President Bush signs vessel-design act

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President Bush Thursday signed the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act Amendments of 2008 into law.

The amendments, which correct a technical issue in the original VHDPA, provide boatbuilders with increased protection from intellectual property violations that occur through hull splashing.

Hull splashing is the process of replicating an original hull by making copies using a mold made from the hull of another builder’s boat. The Vessel Hull Design Protection Act of 1998 was supposed to protect boatbuilders from this. However, because of the way a hull was defined in the original legislation and subsequent court opinions, enforcement had been curtailed because of the difficulty in proving infringement.

The VHDPA Amendments correct this technical issue, allowing builders the full protection originally intended in the 1998 VHDPA.

“The VHDPA Amendments recognize the great amount of time and money that goes into developing state-of-the-art vessels,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich. “This new and improved VHDPA is a huge step forward in protecting the intellectual property of boat manufacturers.”

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