US manufacturers prohibited from selling black-railed bodyboards

June 22, 2016 | Bodyboarding
Morey Boogie: the black rails are a trademark of Wham-O

Wham-O, the company that owns the brands Morey Boogie and BZ, is asking fifteen US bodyboarding companies to stop producing boards with black rails.

The toy firm headquartered in California wants to make sure its unusual 30-year-old trademark is effectively respected and protected.

"We are not suing anyone. We are simply going to enforce the trademarks and patents that the previous owners did not. We are working with companies to do it in a fair and easy way," a manager at Wham-O tells SurferToday.

"Most companies have not had a problem with it. A lot of owners of the board companies actually knew of the trademarks being out in the world."

The trademark 73502631 was filed on the 5th October 1982. The document reveals that "the mark consists of a continuous black stripe applied to each of the two parallel longitudinal side edges of the goods [bodyboards]."

But can the black rails be considered a relevant innovation? Why did Wham-O decide to send emails to 15 companies operating in the USA and Puerto Rico?

"It's not an innovation. We simply want to keep Morey the original and the black rails was one of Tom Morey's first creations. We want people to see boards with the black rails and automatically know they are a Morey or a BZ," explains the management team at Wham-O.

The company also notes "these companies can still make and sell the items outside of the US," and there are no plans to extend the patent to the entire world.

But there's more. Wham-O is chasing manufacturers that are infringing the patents behind the iconic Churchill swim fins. The color combination and the classic shape will stop being commercially imitated.

"The Churchill fin shape is one of the most iconic designs in the bodyboarding world. For many years, the previous owners did not enforce the patents and trademarks, and many copycat fin companies came about. We are simply honoring the Churchill family by protecting what Owen Churchill invented many years ago," the source underlines.

Wham-O was founded in 1948 by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin. In the past decades, the company marketed multiple popular toys including the Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Slip 'N Slide, Superball, and others.

"We are expanding into more accessories for 2017 and also working on getting better quality boards and fins made. There has been a lack of development and focus on quality in years past with Wham-O's surf brands, and we want to back up the name with good quality products," Wham-O concludes.

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