On March 1 US aircraft model retailer Planely Speaking (www.planelyspeaking.com
) was served with a cease and desist demand by Delta Air Lines regarding the »sale of infringing Delta aircraft models«.
In the corresponding cease and desist letter (https://www.planelyspeaking.com/files/135703566.pdf
) Delta attorney Paul F. Wellborn III rolled out the heavy artillery. Planely Speaking was alleged to have been »misappropriating« »Delta’s intellectual property« by selling »Delta and/or Northwest-related infringing models from one or more of the following brands/product lines:
(1) Aero Classics (aka AeroClassics);
(2) NG Models (aka Next Generation Models);
(3) Inflight200 (aka Inflight Models)
(4) Blue Box (recent generation)
(5) Green Box (recent generation)
(6) Blank Box;
(7) Byrd Models (recent generation); and
(8) AeroClix Models.«
Therefore »legal superhero« (alleged distinction by Lawyers Weekly USA) Paul F. (“Pete”) Wellborn III (don’t miss https://www.wellbornlaw.com/our-people-pete-wellborn
) pretended to see »a number of causes for legal and equitable relief in Delta’s favor, including: trademark infringement«; »unfair competition«; »deceptive trade practices«; »unjust enrichment«; and »a host of other federal and state law claims« and demanded (on behalf of Delta) that the aircraft model retailer (Planely Speaking):
(1) »immediately upon its receipt of this demand, cease and desist from all offer, sale, shipment, order fulfillment, distribution, and/or other conveyance of ownership or possession of Infringing Models until such time as Delta expressly withdraws or modifies this demand;
(2) not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 5, 2021, take down or otherwise remove all mentions of, depictions of, and other references of any sort to Infringing Models from Planely Speaking’s websites, webpages, social media pages, online advertising, other online presences, and other informational or promotional materials;
(3) provide to Delta a complete and accurate accounting of Planely Speaking’spurchase, offer, sale, shipment, order fulfillment, order solicitation, and/or other distribution of any sort of Infringing Models from January 1, 2017 through the date of your response;
(4) provide to Delta complete and accurate information (including, but not limited to, name, address, contact information, and an accounting of Infringing Model-related transactions) regarding all entities and persons from which/whom Planely Speaking has purchased Infringing Models, received order fulfillment or drop-shipping services in relation to Planely Speaking’s sale or marketing of Infringing Models, or from which/whom Planely Speaking has otherwise acquired Infringing Models or received Infringing Model-related services of any sort; and
(5) acknowledge in writing Planely Speaking’s assent to these terms and its understanding that items (1) through (4) above apply not only to Planely Speaking, but with equal vigor to Planely Speaking’s officers, directors, employees, members or shareholders, partners, agents, successors, assigns, and affiliates, as well as its parent, sibling, commonly controlled, and affiliated entities.«
Before making some specific comments, I would like to clarify that I never had any connections to Planely Speaking and that I was made attentive by third parties (https://www.yesterdaysairlines.com/m...with-licensing
I must confess that I am unpleasantly surprised that an airline that, differing from competitors like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, in the model building world never attracted attention as particular profiteer has decided to go down this road.
First of all, I do have a few questions in this respect.
What does Delta expect from this nut-cracking with a sledgehammer? Will the royalties of repentant licence infringers finance at least the sums billed by Mr. Wellborn’s law firm?
Will the sales of licensed Delta Air Lines aircraft models boost significantly after this intervention?
Will the possible short time profiteers of these claims (Delta’s honest licensees) be in a weaker (for Delta more favourable) negotiating position the next time their valid licences expire?
Will the collector be honest enough to buy only licensed Delta Air Lines aircraft models knowing that the licensor (Delta Air Lines) solely contributed with pricing?
I’m not an attorney, I cannot boast about a reputation of bringing opponents to their knees (www.wellbornlaw.com
). I’m a doctor; my job is to put people back on their feet. Currently Covid-19 does not make it easier.
Covid-19 could also be one reason why »one of the world’s leading transportation and travel service companies« (Delta Air Lines) chose to put pressure on some very small Chinese model manufacturers by intimidating their most vulnerable partners, the US retailers. As comprehensible (or should I say flimsy) as this strategy may be, as repulsive it is for me. Are these tiny Chinese model manufacturers really infringing Delta’s business by producing a few hundreds of miniature models? I fail to see any substantial impact.
Is it not the nature of miniature models that they try to portrait real world objects? Should the protagonists of real life be allowed to reap fees from miniature manufacturers under the guise of intellectual property? At least in Europe some toy- and model makers were steadfast and lucky enough to win lawsuits against the automobile industry.