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Timmyjoe
02-04-2016, 15:25
There seems to have been so many knock-offs of the Leica Barnack cameras. Everyone from Nikon to Canon to the Russians seemed to have made copies, some of them looking pretty much like the Leica's.

Did Leica every sue any of these manufacturers for blatantly copying their designs?

michaelwj
02-04-2016, 15:34
As far as I know, it was open season on German patents post war. This is also why there were a lot of Zeiss lens copies, and why there are no M copies, with it being post-war.

Keith
02-04-2016, 15:35
And the same question can be asked about all the Rolleiflex knock offs IMO. Minolta, Yashica etc all made cameras that from a distance can't really be distinguished from the Rollei TLRs.

DominikDUK
02-04-2016, 15:47
After WW1 and WW2 all German patents were voided as war compensation, if that weren't the case let's just say Armstrong would never had set foot on the moon or Laika seen the earth orbit. The Mig and Sabre jetfighters would also never have existed.

oltimer
02-04-2016, 15:51
And the 1st beautiful frame lines in the Canon 7s and Z?

Robert Lai
02-04-2016, 18:07
Leica didn't sue, but Zeiss certainly complained that Nikon was too similar to Zeiss' own Ikon and the unsuspecting consumer may end up buying cheap Japanese goods rather than the proper German one. For that reason, for years Nikon cameras in Germany were labelled as "Nikkor".

With the pre-war patents invalidated, Leica had to come up with a new lens mount which they COULD PATENT - the "M" mount. The rest is history.

Timmyjoe
02-04-2016, 18:20
Wow, thanks folks, wasn't aware of all that.

citizen99
02-05-2016, 00:15
I think I read somewhere that the Soviets built the first FEDs, in the 1930s, under licence from Leica; I will no doubt be corrected if applicable. On the other hand someone might be able to point to a documentary record - either way; the 'net is full of unqualified assertions ;) .
ADDITIONAL : according to Wikipedia (they point to a reference), Leitz had no patents registered in the USSR.

santino
02-05-2016, 00:21
They probably did not sue Olympus but there was a problem with their Olympus M1 - later changed to OM 1.

sevo
02-05-2016, 00:53
For that reason, for years Nikon cameras in Germany were labelled as "Nikkor".


... and official "Nikkor F" imports may have reached Germany with several years delay - I have not yet encountered any meter prism prior to Ft with a Nikkor inscription.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 02:08
Patents and Trademarks are not the same thing Zeiss Ikon is a Trademark. Trademarks were not voided.

Also Zeiss Ikon was the result of WW1 Germany had to consolidate it's photographic industry (peace treaty the french and others wanted to kill the German optical industry) and the only way the German could do it was to create a super optical company, not unlike BAC/BAE in the UK, by forcing a merger of the better known optical companies into one Zeiss Ikon was born.

Leitz and a few other were Lucky that they weren't part of that forced merger.

David Hughes
02-05-2016, 02:25
Hi,

In the 30's I don't think FED and so on sold their cameras in Germany, they were for the USSR only. So Leitz couldn't sue in Germany and I don't think that the USSR recognised the idea of a patent. So it wasn't illegal there. Unlike some countries copying and mass producing 'Barker' pens and Scotch whisky... (The funniest was a 'Wobley' revolver.)

What was 'forced' on Germany was quite mild compared to what Germany forced on France and Belgium in 1914 and most of Europe from 1939 and then the USSR in 1941.

Regards, David

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 03:03
The term forced merger was a statement of fact and is actually a technical term.

The peace treaty of Versailles is considered one of the main reasons for Hitler's rise and WW2. So what was forced on Germany did have a major impact on the world and not in a good way.
The whole situation in the middle east is also the result of WW1 and the peace treaties with the Ottoman Empire.

I believe the SA African way truth and reconciliation commision was a good idea,it isn't perfect but it was a step in the right direction and if WW1 would have been handled the same way WW2 would never have happened.

Back to the thread

The Soviet Union just like Muslim States (there is no copyright law in many muslim states) did not fully accept the concept of copyright or maybe it was payback for Lenin :)

sevo
02-05-2016, 03:55
The term forced merger was a statement of fact and is actually a technical term.

The peace treaty of Versailles is considered one of the main reasons for Hitler's rise and WW2. So what was forced on Germany did have a major impact on the world and not in a good way.



