- Sep 3, 2003
You're too defensive to look at it objectively. I don't care one way or another - I have more Spyderco knives than any other brand, and I think Sal serves as a good role model for people looking to get into the knife business, but if we all agree that a round hole has a functional advantage over other geometric shapes; so according to that it doesn't qualify for trademark protection under U.S. law. I don't own any Benchmade products, so rest assured I have no ulterior motives there - Spyderco dominates my personal knife collection and that's not due to any one feature or marketing spiel - it's a holistic choice that starts with Sal's persona and ethics, includes several of the design features, the exotic and wide ranging steel choices, the weight, the ergonomics, the compatibility with their proprietary sharpening system, the alternatives they offer in terms of locking mechanisms, and finally I do like the round opening hole. I'll still be collecting various Spydercos even if all the other manufacturers put holes in their knives. I give Sal credit for his personality and ethics, but it's only smart for someone that holds several patents to hold that distinction in higher regard in other patent holders. I won't hold it against him because I'll never know his motives on that, but I won't count it as a purely altruistic move either because like I said, we'll never know someone else's true motives.
The reason that the law is written that way is so companies cannot use Trademark protection to extend patent protection - I didn't write the law. It's only a second thought to me because I would like to see more knives with a hole - some models would be better served with a hole than with a thumbstud. Liner locks are on a ton of knives, Spyderco has a lock that is a lot like the axis lock, something didn't seem kosher about the hole qualifying for extended protection, and now it makes sense (it really doesn't qualify IF we all agree that a round hole has a functional advantage over other shapes). They may pay royalties to use the wave function, but they do not have to pay royalties to use patents that are expired - and given the facts, the round hole should be an expired patent.
If you can't acknowledge that according to the law (functional features cannot be trademarked if they provide a functional advantage over other interpretations of such features) the round Spyderhole (a feature that the majority of us agree is preferential to oval holes, triangle holes, and several other types of holes - the circle is a geometric shape that has many advantages in many uses) may not qualify for trademark protection, perhaps you're too biased to weigh in on this issue. Sometimes you have to admit the facts even with it doesn't align with your brand loyalty or previous argument.
You keep positing that the round opening hole offers a functional advantage over other shapes. In my opinion, and I imagine others' as well, it does not.
And I'm just some guy, not a judge.