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

  1. #51
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Eugene, I've been tempted to do so several times, especially considering that the
    way the question was asked ( "Anyone else unhappy with this situation?")
    sounded like a flame bait. This
    would have saved me quite a bit of time, but I thought that with a few exceptions replies were civil, and there was some useful information it in, as there were a lot of misperceptions. By the way, Bob has agreed to sign as "Bob Salomon - HP Marketing" (although, as I explaned earlier, I didn't feel that this was an obligation on his part), and this will be also reflected in the archive as soon as some technical details are figured it out.

  2. #52

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Looks like HP Marketing is mired in a lot of arrogance. Rather common.

  3. #53

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    hmmm...came across this thread from David Nebenzahl's reference in the rec.photo.equipment.large-format newsgroup. Can't really understand the brouhaha over this issue. First, congrats to the moderator for maintaining the thread. Second, the issue seems to me is not so much the unique policy of one singular company as it is the concern of a company seeking enforcement of a legal matter common to all companies in the same situation...viz, owning the legal trademark of an item manufactured outside the US. Notwithstanding HP Marketing being perhaps more vigorous than others in seeking enforcing what it views as its legal rights on the one hand and on the other hand the indignation and emotions of those who are dismayed by this vigor, the key question seems to me the legal one. The issue can be/should be easily enough settled without the gnashing of teeth and displays of emotion seen in this thread by simply taking the matter to the US courts...those who are upset by HP Marketing's actions can take the issue there. However, I do believe that there are plenty of court precedents where even companies engaged in purely domestic situations have prevailed in their efforts to protect what they view as their legal rights...Disney and Coca Cola come quickly to mind. Perhaps - just perhaps - this situation would be found by the courts to be an exception.

  4. #54

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Ellis: Are you the same Ellis Venner that not that long ago launched into one of the nastiest personal diatribes against Bob Salomon? I remembered it too well and was apalled at its vehemence. What way does the wind blow this time, Ellis?

    That aside, the use or abuse of trademarks by distributors is a veiled ruse to impose abusive monopolistic practices on consumers which have one simple objective: gouging the public. To whom does the Heliopan trademark belong? Logically that should be Heliopan in Germany. However, it seems that in the US it belongs to HP Marketing and that without its ownership, HP Marketing would have to abide by market forces. Capitalistic economies depend on the market for regulation, but this gap in trademark law allows distributors to avoid market regulation. Distributor's defend their position arguing that high pricing pays for service and advertising. That premise does not fly: In a free market, the market itself defines for sellers and manufacturers what costs and prices are viable. The law does protect manufacturers from dumping by foreign firms, but the idea that the law should grant distributors of foreign products a monopoly so that they can pay for service and advertising is illogical. In fact, the law has broken many monopolies to protect consumers and it is time that it does so with regards to distributed products. Until that happens, consumers can use their own power over the market to send a message to monopolistic distributors: buy elsewhere. Lyel Aldridge's legal opinion in this thread states that the sale of grey market products is not unlawful in the US. Yes, the courts should issue clear rulings on this but the suggestion that anyone who does not agree with the abuse of trade mark law should take the issue to court is idiotic nonsense. Oh yes, the guy that tried selling one Heliopan filter in the US should fork out thousands in legal fees just for a matter of principle? The photographic industry in the US is rife with this misuse of trademark law. Photographers remember, it is your money.

  5. #55

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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    That aside, the use or abuse of trademarks by distributors is a veiled ruse to impose abusive monopolistic practices on consumers which have one simple objective: gouging the public.

    There is no monoply being practiced. You don't like HP marketing's practices? Buy from another company that offers similar products.

    To whom does the Heliopan trademark belong? Logically that should be Heliopan in Germany. However, it seems that in the US it belongs to HP Marketing and that without its ownership, HP Marketing would have to abide by market forces....o whom does the Heliopan trademark belong? Logically that should be Heliopan in Germany. However, it seems that in the US it belongs to HP Marketing and that without its ownership, HP Marketing would have to abide by market forces.

    Heliopan's direct customers are not individual photographers or even indivual stores. Heliopan's customers are the distrbution companies they have signed contracts with. I don't know the specifics because I don't work for either company but I have little doubt that HP marketing has licensed the Heliopan trademark in the USA and that Heliopan is very happy with HP Marketing being their partner. if they are not happy with the job HP is doing when the agreement has expired Heliopan will try to find a partner that does a better job and offers a more advantageous relationship. That is the free market economy at work. Igyuarentee that if Helipan Germany was dissatisfied with the way HP Marketing is handling this situation they would tell them to back off.

    The law does protect manufacturers from dumping by foreign firms ... consumers can use their own power over the market to send a message to monopolistic distributors: buy elsewhere.

