Never buy from E-Flite, (my new motto). - RC Groups
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Apr 04, 2007, 04:23 PM
Registered User

Never buy from E-Flite, (my new motto).

On the back cover of Model Aviation is an ad for a beautiful electric R/C model of a P-38. I always liked the '38, and was a loyal employee of the Lockheed Corporation. In the process of helping to build 1/4-scale electric-powered, flying model of an historical early Loughead brothers flying boat, I probably know more of the early history of the company than most people do.

If you look at that ad, you will see that E-Flite has sold their souls, by claiming that they have bought a license from Lockheed-Martin, to be able to produce their model. The design and production of all P-38s has long since been paid for, many times over, by U.S. Taxpayers, in dollars, and by those who tested them, and those who rode them into combat, in blood.
This has the stink of tort lawyers, figuring out ways to get money they didn't earn, away from the people who did earn it. You buy from them, if you must. I know I won't.
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Apr 04, 2007, 04:32 PM
Registered User
JWilliams2's Avatar
How do you know they don't have to buy this license? Maybe you should take issue not with e-flite but the people who think they can sell it.
Apr 04, 2007, 04:38 PM
Registered User
PaulBrad's Avatar
Lancer - I'm not sure that I follow your logic here. Lockheed-Martin is the bad guy in the licensing issue. They are requiring the hobby industry to license the name and images of their products regardless of who actually paid for their development. E-Flite is simply stating that they have paid the ransom to be able to produce their kit of the P-38. This notice is actually a good idea as it lets the prospective buyer know that the kit will not have to be pulled from the shelves along with support for kits already purchased due to being busted by Lockheed and its team of lawyers.

I don't think penalizing E-Flight for complying with the license fee, with gun to head, is placing your protest in the correct place. The entire issue of the aircraft industry suddenly demanding licensing fees from the hobby industry is a real problem. Especially when they are demanding fees for airplanes that have been developed with tax payer money and blood as you amply stated. I would hate to penalize the members of our community for dancing to the lawyers tune so they can continue to bring us quality products.

Paul Bradley
Apr 04, 2007, 06:07 PM
ExtremeFlight - 3DHS - Legacy
blucor basher's Avatar
The design and production of all P-38s has long since been paid for, many times over, by U.S. Taxpayers, in dollars, and by those who tested them, and those who rode them into combat, in blood.

Another bizarro thread. I've never before seen a manufacturer castigated for following the law.

Turns out it's true, you can't please all the people all the time, because some of the people simply won't let you, no matter what the circumstances.
Apr 04, 2007, 06:18 PM
Registered User
RyanPSU21's Avatar
The liscensing issue has been brought up many times here. Lockheed seems to be one of the worst offenders of charging high rates to liscense their aircraft usage. That is why GWS refers to it's C130 models as CargoTrans instead of what they really are. Another kit manufacturer had to end production of a kit because they couldn't justify paying the liscense fee as it would make the kit cost too much. Eflite isn't the problem.
Apr 04, 2007, 06:27 PM
Flyin' Ryan
Most of this licensing stuff for models started in the model railroad industry. Some of the carriers decided to start charging a fee for anything with thier logo on it. I heard it was about 10% of the price. Union Pacific was the most noticable carrier to implement this fee. They also charged for any railroad the bought, merged or otherwise had aquired. This really bother many modelers and manufactures. It gave UP a bad image, espcially during a period of huge growth for them. The amount of money they made on licensing was trivial compared with their operating revenue. After several years UP gave up and now lets manufactures use thier logos, names and such without the fee. Lionel was in a long court battle over this, and it seriously hurt them, without impacting UP. What always seemed strange to me, and now how the aviation manufactures are starting to want license agreements, is UP is a transportion company buy railroad locos, cars, ect from manufacture such as EMD, GE, and many others. UP wanted the money for use of thier logos, but the manufactures never wanted anything for use of thier designs. Now aviation manufactures want agreements for long out of production designs.
I think the lawyers have talked the manufactures into this, once the first company started licensing products. No one seems to mind licensing agreements with Nascar, CocaCola, John Deere and others.

Sorry to get longwinded, just thought I would share some of the history, as I understand it.

Apr 04, 2007, 07:02 PM
Foam abuser!
crxmanpat's Avatar
This issue had been bandied about quite a bit last year, and the issue still is not dead. I was actually going to start a post about this myself asfter looking at the back cover of MA yesterday.

It saddens me to see that Horizon (who owns E-flite) has cowtowed to Lockheed's demands for acquiring a license to reproduce an historically accurate representation of a model that has not been in production for over 65 years.

The biggest culprit is Lockheed. But Horizon also shares some blame for going along with the outrageous demands. These are models planes for crying out loud. It's not like someone's out there building full-scale replicas and selling them for profit.

I can agree with licensing for stuff that is currently in production, but requiring licensing for WWII planes is totally ridiculous.

