest
    Gepe
    Gepe-Pro
    Giottos
    Heliopan
    Kaiser
    Kopho
    Linhof
    Novoflex
    Pro-Release
    Rimowa
    Rodenstock
    Sirostar
    Tetenal Cloths and Ink Jet Papers
    VR
    Vue-All archival negative slide and print protectors
    Wista
    ZTS

    The thread of concern is:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0063E3

    Please don't let any sympathy with the OTT personal attacks there blind you to the point.

    Anyone else unhappy with this situation?

    [Moderator note: this thread has been edited mostly to remove redundancy. Please
    do not contribute if you have no new ideas to add, but are just stating your opinion. QTL]

  2. #2

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Dear Richard

    I do not have a dog in this fight, but perhaps, can see both sides of the issue. If a company does not vigorously defend trademark and name issues, there might be the chance of losing use of a brand name. That seems to be why Xerox really does not want you to think a photocopy from a Canon machine is a Xerox copy and look at what happened to Kleenex. I am not a lawyer, but imagine when items cross international borders, there are many more issues than may be apparent to us.

    Take it a step further. Can the use by a foreign person of a copyrighted photo just once for commercial purposes be considered acceptable? Does not protecting your images and their copyrights need to be a full time vigilence especially in other countries? Ask the movie industry about their problems with pirated movies in Asia.

    I recommend considering both sides of complicated issues.

    Regards,

    John Bailey

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Since I usually am a buyer on EBay and not a seller, I want to know what I am buying.... Say I am looking for Canon F1 or a Linhof Technika. I want to know that they are just that. If the seller claims perfect condition, I want to see a photo attesting to that (yes I know photos can be faked). I don't see how selling a used Heliopan hood and calling it a Heliopan hood infringes anything. It is a private sale, and the brand/model etc are for the sole purpose of telling possible buyers what you are selling. If I ever saw an EBay ad that just said "Stuff for sale, email for info", I would not waste my time any further. This doesn't look like trademark or patent infringement to me. Maybe if the seller was making and selling counterfeit knockoffs, but that is not the case. Maybe he just didn't like what he bought after trying it. I know one thing, I'm not buying any Heliopan or HP marketing items. I don't want them or anyone else in my knickers. Once I buy something, I can do as I please with it. That includes using it, running a truck over it, or selling it off later. Once the money has changed hands, it is MY private property to use or dispose of as I see fit. Sorry HP Marketing, sorry Bob Salomon, you just lost one potential customer for good.

  4. #4

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Well,

    I find it interesting that the overseers of photo.net have let this thread continue. I had an entire thread pulled because I "insulted" Bob Salomon, with the same word used in at least two of the current messages. I added "grumpy" as a modifier, that must be the key. I cannot post to that forum as punishment for this preceived slight.

    Anyway, the overall implications are not good for buying on eb@y nor, I believe, for buying any products sold by HP Marketing, though the ability for HP Marketing to pull the auction is for only those products for which they are the exclusive importer, I should think. I think the HP Marketing boycott is a great idea - plus messages sent to the manufacturers, who cannot be pleased by this behavior. They grant HP Marketing an exclusive if they believe by doing so, they will get higher US sales than by allowing multiple importers. If a large group of vocal customers complains, then perhaps the policy will be changed. Perhaps Rodenstock will not be happy if they are affected by HP Marketing's Heliop@n policy.

    J

  5. #5
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    You can read the original thread over and over and you will never be able to make an informed judgement because all the facts are neither presented nor available. See my post on photo.net for more details.





    I have no dogs in this fight either but I do know that HP Marketing's 'relationship' to the "Heliopan" name goes beyond a simple license. I also know that failure to vigerously product the unauthorized/inappropirate use of trademarks and registered names owned by your compay can easily lead to voiding those rights.





    Finally, and most importantly, while a discussion of white, gray and black markets, of distributers markups and services rendered, etc. is an interesting topic and a useful discussion ..... let's see if we can do it with all the facts if we are going to do it al all.




  6. #6

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    You might go to Ebay and read their rules regarding Trademarks and listings.

    While I appreciate your comments you are simply repeating what someone from Canada on the Photonet stated yesterday.

    Let's understand something.

    We are the licensed, authorized importer (except for the Combi-Plan T which we own) of the items that we list on our web site.

    We import and distribute these items to camera or luggage stores or professional photo finishers. We do not advertise in foreign publications and we do not have sales reps outside the US. All of our efforts are in the US.

    All of the lines that we represent are represented by various companies in Canada. We neither promote or sell to Canada.

    If someone asks a question we answer it. That is what happened in the case of the individual who wanted to export a Heliopan item back to the US. He could have just as easily purchased it in Canada. For whatever reason he chose not to support a retailer in his country.

    We sell our products through dealers in the US. We have had, in the recent past, a problem with some individuals who decided to open a home store to import directly some of our products. These individuals were not registered as a business in the place they were located, they collected no sales tax when they made sales in their state, in one case an individual was on 100% Medicaid and was not reporting any income from the sale of products from their home.

    These individuals, who paid no tax, who employeed no one, who had no expenses for the sale of product, then decided that they would totally disrupt the marketplace by selling at prices well below market, They used our advertising and our show costs to boost the sale of this product. They sold product which we were then supposed to warranty with our lifetime warranty.

    Because of these problems we became the owner of the Heliopan Trademark by having the factory assign it to us.

    Yes this means that some individual outside the US can not export Heliopan to the US without violating our laws. That individual may be simply what he seems - a person who wants to sell a personal possession. However we have no way of knowing if that, in fact, is true or if he is using this as a means to bypass the Trademark rules and regulations.

    And if you want to buy a Heliopan filter on Ebay then there are several auctions going on right now.

  7. #7

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Winning the battle and losing the war, perhaps. It appears that a lot of negative energy has been created for HP Marketing and all of its brands over what, at most, could represent a few dollars loss. I fail to see that the home store situation requires similar effort for what is, quite obviously, a one-off. (I am assuming that Mr. Chen did not have more than one filter for sale)

    I wonder if HP Marketing is so diligent in ensuring that the US product does not get re-exported into other markets...

  8. #8

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Somehow the fundamental question didn't get answered. If HP Marketing knew for a fact that he was selling a personal possession, would he be violating our laws by bypassing Trademark rules and regulations? For instance, If it was an old model Linhof that clearly showed signs of use, would it be against the law to import it?

  9. #9

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    "If it was an old model Linhof that clearly showed signs of use, would it be against the law to import it?"

    No.

  10. #10
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    and the first bit?:

    "If HP Marketing knew for a fact that he was selling a personal possession, would he be violating our laws by bypassing Trademark rules and regulations?"
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

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