    That is right: you can buy elsewhere. There is at least one other legitimate direct importer in the USA of the stuff made in Heliopan & Rodenstock's factories, but the products you buy from them will not have either Rodenstock or Heliopan's name on them. Or you can buy "gray market" from a store outside of the USA. just don't expect it to get the warranty serviced in the USA. You pays your money and you takes your chances. That is also the free market in action.

    Yes, the courts should issue clear rulings on this but the suggestion that anyone who does not agree with the abuse of trade mark law should take the issue to court is idiotic nonsense. Yes, the courts should issue clear rulings on this but the suggestion that anyone who does not agree with the abuse of trade mark law should take the issue to court is idiotic nonsense.

    No it is not nonsense, it is part of being a civilization that is governed by laws. Or do you want anarchy? And if he wants to make that fight and can find a lawyer who thinks he has a leg to stand on, he is welcome to do so. Law like all living things, evolves. If no one puts pressure on it to change, it doesn't.

    I'd also like to point out the same patent, trademark & copyright laws that protect companies like Heliopan, HP marketing, Disney , etc., also protect you as an inventor, business person & artist.

  6. #56

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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Ellis, you wrote.....

    I'd also like to point out the same patent, trademark & copyright laws that protect companies like Heliopan, HP marketing, Disney , etc., also protect you as an inventor, business person & artist.

    Ellis, I think you are confusing Julio's position here. The protection of a patent or a work of art is to protect the inventor / artist from others counterfeiting / reproducing their work. Quite often, this protection is what motivates inventors / artists to invest the time and money required to produce marketable products. This was a very sensible approach to enticing innovation and art. History has proven its worthiness.

    However, HP is not inventing anything, they are re sellers of a manufactured product. No different than a retailer who buys direct from a manufacturer, they are a re seller of that product. Large Retailers do not get trade marks on designer clothes they re sell. So HP should be like any other re seller of manufactured products. But instead, HP tries to become exclusive and in the case of Heliopan, grab the trademark for USA, which I assume Helopan has agreed to. This is HP's perogative, however, market forces will still eventually sort this out. The photographic community being so small, it seems to me, this practice leaves a bad taste in everyones mouth about HP's policy towards their ultimate customers - photographers. You can't argue that you are one of the few supporting HP in this thread.... there does seem to be a consensus of opinion here. Does this prevent HP from suing someone, or legally or illegally stopping someone from making a sale on ebay, no, but it sure makes a big impact on the community. In the end, it all boils down to pricing, which I addressed in an earlier post.

  7. #57

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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Large Retailers do not get trade marks on designer clothes they re sell. So HP should be like any other re seller of manufactured products.

    No but some do acquire the licenses to be the exclusive dealer for that product in a certain region.

    But instead, HP tries to become exclusive and in the case of Heliopan, grab the trademark for USA, which I assume Helopan has agreed to.HP marketing isn't a retailer, they are a distributor who has paid Heliopan for the license to distribute in the USA. HP Marketing is acting as Heliopan's agent. For all any of us know Heliopan or whatever company they are a subsidiary of may have insisted that HP Marketing enforce Heliopan's trademark in the USA.


    This is HP's perogative, however, market forces will still eventually sort this out.
    Yes you are right they will. Mostly the market forces at wwork right now will kill large format photography within the next few years by making it increasingly uneconomical for them to continue manufacturing new lenses cameras & film.

    There are also economics of scale involved. HP marketing probably places a n order for a certain number of filters of different types & sizes each year. This preordering lets Heliopan know how many of thse filters to make each year, which helps bring down the manufacturing cost of each individual unit. Can you imagine how much it might cost if each filter was bascially custom made and subjectto the individual whims & finances of say a fe w thousand individuals? Sure Heliopan could say: we are willignto go it alone and we will bear the cost of R&D, manufacturing, marketing, and then the distribution and customs for each individual shipment? I really don't think you'll want to pay those prices. So manufacturers ahve set up networks of distributors , who in turn of networks of retail outlets they sell to.

    Listen: I like getting a good deal as much as the next guy does, but with every opportunity comes a cost.

  8. #58

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    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    Thanks for deleting my response to Ellis, QT. But I do believe Bob is deceitful.

    Eugene, I've been tempted to do so several times, especially considering that the way the question was asked ( "Anyone else unhappy with this situation?") sounded like a flame bait.

    I didn't think it was a flame bait--there was enough of a disclaimer. What is wrong with asking if others have had bad experiences with a distributor?

    This would have saved me quite a bit of time, but I thought that with a few exceptions replies were civil, and there was some useful information it in, as there were a lot of misperceptions.

    Misperceptions? Such as the questionable legality of Saloman's actions?

    By the way, Bob has agreed to sign as "Bob Salomon - HP Marketing" (although, as I explaned earlier, I didn't feel that this was an obligation on his part)

    I do! There is a direct conflict of interest in Salomon not identifying himself when he is making recomendations on gear. A matter of ethics.

  9. #59

    Recent problem with Bob Salomon on photo.net / ebay

    This has nothing to do with NAFTA, which deals with items made in NA.

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