Versailles doubtlessly messed with the German psyche, indirectly helping the Nazi climb to power, and caused considerable poverty in the post war era. But the camera industry actually was one of the few booming segments in 1920's Germany, against the general trend and impact of Versailles, and its crisis (that led to a series of state assisted mergers that ended in Zeiss Ikon) was a consequence of the global economic crisis and the reduced consumption it caused world-wide, and not a consequence of WWI, Versailles or indeed any development inside Germany.

jarski
02-05-2016, 04:14
Kiev 88 "Hasselbladski" was copied in 1950's, so interesting why Soviets didn't copy Leica M. maybe earlier Barnack copies were considered sufficient, and had started to evolve on their own.

FrozenInTime
02-05-2016, 04:41
There is one famous communist led production Leica M copy
http://farm1.staticflickr.com/123/380659172_ca3a3017db.jpg

http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Red_Flag_20

Keith
02-05-2016, 04:53
Did Leica ever sue?


No they didn't ... and stop calling me Sue! http://purelight-photography.co.uk/Forum/Smileys/OversizedACinBlack+extras/yay!.gif

Sorry! :o

jarski
02-05-2016, 04:58
There is one famous communist led production Leica M copy
http://farm1.staticflickr.com/123/380659172_ca3a3017db.jpg

http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Red_Flag_20

:p

couple decades on, those with Red Flag 20 lenses could use them in Leica MP Gold 60 Years PRC (https://flic.kr/p/eUjpTh)!

Lucadomi
02-05-2016, 05:01
So, did Leica come up with the first rangefinder camera or there were others before?

Timmyjoe
02-05-2016, 05:12
:p

couple decades on, those with Red Flag 20 lenses could use them in Leica MP Gold 60 Years PRC (https://flic.kr/p/eUjpTh)!

That is God awful ugly. I hope the person who came up with that idea got moved out of the design department.

Lucadomi
02-05-2016, 05:23
1916 Kodak camera with telemeter:
http://lowres-picturecabinet.com.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/43/main/5/83686.jpg


On 35mm the Contax 1 was also very old. Was the Leica II the first one?

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 05:26
That however is mixing up many different things. Versailles doubtlessly messed with the German psyche, indirectly helping the Nazi climb to power, and while it caused considerable poverty in the post war era. But the camera industry actually was one of the few booming segments in 1920's Germany, against the general trend and impact of Versailles, and its crisis (that led to a series of state assisted mergers that ended in Zeiss Ikon) was a consequence of the global economic crisis and the reduced consumption it caused world-wide, and not a consequence of WWI, Versailles or indeed any development inside Germany.

Sevo we are both wrong me with Versailles and you with the Global crisis the merger was in 1926 a great year for German Cinema and the Germany optical Industry, the BAC/BAE example was correct though a state forced merger to create one big and stronger company (neither was the case in the end Bae was the death knell to British aviation and Zeiss Ikon to most of the German independent Camera mfg.) BAE is one of the worlds biggest weapons mfg these days but the A is more or less a thing of the past.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 05:39
So, did Leica come up with the first rangefinder camera or there were others before?

No they didn't Leica didn't come up with any firsts,it wasn't the first 35mm camera and it wasn't the first rangefinder camera. The first non coupled rangefinder(telemeter) cameras were build in the 1890's. The Multi-Speed Shutter Co. Simplex (1914) was the first full frame 35mm (production) camera. One load was 400 shots a later model had an even bigger film mag. 800 shot. Leica was really good at marketing.

goamules
02-05-2016, 05:49
After WW1 and WW2 all German patents were voided as war compensation, if that weren't the case let's just say Armstrong would never had set foot on the moon or Laika seen the earth orbit. The Mig and Sabre jetfighters would also never have existed.

And if wishes were candy it would be Christmas all year long. And we'd all be speaking German now, and millions of Germans wouldn't have been bombed into submission by the US and the Soviets after they started a futile war to take over the world. Yeah.... want to moan a little more about it? Never is a long long time, we would have been to the moon, and we probably would have been there faster if we didn't have to save Europe from the German holocaust and Lebensraum initiatives. I'd say it's a good thing we turned V-2 vengeance technology to something to something like the space program, and that Leica camera clones took over the world, instead of Nazi clones.

kbg32
02-05-2016, 05:55
After Germany's fall in WWll, the Soviets dismantled the Contax and BMW motorcycle factories and moved them to Russia.

goamules
02-05-2016, 06:07
After WWII, the Americans established the Marshall Plan, which besides giving Europe millions of dollars in food and aid, brought 3,000 Europeans to America for 6 month visits to learn new industrial techniques. There was a similar program in agriculture.

