Possible clue to the compact story - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-30-2007, 11:50 PM   #1
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Many have noted the observation of similarities between Hunter, Compacts, Havasu. Some bear the tags of Hunter industrusties of Chatsworth, CA., another on E-bay, being sold by a member of this formum clearly has a tag, Family Wagon, Compact Equipment Company of Irwindale, California. Doing a search for Family Wagon and Compact Equipment Company I came across this site which gave the background for a tax conflict/judgement. Seems there was a company Trafco that made recreational vehicles , and while having difficulties sold off some subsiduaries. The Compact Equipment Company changed hands and and was produce under the label Family wagon. I wonder if Trafco as parent company provided the basis for Hunter, Havasu , Compact or whether the distinctions came after Trafco sold off.It looks like Family Wagon came into being about 1975.

Another one else want to add to the story.



http://law.onecle.com/tax/1999/compact.tcm.wpd03.html
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:39 AM   #2
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I remember "Family Wagon" as being a Dealer option Van Conversion back in the mid '70s. You could get a Dodge Van, and have a Plush interior with a seat that folded into a double bed, and a sink and Ice-box, and a stereo system with lots of speakers, and a raised fiberglass roof.

I think a lot of Families were started in those vans...
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:50 AM   #3
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My Dad never let me go out with any guy that had a van.

I am sure we have a lot of molds that have tripped from one company to the other and just got modifications and face lifts. I also wish I know more about patent laws (Did I just say that? ) to figure out how so many of these appear to be identical in every way except for a skulpty bit here, or a light there... and manufacturers get away with it.

I guess there isn't a lot you can do to make them different.. kinda like cars. The ones that are REALLY different command a much higher $$$$.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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My Dad never let me go out with any guy that had a van.

I am sure we have a lot of molds that have tripped from one company to the other and just got modifications and face lifts. I also wish I know more about patent laws (Did I just say that? ) to figure out how so many of these appear to be identical in every way except for a skulpty bit here, or a light there... and manufacturers get away with it.

I guess there isn't a lot you can do to make them different.. kinda like cars. The ones that are REALLY different command a much higher $$$$.
Patents are an interesting thing. There's several possible reasons why the identical appearance. If the original inverter never got a patent, then nobody else can. It's called prior art.
Another, you think you've got it nailed. You've sent a lot of money on patent lawyers and patent fees, etc. Now you're got your patent. Along comes somebody that does just a bit more and better digging than your lawyer and finds in another country an bit of paper describing what you've just got a patent for. You guess it, prior art. Your is not supportable.
You'd be amazed at how much and often this happens.
A patent is full disclosure. Your invention is now public knowledge. Somebody comes along and makes an improvement on your invention, and patents the improvement. All sorts of things happen here.
Many companies don't bother, but rather rely on their position in the market place to sell a product that doesn't have a patent, but does have some trade secrets. Coke-A-Cola is probably the best know for this.

OOPS, Don't intend to hi-jack this thread.

Back OT. Kent very interesting. It seems that many of these little trailers history is lost in the misty fog of time.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:12 PM   #5
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While I agree that what Bryon has said is true, I also think that it does not apply to trailer shapes, because they are not patentable in the first place.

You might get a registered industrial design, but there is nothing functionally unique about the shape, so any no patent should ever be issued for them. The patent world is far from perfect, and many unworthy patents have been issued, but the shape of a trailer would be a pretty extreme case.

Think of it like copyrights: a composer copyrights a song, but cannot patent it; a trailer manufacturer could register the shape of their bodyshell, but if they don't, anyone can copy it.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:44 PM   #6
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In order to patent an invention, uniqueness is required. As Brian B-P has mentioned more than once, appliances, lights, hitches, and many other various components are easily available and interchangeable. FG is used in many applications so is not unique either. Even the design may not qualify as unique as most configurations have been used in other tt's..
Many of the companies that manufactured FG trailers are/were small marginal companies and if they in fact had a patent, they would be hard pressed to fight to protect it.
Trade names and Trade marks are generally registered by state, by country, or internationally. A name such as "family wagon" may not be registerable if found to be in the general domain as a commonly used combination of words. As such, anyone can use the combination.
China is now manufacturing a "Mercedes". It is a direct copy of the Mercedes with a Chinese name of course. It will be interesting to see what if anything, Mercedes will do.
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gina D. View Post
My Dad never let me go out with any guy that had a van.
My mother would have approved. She bought a new car and as my sister and I were about to start driving, she managed to get a special-order MG built with a reclining seat on the driver's side (for her back problems) but with a non-reclining seat on the passenger side (to avoid other 'problems').
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