# Estes knock-offs

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#### shrox

##### Well-Known Member
I have noticed allot of knock-offs of old Estes stuff being sold by various vendors. I have been thinking about it, and to me it seems less than proper.

When I got back into rocketry in 1997 or so, I was dismayed at the selection available. Little more than the same base 3FNC's with different stickers and colored plastic. Most of the classics where not available. I cloned a few from memory, and then I designed my own. People said "Hey cool, where can I get one?" Then I began selling my own designs.

Making a clone of a long time OOP kit for personal fun and flight is fine I think. Taking something that is known to be a design of a well known company is a little crass, especially if you call it the same thing! (A scale model is something different, using parts from a known company is acceptable too, so long as it is fairly generic, ogive cones, conical cones, etc...)

Honestly, it is an homage to build and fly a clone of a favorite kit, it is in bad taste to make and sell them.

shrox

#### Chilly

##### Well-Known Member
That's an interesting point, but there's nothing wrong with selling clones. Seems to me that if the manufacturer is clear about it, there's a market for it, and (most important) Estes doesn't make a legal challenge, then have at it. Personally, I'm thinking real hard about treating myself to a TP Mars Lander for my birthday...

Bottom line is that Estes apparently hasn't seen fit to sic the lawyers on the Cloners. So if they don't have a problem with it, why should anyone else? I wish they'd pay attention to the obvious demand out there and start issuing some of those classics. Interceptors and Saturn IB's immediately come to mind.

#### wwattles

##### Well-Known Member
I'm of the opinion that kits should fall into the realms of pseudo-copyrights. If Estes (or any other manufacturer, for that matter) has deemed it unprofitable to keep producing a kit, for whatever reason, they have the right to do so. If I was looking to get into the business of making clones, I'd probably wait a respectful time for those remnants to clear the shelves at stores (2-3 years or so) before starting to clone. Otherwise I'd feel like I was somehow robbing the originators of business that they have earned.
I'd also probably contact the original makers and let them know that I intend to start cloning, and maybe even buy up some of their kit-specific parts (odd-shaped nose cones come to mind).

WW

#### wyldbill

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by shrox
When I got back into rocketry in 1997 or so, I was dismayed at the selection available. Little more than the same base 3FNC's with different stickers and colored plastic. Most of the classics where not available. I cloned a few from memory, and then I designed my own.
A lot of other people are in the same boat. They remember great kits, and there just aren't many left. This seems to be changing. Estes is putting out some interesting stuff and we've got Fliskits and some others who are concentrating on originals. And we support them (big time). There's still a pretty serious vaccuum tho'. Folks want to build the rocket that they couldn't afford or didn't have the skill to build when they were young.

Originally posted by shrox
Making a clone of a long time OOP kit for personal fun and flight is fine I think. Taking something that is known to be a design of a well known company is a little crass, especially if you call it the same thing!.....Honestly, it is an homage to build and fly a clone of a favorite kit, it is in bad taste to make and sell them.
Funny thing here. None of the cloners I'm aware of are presenting clones as THEIR designs. Everyone knows they're Estes remakes. Estes is not losing any business as they don't offer anything comparable. When they do reissue popular kits, they sell out. Tried to find an ESTES OT lately? They're selling for over sticker on the 'bay. We support Estes as well, I've bough multiples of the new Renegade and Outlander. When I buy a clone kit, I'm paying for convenience. I could go to BMS for cones, TT for tube, TP for decals, here for rings, there for hooks, and end up paying through the nose for shipping unless I've planned for multiple clones and bought in lots. The cloner buys in bulk for me and sells everything I need in a package. The kit isn't any less "real" or less difficult to build. The only work I don't have to do is track down and order the parts (and cut tubes in some cases). Clones are more expensive than the actual parts, but I'm willing to pay for the convenience. I really don't see a difference between buying a kit and cloning it myself, the outcome is the same. The cloner isn't making money by ripping off Estes, they're providing a service that some are willing to pay for.

#### bsexton

##### Well-Known Member
This seems to have stirred up some emotional opinions. Simply stated I believe if you are cloning a kit no longer in production for your personal use it is OK. If you are a vendor doing it for profit ask for permission. It doesn't seem that hard to do, especially since Estes is still in business.

#### GlennW

##### Well-Known Member
I am one of those that responded that it is wrong to sell a clone. However, I took that to mean a currently produced kit. I see no problem with selling a clone kit of an OOP model as long as you have permission. As a matter of fact, one of the posters on the board has been talking of making a new Gemini Titan kit, which I would eagerly buy.

Glenn

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
Well, now scale jobs...those really wouldn't apply as clones would they?

Unless it was exactly the same as the original but would it???

hmmm...this is an interesting twist.

Does NASA own the copyrights on the Little Joe II? I don't think so.

Interesting twist on the cloning issue...scale that is.

sandman

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by sandman
Well, now scale jobs...those really wouldn't apply as clones would they?

Unless it was exactly the same as the original but would it???

hmmm...this is an interesting twist.

Does NASA own the copyrights on the Little Joe II? I don't think so.

Interesting twist on the cloning issue...scale that is.

sandman
So guess we should call them...SCONES!

#### jflis

##### Well-Known Member
scale models wouldn't apply.

While the internal workings and such may (probably *are*) protected and/or classified, the shape of the rocket is public domain (heck, YOU paid for the darned thing! )

The only risk is if you were foolish enough to just photo copy the Estes instruction set and/or cover art. Other than that, you're cool.

Interesting point here... ...Ever notice that when Estes (or anyone else for that matter) produced a scale kit (like the Saturn V), they would put the TM symbol on the name... ...hard to trademark a public domain term, 'specially one already in use by the originating entity...

#### loopy

##### Well-Known Member
I selected Shrox is a Rocket Deity in the Dark Art of Rocketry. His powers are great...

This is kind of an unfair/loaded question because there is a distinction between cloning OOP kits with permission (seems to be the bulk of what we see) versus cloning something in production with no permission, and submitting it for direct competition with the creating entity. I don't think I'd want to have to compete against my own intellectual property...

That being said, it seems as though proper steps have been taken (at least by the entities on this board) to ensure proper credit is given, and they are not setting up a competitive environment.

Oh, and Shrox is a Rocket Deity in the Dark Art of Rocketry. His powers are great...yes, they are...lol Shrox - I'm glad you joined our little microcosm of rocketry fanatics - you certainly fit in here...

#### cydermaster

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Loopy
Shrox - I'm glad you joined our little microcosm of rocketry fanatics - you certainly fit in here...
Amen Brother Loopy!