The Marshall Plan was set up because the Soviets under Stalin were attempting to allow chaos and starvation to keep Europe destabilized. They wanted to get more land and punish Germany more, besides what they already had, and their Iron Curtain that created generations of post-war occupation and arms races. Truman established the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and other programs to get Germany back on it's feet faster. Same with Japan, we rebuilt the countries that had attacked us.

Lucadomi
02-05-2016, 06:09
No they didn't Leica didn't come up with any firsts,it wasn't the first 35mm camera and it wasn't the first rangefinder camera. The first non coupled rangefinder(telemeter) cameras were build in the 1890's. The Multi-Speed Shutter Co. Simplex (1914) was the first full frame 35mm (production) camera. One load was 400 shots a later model had an even bigger film mag. 800 shot. Leica was really good at marketing.

Thanks. That is very interesting.
I wander what were the basis of their patent.

Lucadomi
02-05-2016, 06:20
After WWII, the Americans established the Marshall Plan, which besides giving Europe millions of dollars in food and aid, brought 3,000 Europeans to America for 6 month visits to learn new industrial techniques. There was a similar program in agriculture.

The Marshall Plan was set up because the Soviets under Stalin were attempting to allow chaos and starvation to keep Europe destabilized. They wanted to get more land and punish Germany more, besides what they already had, and their Iron Curtain that created generations of post-war occupation and arms races. Truman established the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and other programs to get Germany back on it's feet faster. Same with Japan, we rebuilt the countries that had attacked us.

So generous. Did drop a nuclear bomb there at the end of the war I think. But that is all good.

goamules
02-05-2016, 06:23
Yeah, and the Germans dropped a lot of Zyklon B on milliions of innocent people, and stole their property and land, and invaded a dozen countries, and used slave labor to build Vengence weapons, and were trying to build a nuclear bomb. What do you suppose they would have done with one? Danced around the Nazi Maypole with it? Sheeze.......evil empire calling the country that saved the world black.

I'm sure today's Germans or their parents or grandparents never reaped the benefit of American Aid, and yes, even Military protection from the Soviets, from 1945 until 1990? I'm sure the world would have been a better place if America had just stayed out of the war, and the Soviet non aggression pact had never been broken by the Nazis. Imagine the glorious place Europe would be today under Reich rule!

citizen99
02-05-2016, 06:26
After WW1 and WW2 all German patents were voided as war compensation, if that weren't the case let's just say Armstrong would never had set foot on the moon or Laika seen the earth orbit. The Mig and Sabre jetfighters would also never have existed.
Another input to the jet MIG :

The Brits had their own jets e.g. Meteor during the last years of the war,they were useful for shooting down the V-1 Flying Bombs. The engine design was more conservative, but more operationally durable, than the Jumo of eg the Me 262, although the latter design had the future when it was developed to last longer.

Anyway, in the late 1940s the British government sold some RR Nene engines to the Soviets, who promised not to copy them.
Yeah, right !
Reverse-engineered and enlarged, that was what powered the MIG-15.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 06:29
After WWII, the Americans established the Marshall Plan, which besides giving Europe millions of dollars in food and aid, brought 3,000 Europeans to America for 6 month visits to learn new industrial techniques. There was a similar program in agriculture.

The Marshall Plan was set up because the Soviets under Stalin were attempting to allow chaos and starvation to keep Europe destabilized. They wanted to get more land and punish Germany more, besides what they already had, and their Iron Curtain that created generations of post-war occupation and arms races. Truman established the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and other programs to get Germany back on it's feet faster. Same with Japan, we rebuilt the countries that had attacked us.

Well the marshall plan the Europeans had to pay for that Germany I believe until 2 or 3 years ago so no free lunch.
The Europeans also had to donate their patents to the US if the US so desired that was until the French were so fed up by the US in the 1960's for asking for the plans and designs of Concorde that they said no. The Bell X1 was mostly a british design, the microchip a Siemens invention and not Intel and the list goes on and on. Without those German the US wouldn't have had a Space program. You really think those Soviets didn't rebuild anything, also to be fair the Soviets lost nearly 20 Million people to the war and the devastation the German Army caused in the East is not even remotely comparable to damage and loses the US received from either the Japanese or the Germans. The whole Marshall plan was because the US was scared of the communists and not any kind of humanitarian feeling. Neither the West nor the East were great humanists

mike rosenlof
02-05-2016, 06:36
Moving back to Leica and patents, one story I've heard is that Zeiss held the patent(s) for a durable lens coating. German patents were not invalidated within Germany, so Leitz had to use a less desirable coating that was easily damaged by cleaning. One reason that Japanese lenses from the early post-war era hav aged better than some Leitz lenses.

