UP takes royalties from model mfg's for name use

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by aartwmich, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    I saw this on the news the other night..it may be old news because I don't watch very often.

    They said Union Pacific has won royalty rights to any model produced that bears thier road name as well as other road names that are now defunct because UP bought them and shut them down.

    A model manufacturing rep (I don't know which mfg) was saying that it added $3-$5 to every items retail price.

    It sounded like it was a done deal rather than one in process.

    Anyone know about this? Seems silly..but litigation is many folks bread basket.
  2. Doug Trouten

    Doug Trouten New Member


    Ummmm Last I heard both the US Patent Office and a Judge have said that UP Does Not have the authority to charge any royalty fees on the fallen flag railroads that it now owns.
  3. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    I hope the mfrs don't pay the "tax." I think it is outrageous espically since everything goes upevery 6 months!:curse:
  4. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    It seems that the Union Pacific has always been a nasty bunch, from the days when they were building their half of the trans continental railroad --- and making the route zig zag as much as they could in order to con more mileage money out of the government.

    But we have to expect the sort of thing they're doing now. It is, after all, the age of the MBA and the EMBA --- with all the irrational, immoral, and short-sighted thinking that goes with it.

  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    At first glance it appears that they are merely trying to control their registered trademark, which companies have been doing for ages.

    At second glance it looks like they are trying to make some money in the process, kind of like Disney or Warner Bros licences, which IMO is still fair play.

    But at third glance a royalty for fallen flags looks like a greedy little cash grab of dubious legality.

    Instead of paying them for using their logo, they should be paying US for all the free advertising. I'll bet UP won't be the last to go this route. :cry:

    Freelance RR anyone?

  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I offer a healthy discout to gaugers for use of the P-K logo :D :D :D
  7. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Big name manufacturers of boxed breakfast cereals and soft drinks pay big bucks to film producers to get their names and logos on the movie screens and TV screens.

    I wonder what UP would do if everytime a modeller ran a UP or fallen flag train in a public setting (train show etc) then sent an advertising fee invoice to UP for the $3-5 extra charge per item paid per item displayed. Thousands of invoices...

    If nothing else, might make them think.
  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Hereby and heretofore know that from this day forward that the name "Basic and Mostly Credible RR" and the names of all it's subsidiaries aquired through ruthless greed and avarice are protected and registered trademarks and property of Shaygetz, Scrouge and Marley Inc. All models bearing said protected logos are required to bear the familiar chartruse, puse and avacado seal of approval available upon receipt of licensing fees not to exceed 125% of the base price of logo bearing item. All violaters will be summarilry executed but not before they see their entire steam locomotive roster carefully repainted in Auto-Train purple, white and red. Further violations will require surviving offspring to sing the praises of the ICC and the Teamsters Union and take up stamp collecting and bird watching.

    So much for the amiabl world of freelance modeling:p
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Folks What I fear the most is the other railroads including short lines will follow UP lead in wanting a license fee for the use of their logos..

    Of course I have often wondered who is truly to blame for this due to the high costs of quality locomotives and cars.One can not help but wonder if the manufacturers made their selves a target of this licensing fee due to the ever increasing prices of locomotives and cars??

    It does appear to be a very lucrative business to those out side of the hobby due to those high MSRP we commonly see and I fully believe this got somebodies attention at UP and they thought it would be nice to get a slice of the pie for the use of their logos.:(

    Folks I have read tons of topics whining about the UP and how they are the bad guys..BUT nobody has looked for a reason besides greed by the UP..I am not defending UP ( I think they are wrong headed in this)but am attempting to show there may be more then meets the eye at first glance.Doesn't it appear strange that for years no railroad except the Chessie ever tried a licensing fee and now that the prices of quality locomotives and cars has shot through the roof we see the UP wanting a licensing fee? How much longer will it be before the other railroads chime in wanting a fee for the use of their logos?
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Good point, Brakie. There can appear to be a large profit to be made from the modeling community in their willingness to spend what they spend on accurate models.

    In this day and age of affordable, quality desktop publishing and graphics, I see this as a boon for forums like ours, not to advocate piracy, but to preserve legacies. The exchange of accurate histories, color data and graphics between like minded modelers can only grow from this. As a potential modelmaker, I could easily see the day when I would offer the base paint jobs only, leaving striping and lettering up to the modeler. How many decal sets are out there bearing "United Package Service" and "Allied Parcel Service" to get around UPS's desire to "protect" their logo from the modeling community?

