I guess I didn't previously note the bit about Millar having been shop manager at Jackson. I suppose that does establish a continuity of sorts, though a skeptic might argue that any real continuity was lost when production was transferred to Bob Jackson, unless of course Millar, Jackson himself, or someone in that firm had been involved with building the frames at the original Hetchins company. I haven't heard that that is the case. Given that possible break in continuity, I'm afraid that I might regard the Millar frames as more "authentic", but only just. This would change of course, if Millar can prove his claims in a court of law, which he so far seems either unable or unwilling to do. Failing that, I think I would conclude that the only "real" Hetchins were those made before Jackson took over, and that both the modern versions are "reproductions" or perhaps "re-creations". Which to buy then (if any)? I'd say the one that most accurately matches the pre-Jackson original.
Come to think of it, trueness to the original is probably at least as important as legal title in establishing the "genuineness" of a classic marque. For example, I don't think anyone disputes the right to produce Bates, formerly held by Ray Etherton and perhaps still retained by him or perhaps sold or perhaps licensed nonexclusively to Classic Cycles UK. But suppose Ray had used his undisputed legal rights to have Bates TIG welded in Taiwan from aluminum. Would the result have been "genuine"? Not in my opinion. What lends the most geniuneness is that Ray had the frames built by a craftsman like Ron Cooper, using Diadrant forks and Cantiflex tubing. This would have lent significant legitimacy to these frames, even if the legal title had been in dispute, as now seems the case with Hetchins.
I would have originally been reluctant to buy an Omega-built Hetchins for fear of abetting copyright infringement, but unless Millar presses his case soon, I'd become interested in a good deal on a well made Hetchins "re-creation" from Omega. In fact, will not Millar's failure to enforce his claimed rights at some point be deemed under British law as having waived exclusive rights, as I believe would be the case under US law?
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; <CNye113219@aol.com> Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2001 12:01 PM Subject: Claim-to-Hetchins-name controversy.
> Yes, Jerry, as the owner of 7 old Hetchins myself, I wonder why the "Fake"
> bikes would not have been shut down immediately. In the USA, a judge would
> have issued an injunction to cease & desist production and advertising upon
> the claimant's presentation of evidence of trade mark infringement (Joe
> Zanoni-Bender, can you elaborate on this for us?)
> As reported here at the time, I talked to Mark Joynt, who is Omega Cycles,
> at the Las Vegas Bike Show and he swore up and down that the David
> Miller/Hetchins company was not registered in any way and had no absolute
> right to use the name. He admitted to being opportunistic in acquiring the
> rights but had no apology... He thought that was strictly free enterprise at
> work, and claimed to have had his attorney research the matter and take all
> the appropriate legal steps to secure the rights to the name Hetchins.
> FWIW, his bikes actually were very cleanly made and use lugs which are a very
> good reproduction of the earlier (1960s) Magnum Opus lug pattern which was
> abandoned (because of the difficulty in making.)
> Please understand that I stand in sentiment with the progressive line of
> Hetchins manufacture which went from Harry H. to Alfie H. to Bob Jackson
> (where David Miller was shop manager) to David Miller's management. For the
> heritage issue, that is a clear line of descendancy. ... But I wonder if
> they followed any proper legal procedures to maintain that "brand." Some
> months ago I was told by David and others that legal action was being
> pursued, but Omega has not relented in promoting themselves as bonafide
> Hetchins makers and they seem pretty confident of their position.
> Meanwhile, I will refer to Omega built Hetchins as "reportedly unauthorized
> versions." The term "Fake" would mean to me that Omega is claiming their
> bikes are Miller-regime Hetchins or a direct descendant, which they are not.
> They are claiming, I infer from their words, that they have resurrected a
> marque which has not been legitimately produced in a while. That is where the
> fight hinges! Time will tell as this drama unfolds.
> Dale Brown
> Greensboro, North Carolina