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Old 03-06-2007, 11:59 AM
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Default Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

Trout Bums | Cataloging your fly-tying names

By Randal Sumner
Special to The Seattle Times

The new fly-fishing catalogs started showing up at my house a few weeks ago. I had gotten Cabela's, L.L. Bean, Orvis, my favorite, Kaufmanns' Streamborn; and about another 50 pounds of others. It was late January and the fishing on the Yakima was slow. The river was low and clear and the water temp was around 38 degrees.

Most of the trout bums I know were tying flies that time of year. It's pleasant work. The tying stuff is cool in a weird, roadkill kind of way. I've got pieces of elk, deer, squirrel and other varmints, plus partridge and some expensive chicken feathers. There is tying thread, wire and hooks. We're tinkerers working on our latest super-fly ideas. That is what tying is really all about — our ideas about bugs and trout. In a complicated world this is pretty simple stuff: We tie up our latest idea and test it out on the trout. Testing, testing, always testing.

There are several schools of fly-tying, in a way similar to various movements in art. Minimalism, super-realism, postmodernism and, of course, impressionism. I find the older I get, the more minimalist my ties are becoming. For example, I rarely use dubbing on my Mayflies, just thread to form the bodies. Last fall I tied all my Blue Winged Olives without tails and an oversized Dun parachute. The trout bought them like an art collector at a Van Gogh yard sale.

One of the more quirky twists of modern fly-fishing is trademarking and naming flies after yourself. As you page through Kaufmanns' catalog you'll notice he has invented and trademarked a bunch of patterns; Kaufmanns stoneflies, pheasantails, wooly buggers etc. You need to be careful not to tie these trademarked patterns. I think it could be against the law; you don't want a run in with the fishing police.

I've wondered about this naming business from time to time. When you're a little kid, do you dream of a fly with your name; like a bridge or an opera? What if Pablo Picasso had been born in Montana to a fly-fishing clan? He could have left us with the Picasso midge, instead of a world visually enriched beyond imagination.

I would have liked to have fished with Pablo's flies, and you can bet they would have caught fish.

So here's my advice, dear trout bums: If you do invent a fly that is really deadly, keep it to yourself. Don't name it, don't sell it, use it often and die with the secret. Now that is truly inspiring.

Trout Bums appears on the first Tuesday of each month. Randal Sumner owns Blue Skies Guide Service on the Yakima River at Blue Skies Fly Fishing Guide - Yakima River, WA. He can be reached at guides@blueskiesfishing.com.

Article Courtesy of the Seattle Times Company www.seattletimes.nwsource.com


Copyright © The Seattle Times Company www.seattletimes.nwsource.com
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I can understand Kaufman copyrighting some of his patterns. However, I'm not sure copying them for your own use is breaking the law. Certainly if you were selling them, it would be a different matter. Honestly, I don't think a copy I would make of one of them would be authentic and accurate enough that it would constitute copyright violations. Is this guy really serious, or is he just pulling our leg?
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I'd suggest a leg pull

Trademarks aren't over what constitutes the product just the name. Lots of others selling stimulators but only Umpqua has the trademarked Kaufmann's Stimulator
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I don't trademark nor copywrite my flies. I am sure that I have tied some unique flies. NO I didn't tell anyone about them either. You can most likely guess why. Some flies I'm proud of and some I'm not. The ones that I'm proud of I save for Christmas presents. A $4.00-12.00 fly box and put in a dozen or two flies and that makes a nice gift to handout to my coworkers. At least I think so. I like to show off my flies and enjoy giving them to people that can appreciate them. I guess that tying has given me the opportunity to challenge myself in many ways. I'm always trying to tie a perfect flie that will catch fish. Also, I'm trying to find something unique that I can say I invented it. The fly fishing pressure it very light where I live and therefore I don't feel the need to keep a hot pattern a secret. I will never have the marketing that would put my name on a fly that others would identify with it and therefore I don't worry about it. It would be nice to sit back on a stream and watch a fisherman catch a fish and think; well that guy just caught a fish because of me.
So, to keep your hot patterns a secret. Ha! Not me.
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

Reactor,

I tye for the fun of tying.

didnt think of offering up my hook laiden feathers and fur as christmas gifts, seems like a great way to share your passion with others. many of the patterns I tye I give to freinds or family and ask them to fish it along with me. you never know, your buddy can fish the exact pattern you are and catch fish left and right wile you on the other hand come up blank.