Apr 04, 2007, 07:07 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Lancer31
This has the stink of tort lawyers, figuring out ways to get money they didn't earn, away from the people who did earn it. You buy from them, if you must. I know I won't.
This is Lockheed-Martin screwing extra money out of the model hobby in licenses for planes that were already paid for.....etc. Why would you blame E-Flite because they've been screwed by a huge company in this way ?

My motto is don't buy any models of planes originally built by the evil, money-grubbing Lockheed-Martin company.

Apr 04, 2007, 08:02 PM
Registered User
Yeah, yeah, the EVIL tort lawyers, who make people drive carefully, companies inspect their products for dangerous defects, and professionals maintain competence. What a bunch of jerks.
Apr 04, 2007, 08:03 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Why beat up on LM and E-flight alone??...note that the Top Flight 81" ARF Cessna 310 has the same kind of note in their ad in the very same Model Aviation concerning the license from Cessna/Textron and the the use of trademarked Logos, Emblems and Body Design.

You are going to see more of these everywhere.

As an employee of one of the evil money grubbing companies mentioned (not Boeing, who is certainly as bad as any of them, or Cessna, or Ferrari.., I have run into this issue from time to time and have actually had to refer people on to the place that really does chase down manufacturers and make them buy licenses.

Note that LM has retained a company to handle the licensing of it's trademarked items. LM actually has no direct dealings with the license seekers and does not go around beating up model producers or watching the market for unlicensed products. In fact, on any given day, LM has no idea what negotiations are under way for a license. The licensing company does that on their own.

The fact of trademark law at present is that companies use it to protect their creations and logos that are corporate icons to the companies that produced them. They want some control over who makes money off of what they designed and made a household word.

Even MORE importantly, they also want to be safely isolated from any lawsuits resulting from a licensed product. that part of the deal is key in the license agreement as it required the license holder to have a liability insurnace policy for their product. It is much more about the protection from being sued than it is about the pittance gained from the trademark license. You can tell that from the sample Boeing license agreement that I posted on one of these other threads on this issue.

The argument that LM was paid by the government to design the P-38 is incorrect. It was designed on LMs dollar for a design competition, which they won back in 1937. Ergo, the government did not pay for the design effort which happened prior to any contract.

I personally think that the solution is to have a low cost license for small model producers and a reasonable one for larger model companies. I think the government needs to make some changes in the law.

Don't burn LM at the stake when they are not the only company doing this by a long shot. Do something contructive and work to get the law changed.

Blame the lawyers that created this playing field.

(These are my personal opinions only and should not be taken as any kind of official statement)
Last edited by Thomas B; Apr 04, 2007 at 08:13 PM.
Apr 04, 2007, 08:31 PM
Registered User
I agree. Obviously LM isn't doing it to make meaningless sums of money on the license revenues.

Microsoft sells a lot of copies of Windows to the gov't, so does MS need to let everyone use the Windows logo for free?

My understanding is that if a company does not protect a trademark, it becomes public domain. I could be confused with copyrights though!

It would be interesting to find out how much money an R/C company would have to pay - if it's 10%, then what does that end up being?
Apr 04, 2007, 08:42 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
The Boeing trademark License agreement that I found on the Web wanted 4% royalty with $1000 up front against the revenue, plus at least $1000 in revenue reguardless of sales for a year, plus and this is the big kicker, a two million dollar liability insurance policy that holds Boeing harmless.

It is really about the insurance and the property management firms, not the aerospace company.

Assuming the LM agreement is within a loud shout of the same, the E-Flite P-38 likely has about a 4 dollar hit for the royalty on the wholesale price of the kit. Might be less, doubt it is much more.

Here is the post where I posted the Boeing agreement:

You also need to look at posts 139, 140, 141 and 142 in that thread for the full text of the agreement.

Beating up on E-Flite for following current law on this is wrong. they did not create this system.
Last edited by Thomas B; Apr 04, 2007 at 09:00 PM.
Apr 04, 2007, 08:44 PM
Why not call the model something else. If it looks like a p38 and is called a 83p, who cares. It is still a p38. Gws does just that. Gotta love those gws planes.
Apr 04, 2007, 10:17 PM
Caution:Makes sharp left turns
Troy's Avatar
The reason why guys like Eflight bow down to keeping the original P-38 designation and folks like GWS take "artistic liberties" with their names is because the general patriotic consumers in the US expect a US based company to produce to a certain standard and authenticity while the same folks just sort of expect knock off stuff from China...even though both airplanes are most likely made in China. I'm guessing that there is enough money involved to be worth the extra hassle for Eflight/Horizon (or maybe reputation). On the same token, it is also harder to go after folks in China. But be patient, China is getting more attorneys every day. The firm my wife works at just opened a branch in China.
Apr 04, 2007, 11:26 PM
Team Extreme Flight
Doc Austin's Avatar
There's a myriad of reasons for not buying specific brands, but this sure doesn't seem like a good one to me. I'll keep flying nothing but E Flite and Hangar 9 products because the stuff works.
Last edited by Doc Austin; Jan 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM.

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