goamules
02-05-2016, 06:39
Well the marshall plan the Europeans had to pay for that Germany I believe until 2 or 3 years ago so no free lunch.
The Europeans also had to donate their patents to the US if the US so desired that was until the French were so fed up by the US in the 1960's for asking for the plans and designs of Concorde that they said no. The Bell X1 was mostly a british design, the microchip a Siemens invention and not Intel and the list goes on and on. Without those German the US wouldn't have had a Space program. You really think those Soviets didn't rebuild anything, also to be fair the Soviets lost nearly 20 Million people to the war and the devastation the German Army caused in the East is not even remotely comparable to damage and loses the US received from either the Japanese or the Germans. The whole Marshall plan was because the US was scared of the communists and not any kind of humanitarian feeling. Neither the West nor the East were great humanists
Wrong, on many counts. Anyone can cherry pick a few technologies to rationalize how great a society was. But it wasn't, it was set up to kill anyone in it's way, as it expanded empire for Germany. Look at the big picture, and quit making sorry excuses and changing the subject about "who paid more." We all paid more, because of the arrogant Aryans.

Oh yeah, no one was staving in Europe in 1948! And Germans weren't split into two countries, and machine gunned by Soviets if they tried to get back together.

Germany had some good engineering, I'm not denying that. But they used it for evil. Even Werner Von Braun. Too bad Germany wasn't breaking the sound barrier, going to the moon, and building millions of industrial consumer goods. But they instead liked Hitler, and wanted to kill any non German, take over the land of Europe, and rule the world. Um....no....not going to work.

The Soviets, and the Americans and British and a few others stopped Germany and their dreams of a Third Riech. Yes, it cost everyone a lot of lives, and economic might. Don't forget who caused all that. Germany.

You're right, let's talk cameras. I just rankle when Nazi lovers try to act like America was the problem in the Mid 20th Century. We FIXED the problem.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 06:41
Another input to the jet MIG :

The Brits had there own jets e.g. Meteor during the last years of the war,they were useful for shooting down the V-1 Flying Bombs. The engine design was more conservative, but more operationally durable, than the Jumo of eg the Me 262, although the latter design had the future when it was developed to last longer.

Anyway, in the late 1940s the British government sold some RR Nene engines to the Soviets, who promised not to copy them.
Yeah, right !
Reverse-engineered and enlarged, that was what powered the MIG-15.

The British were the big exception and the Gloster actually predated the ME262 again it seems a case of bad marketing on the brits part. The Mig and Sabre copies are not copies of engine design but of plane designs the Messerschmitt P.1101.
The Jet engine predates WW2 weirdly enough the Ramjet the next thing was inventen before WW1 but the planes build at that time wood and fabric couldn't use them.

The British created some of the best and most beautiful Plane designs but were severly hindered by the Lend Lease deal they had with the US which forbade them the production of Transport planes. This showed after WW2, the british simply didn't have the knowhow the US had in producing large planes. The Comet is still the most beautiful Jetliner imo and it's nose is very much in fashion the Frenche Caravelle and now boeings 787

The Reid Leica copy is also better than the original :) another great british design.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 06:49
Wrong. Oh yeah, no one was staving in Europe in 1948! And Germans weren't split into two countries, and machine gunned by Soviets if they tried to get back together.

Germany had some good engineering, I'm not denying that. But they used it for evil. Even Werner Von Braun. Too bad Germany wasn't breaking the sound barrier, going to the moon, and building millions of industrial consumer goods. But they instead liked Hitler, and wanted to kill any non German, take over the land of Europe, and rule the world. Um....no....not going to work.

The Soviets, and the Americans and British and a few others stopped Germany and their dreams of a Third Riech. Yes, it cost everyone a lot of lives, and economic might. Don't forget who caused all that. Germany.

Actually I quoted a few non German designs and the Soviets (Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, etc...)were definetly not the evil you made them out to be and the war against the communists and evil dictators cost some 30 Million lifes since WW2 and yes the Germans caused WW2. No major power past or present has any right to feel morally superior they aren't. They all only care about one thing themselves.

BillBingham2
02-05-2016, 06:57
Trying to get back to the original topic.

German engineers from several companies were sent to Japan early in the war and ended up staying. Contax engineers worked at the company that became Nikon, I think Leica engineers worked at what became Canon. They stayed after the war ended, my guess is because life in either location then was very hard and they had jobs where they were.

