Roland trademark 808 and 303


Considering how strong Roland is in Japan, I wouldn’t be surprised if we never get the RD808 available here. The Model D and Neutron are also expensive here (closer to $500).


Check out the color changes from the prototype last year to the final version this year.


That’s trade dress. What’s interesting is that Behringer are copying the trade dress of products that haven’t been manufactured for at least 30 years. IMO would be hard for Roland to demonstrate to a court any economic ‘loss’ from this copying given that they haven’t made synths or drum machines that look like this for literally decades.

Maybe Behringer changed the colours of the 808 clone not because it looks like the old 808, but because those colours are currently being used by Roland on the TR8 and TR8S (I.e. current products, where loss is easier to demonstrate).


It will be interesting to see how it all pans out for sure. I guess had Behringer not copied the colour scheme and look they would have less appeal to consumers so that might go in Rolands favour.


I added the photo of the Roland as well. The original prototype was much closer. They flipped the color scheme in several spots. I’m pretty sure if they are investing that much they are having everything cleared by their IP attorneys.


The clone wars!


I think Rolands appointment of a specialist trade mark protection company MarkMonitor could mean that they see it differently, I’d think that such services don’t come cheap and given their history with Behringer I’d suspect they believe they have a strong case.

Not sure if flipping a few buttons and knobs around would be seen as enough distinction especially since there are videos and images showing the earlier prototype.


Yeah, I’m not a lawyer, so we’ll see. With guitars you can pretty much copy a telecaster as long as the headstock is a slightly different shape. It’s very subtle difference.


Good point re Telecaster, and I suppose the same can be said of lots of other products too.


Good point. That principle applies on other industries as well. Cars, shoes, phones, laptops. Imagine how little choice we would have if Apple successfully managed to copyright rectangular boxes with rounded corners. Or Nike with a copyright on basic sneaker designs.


This is an interesting read. It seems that you have register specific elements that you want to trademark (and further notes how Fender was unable to get the body shapes of their guitars registered because they acted too late).


Yeah it seems to be something that isn’t easily decided or even very clearly universal as to what aspects are subject to protection, think back to when Roland went after Propellerhead for the Rebirth app, I wonder if that was to do with trade dress or sounds or a combination of things, that software had been out for years, weird huh?


Stealing code is apparently easier to win.

This is a recent case of just that:


:joy: thats some high level of creativity right there



Because there copyright does apply.


I get the sense some Behringer supporters on this forum would be pissed if Behringer blantantly cloned the Analog 4 or Rytm.

But if it’s Roland. Who cares…


The following is just conjecture of course…

I do think that Roland doesn’t care much about other manufacturers creating fully analogue clones of their old gear. If they were convinced there was a large enough market to make such a thing worthwhile, they surely would have done so themselves.

Roland clearly thinks it makes more sense to properly model their old stuff, and then build modern digital products using those models.

They do however feel a need to protect their heritage in terms of branding and how things look and feel. It will be interesting to see how far they plan to go with this, and what will happen if they do take steps to protect these things.


Or imagine (and it isn’t too much of a stretch) if Behringer started cloning Mutable instruments stuff and other small manufacturers too, companies that would not have the finances or resources to resist.

Still I bet some people wouldn’t have a problem with that either, as long as they can have cheaper gear, yet if they lost their income because of aggressive undercutting in the industry they are in, you can bet they’d have a problem with that. To some people cost and price are the same thing until they are directly affected, then suddenly they seem to learn the difference, the hard way.

Getting a bit off topic now though.


Would be perfectly legal as long as they do not violate any of MI’s trademarks.