    Nature abhors a vacuum---and wanton profit mongering. If all else fails, we'll go back to the daze of model railroads with names like "Chucklehead and Ticklefoot", "Gorre and Daphitid" and "Basic and Mostly Credible"---oops, I'm already there.
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Absolutely todays modelers are far more advanced then the modelers of olden times..If a modeler has access to a computer there is nothing he/she can't find out about their favorite railroad which leads to more accurate modeling..Of course this also helps those that freelance their own railroads as they can get ideas on what their railroad should be and what it should do for a living.
    Todays accurate models only leads this facet of the hobby.

    Paul Graf of Atlas said that UP is one of their biggest selling road names so we can perhaps see why UP wants a licensing fee.Seems to me that NS,CSX and BNSF ranks right up there with UP as far as being popular among modelers seeing all the engines and cars that come in those road names.So,I fear it may be just a matter of time before they want their slice of the pie.
    I hope I am wrong about this as I see that this will only drive prices up farther then they are now and I really don't think the hobby as a whole can afford that to happen..:(
  12. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Another good reason to model the Penn Central! :D
  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Loved those wrestlin' worms on the side of GG1s....
  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Any Body Else Remember

    Am I the only "old goat" that remembers???? This same thing came up years and years ago. Turned out only to be a false rumor. Any offical source mentioned?
  15. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Unfortunately Vic, this is for real. I checked it out at the UP website, where they have downloadable application forms for the licence.

    Here it is.

    :curse: Val
  16. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    "These restrictions do not apply to in-home model railroad hobbyists who create Union Pacific-branded equipment for personal use."

    Rest well, at least they won't try to machine gun us in our own homes...yet:rolleyes:
  17. hawkeye2

    hawkeye2 New Member

    UP contact

    There is one thing missing from this discussion (and comments in magazines) and that is the NAME and contact info for someone in the UP to whom we may send our protests. Perhaps an overwhelming negative reaction fom the model rr and railfan communites will cause them to rethink this. There will be NO UP equipment on my model rr.

    Vic, I too remember an incident like this a number of years ago but I remember it as more than a rumor. Was it Amtrak, and did the rr back down?
    As CEO of the Shenandoah & Northern I have issued the folowing directive. No equipment bearing the UP logo and/or reporting marks will move over S&N trackage untill one or more of the following conditions have been met: All goods to be transfered to S&N cars at shipper's cost, UP logos and reporting marks to be obliterated before travleing over S&N trackage, restoration costs billed to UP, payment of substantial royalties and fees for advertising. While the Shenandoah & Northern (soon to be changed to Shenandoah & Southern, we will reverse the direction of our operations) may be the underdog we will hold our ground in what we regard as the second major act of Northern agression.
  18. trainworm

    trainworm Member

    as far as i know, the only thing that Amtrak did was sign a contract with Walthers so that they are the only ones that are allowed to use their logo on new models or something like that. or maybe it was just one paint scheme that walthers has the rights to.

    i have no problem with UP protecting their logos, but they could have found a better way to do it.

    btw, why does this topic keep coming up? it was first reported almost 6 months ago. isnt everyone tired of bashing the UP yet?
  19. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Re: UP contact

    Good idea hawkeye2! Consumer protests can be very effective. As far as the name of the contact at UP, you could find it by following the link I posted to UP's website and doing a little digging, but I'll save you the trouble.

    Brenda Mainwaring
    Director, Corporate Relations
    Union Pacific
    1416 Dodge St., Room 801
    Omaha, NE 68179
    UP Main No. 402-271-5000
    Fax: 402-271-6515

    Give'em hell!
    :p Val

    PS: Ironically, there's a page of all the logo's UP claims ownership for, including all the fallen flags. Perfect size for download!

    PPS: For a little more insight into their licensing program download the application form. It's 3 pages long!
  20. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    As a Santa Fe fan (NOT BNSF), I never get tired of UP bashing, and it has nothing to do with their demand for royalties. I simply find armour yellow to be totally disgusting color.

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