I agree with you, why should I be the only one to enjoy catching fish on something I made??

grant it, it would be nice to help offset the cost of materials from time to time by selling your hot patterns when sombody puts an order in for a dozen or so. just a thought
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:19 AM
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Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I derive a great deal of satisfaction from building my rods, tying my own flies and coming up with new patterns or improvements or innovations, tying and customizng my own leaders. It gives this fabulous sport a sort of "what goes around comes around feel." Andy Kim, a phenomenal guide and fly tier on the San Juan and I, once had a discussion about registering his flies in patent. He felt that his patterns were stolen and someone wrote a book calling his patterns theirs, (Midge Magic). I know for fact that Andy was marketing his flies long before the book, however, he did not act to write his own book soon enough. Andy is still one angry fly fishing pro. It's hard to put restrictions on creativity and thinking.. midgeaholic
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:20 AM
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Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I derive a great deal of satisfaction from building my rods, tying my own flies and coming up with new patterns or improvements or innovations, tying and customizng my own leaders. It gives this fabulous sport a sort of "what goes around comes around feel." Andy Kim, a phenomenal guide and fly tier on the San Juan and I, once had a discussion about registering his flies in patent. He felt that his patterns were stolen and someone wrote a book calling his patterns theirs, (Midge Magic). I know for fact that Andy was marketing his flies long before the book, however, he did not act to write his own book soon enough. Andy is still one angry fly fishing pro. It's hard to put restrictions on creativity and thinking.. midgeaholic
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

I can see cataloging to save the data...but copyrighting??? Get real.....
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

With so many tyers trying to imitate lots of the same bugs and using the materials commercially available, dosen't seem inevitable that a few are going to come up with the same receipe? Short of trademarking or publishing how would you know who did it first?
Most of my "improvements and modifications" come from being to cheap or lazy to run out and buy or locate the exact materials for pattens I see. If I substitute a hook (or even a hook size) , a shade of dubbing or material can I claim the right to name the fly? I don't think so... I think I'd be hard pressed to tie an imitation of a common aquatic bug that you couldn't find a similar version of in any 10 year old catalog.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: Cataloging your fly-tying names - by Randal Sumner

Hey guys... I think there is some misinformation going on here about trademark, patents, and copyright. There are lawyers that make good bucks in these fields - so it's not something that is easy to simplify in law.

Having said that, I doubt that someone could put a patent on a fly unless it was using some very unique and new materials. Or perhaps some new and unique tool to tie flies could be patented.

Trademarks are interesting and I doubt very much that it would stop anyone from making any claims about a fly's recipe. I could create a fly, give it a name and then register a trademark for that name - you go out and make the same fly and just give it another name. Check out the Wikipedia entry on trademark for a better understanding of what it is.

But as far as copyright, a "recipe," like the rules of a game, are not copyright as far as I know. It is my belief, and a lawyer can correct me if I'm wrong (but I've had a lawyer already explain this to me) that a recipe for anything can be written anywhere.

However, the instructions for how the recipe goes together.. the "cooking" so to speak, IS copyright and you can't just use someone else's work to explain the process.

It IS unfortunate that there are some who don't do the "right" thing in giving others credit - but it happens in life.

One thing that many fly tiers have done, when they make changes to an existing fly, they call it by the original name but add the word "Variant" after. I think that's pretty cool. "H & L Variant" comes to mind.
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