These days companies buy other companies to get access to their patents then sell them off (e.g., Taurus Arms bought S&W) keeping right to use what they had when they own them.

B2 (;->

santino
02-05-2016, 07:00
How come a simple question can cause so much strange discussion? IMO no country provides help just because of humanitarism. Do ut des - neither the US nor the former USSR. And yes, nobody claims it weren't the Germans.. :bang:

tomnrides
02-05-2016, 07:02
This is all very exciting and educational discussion but historical pixel peeping should be performed in the context of hominids all coming out of africa and taking over preceding populations.
we are not bonobos, we have more chimp genes, e.g. aggressive violent tendencies.

back to Leica,

Lucadomi
02-05-2016, 07:07
Moving back to Leica and patents, one story I've heard is that Zeiss held the patent(s) for a durable lens coating. German patents were not invalidated within Germany, so Leitz had to use a less desirable coating that was easily damaged by cleaning. One reason that Japanese lenses from the early post-war era hav aged better than some Leitz lenses.

I was looking for a Rolleiflex 2.8D without too many coating marks in the Xenotar. Hard to find.
Did not know Zeiss had better lens coating. But you were actually talking prewar.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 07:09
Trying to get back to the original topic.

German engineers from several companies were sent to Japan early in the war and ended up staying. Contax engineers worked at the company that became Nikon, I think Leica engineers worked at what became Canon. They stayed after the war ended, my guess is because life in either location then was very hard and they had jobs where they were.

These days companies buy other companies to get access to their patents then sell them off (e.g., Taurus Arms bought S&W) keeping right to use what they had when they own them.

B2 (;->

+ 1 I believe the technological exchange of person, materials and plans lasted nearly until the end.

Regarding coating lens coating was a Zeiss Patent and Leica coated lenses of the war years most likely were build for the Military and for propaganda use not the average Leica user.

Ko.Fe.
02-05-2016, 08:06
After Germany's fall in WWll, the Soviets dismantled the Contax and BMW motorcycle factories and moved them to Russia.

They took far more. "Special" factories I worked as summer student in eighties had some German heavy and sometimes very big equipment. It was well due to service, but not falling apart, yet.

At the end of WWII Americans came first at German rocket research base, but Soviets were few hours behind them. Americans took brains (von Braun) according to the legend, but what they told us for real, Soviet special division took all of the FAU 2 and drawings. And this is where Soviet space program really started.

aoresteen
02-05-2016, 08:41
They probably did not sue Olympus but there was a problem with their Olympus M1 - later changed to OM 1.

They sent Olympus a letter demanding that Olympus change the name and Olympus agreed thus avoiding litigation.

When they introduced the M3 in 1955 they made it clear that they would defend their patents. The M mount patent(s) all expired by 1999. That's when Konica brought out the Hexar in M mount.

David Hughes
02-05-2016, 08:50
Hi,

Back to lens coatings, I believed the stories about the war time 'top secret' lens coatings that no one knew about until I read an article in a mid 1930's magazine announcing the news; just don't ask me to find it. I got the impression that the idea came from several sources, ie British discovery of better definition etc from older tarnished lenses, American and German work on coatings and so on. Using the words loosely by the way.

If Zeiss were coating lenses during the war, sorry, break in diplomatic relations between various European countries, then why didn't the 3rd Reich get Leitz to make coated lenses using Zeiss' know how for the armed forces use?

Regards, David

PS Discussions about the 2nd WW ought to be confined to those of us who were around then and had some experience of it, same as discussions about cameras are...

santino
02-05-2016, 08:57
Thanks!
The M3 is indeed a masterpiece so defense is reasonable.

They sent Olympus a letter demanding that Olympus change the name and Olympus agreed thus avoiding litigation.

When they introduced the M3 in 1955 they made it clear that they would defend their patents. The M mount patent(s) all expired by 1999. That's when Konica brought out the Hexar in M mount.

DominikDUK
02-05-2016, 09:10
David the Kriegsberichterstatter and the Wehrmacht as well as the Gestapo had coated Leitz lenses as well as Zeiss lenses. They were just not sold to the public, which had bigger problems than coated vs uncoated.

David Hughes
02-05-2016, 14:55
Thanks, confirms what I've suspected but never seen mentioned. Unless the odd one turns up and is explained away as a post war effort...

Regards, David

PS I think we had much the same problems here and had to launch a public appeal for Leicas and Contaxes. And then impose price controls...