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company question

 
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Discoman



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:00 am    Post subject: company question Reply with quote

can't find a place to put this, so i put it here as it makes the most sense.

ahem-does anyone know the status of the graflex inc name/copyright/trademarks?

the reason i ask is because i am interested in acquiring the rights to the company and bringing them back to life.

i plan on making the speed and the super speed, flash setups (remote flash, etc) and flashbulbs (as they easily hit $8 per bulb!) that is in addition to replacement parts for all models and repairs.

good idea or not?
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3258
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Super Graphic rights was sold to and produced for a few years by Toyo.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You either have enough money to run a small third world country or you have awfully big dreams. The days of the press camera are over. It's hard enough to get a decent price out of a really good used one. Now, if you wanted to make a good field camera to sell in the 500.00 range, you would probably sell a few.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some facts for your business model.
Internal records show the Super Speed was designed for the amateur market, because pros would/could handle the cables and wires, but amateurs wanted things clean up a bit. In essence, Graflex new it lost the pro news world back in 1958.

Fast forward to 1973, Toyo bought the tooling because they believed they could make a profit selling a good press camera. It came out in 1978-1980 and was gone within 4 or 5 years, they never turned a profit on it. and this was when silver was still king.
Rumor had it that Bill Cress wanted to do the same thing and may have either gotten the trademark for Graflex or was petitiioning to get it. That was a few years ago and nothing came of it.

So that's three people/companies that have gone down this road.

I believe Toyo still has the trademark rights to the Super and Super Speed Graphic, and if what businessmen tell me is true, they won't sell it to you because it means more to them to keep it from you. They like having control.

The Graflex name may or may not be available. There is a Graflex Inc that makes boresights for the military. A Korean firm had the name Graflex in the US for just about anything under the sun, but never marketed here. These were the guys that made the Graflex lenses and P&S cameras for the Austrailian market.

I'm guessing it's will take a minimum of $1500 to definitively answer the question "Is the Graflex name available and trademarkable?" (It may have gone into public domain by now) Another $3-5K to get it, if it is available, another 10K if somebody contests your peitition.

The big hurdle to over come is quality vs price point.

If you can make a profit, making a camera with the same or better quality (perceived or actual) than the Pacemaker / Anniversary Speed Graphic in the range with a price point of under $400, then you might be able to make a go of it.

More often than not, you can make new and compete with the used market.

I wish you well.

Les

to a google search for "USPTO TARR" (U.S. Pat. and Trademark Office, and TARR is their search engine, then search for 'Graflex')
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, then we get into plant investment, tooling, finding sources for short run machining and stamping (not easy), you get the point.
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Discoman



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, thanks. I guess I might want to try that, screw the cost at the moment-nothing encourages creative thinking like lack of funds.
sooo...acquire the name, I will have to check public records, most company sales are public records, as well as current status of the company.
hmmm... tooling.
luckily I can make some of the tooling(some) and most of the graflex parts are simple really... except the shutter
solution-supply your own shutter and lent.
I would be aiming for a sub $500 camera, which would easily compete with the $2000+ of a linhof
press is the perfect intro to LF, and is quite good all-around. I use my pacemaker for nearly everything as long as I have film. It's not like a monorail, which weighs much more and needs special support.
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mopar_guy



Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Washington, the State

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, it would be impossible to duplicate a Speed Graphic for today's market because each camera would need to have a front shutter and lens. Who would make the shutters for you?
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1892
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has Copal stopped making new shutters?
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Discoman wrote:
I will have to check public records, most company sales are public records, as well as current status of the company.


It's not the company you're looking for, it's a trademark. Now things might have changed since I was given this advice, but I was told that in order to get a trademark registered, you needed to have been using it for some time. I know it sounds bass akwards and it might be different with an already registered name, but at least new trademarks had to be proven to be in use before they can be registered.

The TARR data base is a good start, but even they say you can't rely solely on it. You'll need to get a Trademark/patent attorney to do a proper search.

Les
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Discoman



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

status from database:
live is one company selling powdered graphite, garmet/glove leather company, one company with motors and chucks for drill presses and other machinery, and finally, for fishing rods

those are the only live uses of "Graflex"
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jacaquarie



Joined: 26 Sep 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Capital of the CSA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I have not thought this out either but this is the great idea.
Would not know much of the business side of this but the aspect of making the new 4x5 press camera is quite doable. There is a guy in Australia converting old Polaroidís to the press type camera, not cheep either. There is a market however small.
If you were to start with the Crown Graphic without the focal plane shutter then all you are having to make is the box to keep the dark inside. I do not think the focal plane shutter would be that hard either. Curtain with slots and the spring winder. The best part is this has all been done before so you reverse engineer rather than inventing the wheel.
The racks and front standard with a little thinking could use identical parts rather than the left and right, this reduces the parts count and your costs. Graflok type backs would be easy enough to machine on CNC equipment. And there is small equipment that you could set up the shop in the spare room type of thing.
You would not end up with the camera factory the size of a small town but you would be making your own cameras. Set yourself up and do the small run, to begin make one, with extra parts. That is learning the craft. Once you have the polished product then make the dozen or two and send a couple to the trade magazines to review, get your name out there. The first batch you might find yourself loaning out for others to use to get the feedback on your product. By the second or third time around you have this down and then you go for the collector market, the limited run of the two dozen, this is the price (put number here) and the nice presentation case with accessories that sort of thing. The possible choice of finish or coverings. My first thought is that the rangefinder would be a problem but there are plenty of rangefinders for other purposes that could then be use with the scale focusing as a start. There are still plenty of lens makers. So no problem there.
Who know I just might buy one.

Good luck

Arthur


http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~razzle/

http://www.lautard.com/

http://www.sherline.com/

http://www.cabinfeverexpo.com/

http://www.cameraleather.com/
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