Licensing Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. How long does the license last?

A. There is no expiry date to the license. Your license allows you to use my design and methods for as long as you like.

Q. What is the price of a license?

A. There is a onetime license fee of $250. This licenses you to make up to 50 vases each year.
A royalty equal to 5% of the sales price of additional vases is payable annually.

Q. Are classes at your studio available?

A. Yes, but only in conjunction with a license purchase. After you have read the written explanation of my methods we can schedule a week at the studio at additional cost. The fee includes a reasonable amount of materials and should result in some finished vases of your own to take home.

Q. What is the cost of classes?

A. In 2015 the fee for a five day training session which takes a licensee through the manufacturing process is $1250.00

Q. How would royalty payments be calculated and paid?

A. I hope to continue with the assumption that most people are honest. All I ask is for an annual signed statement of sales and a payment based on the agreed upon royalty (stated in the license). Payment can be by cheque or using Paypal.

Q. How would I receive my license and the information?

A. You would receive a numbered and personalized license document by mail. The information will accompany the license on a USB Flashdrive.

Q. Am I certain to get a license and the information if I use the buy button?

A. No I reserve the right not to issue a license. I want to be sure of the identity of my license holders and have a principal to principal contract with them. You will be asked to sign and return a simple contract before the license is issued.

If I do not issue you a license I will refund your payment in full

Q. Apart from your license fees. How are the other start up costs?

A. The tools required are not expensive. You should be able to buy the tools and enough material to get started for under $1000.

Q. Will your license prevent me from selling my business?

A. It should not do so providing the prospective buyer accepts the terms of the license. You may teach my designs and methods to the buyer and sell the license as part of the business. The license is transferable after registering the name and address of the new owner with me. The license must not be duplicated, meaning that you cannot also continue to use my methods yourself without buying another license.

Q. Will you want any control over my business after I buy a license?

A. No. You can develop it as quickly or slowly as you wish. You can sell items wholesale, retail, online or not at all. Use of my name or the term Vaseguy in promotional material is optional. I do require that you annually provide me with a signed report on the value of the items sold along with any applicable royalty payment. 

Q. Is there a patent or anything protecting the designs?

A. I did not seek a patent on my stone vase design. I may have been able to patent some particular fundamental elements such as the decorative use of broken natural stone edges on a vase or including a glass liner to waterproof a masonry vase. There is no doubt that doing so would have been expensive and if successful may have left me in the position of challenging the right of people to make items that were really only similar to mine in one aspect.

I have carried out extensive searches, including patent searches, looking for vases like mine or items made using similar techniques or with similar features. I have not found any item or patent for an item that is substantially similar. I therefore feel comfortable in my claim to be the originator.

I chose to go ahead with producing and marketing vases, which in effect published the design of the vase including the fundamental elements like those above. In fact, I believe publishing the design gives me the protection I and my licensees need because although I cannot claim exclusive rights NEITHER CAN ANYBODY ELSE.

An invention cannot be patented if knowledge of it is already in the public domain. To be granted a patent, an invention must not have been published. My well documented production and sale of glass-lined natural stone vases over the past years would be considered evidence of prior art. Should anyone attempt to claim a patent. The application would fail because of the lack of innovation.

In any case there is no patent, (which is one of the reasons that my license packages are priced as low as they are). Prospective licensees should do their own search if they have concerns that similar items may have already received a patent.

Of course my writing, diagrams, photographs etc. that I use to explain my processes have copyright protection. Licensee's must acknowledge this protection in the License Sales Agreement which specifies that the information is not for publication. My license is perhaps best seen as a how to book which includes confidential disclosure of trade secrets under a contractual relationship. People who have such a confidential relationship are legally bound to keep the information a secret.

Preventing manufacturing information from publication will slow down the development of competition but should not be expected to eliminate its potential. Imitation is a sincere form of flattery and should be expected. The best protection from competition is to be FIRST and (using the training I can provide) quickly place quality items into the best outlets in your area.

Q. I'm confused. Is it published or not?

A. You have to make the distinction between the vase design and the instructions for making the vases.

Because I have been advertising and publicly selling my vases. The design is considered to be published or put another way, to be in the public domain.

The instructions for making the vases have never been distributed or disclosed. The writing, diagrams and photographs are available only as confidential disclosures in a contractual relationship and are therefore unpublished.

Q. If there's no patent why should I buy a license?

A. I don't want to prevent anybody from experimenting with my medium. If you think you know how to make vases like mine and would like to give it a try, I suggest you do so even if you don't think you should pay me anything for the idea. Just don't ask me for advice.

I do think that the license cost will be saved many times because my instructions and advice provide a shortcut to the production of a proven design using proven methods. This is particularly important for people hoping to start a profitable local niche business. They need to establish themselves as the competent local expert by offering quality items right away. A quantity of high quality items deters copycats because they are intimidated by the standard they would have to meet. Putting out a few half baked versions can have the opposite effect by triggering imaginations that might bring competition before you have the competency to withstand it.

I'm hopeful that at least some of the people who are moved to their own experimentation after seeing my work will realize the benefit of access to years of experience. 

Q. What are your qualifications?

A. I attended art school in the U.K. for a period of five years. Technically I am qualified to teach art classes at the art school or university level though I have never done so. Majoring in sculpture gave me instruction in just about every technique that has been used to make art and an interest in looking for more.

I received some modest success as an exhibiting painter with my work being included in group exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery and purchased for the City of Vancouver art collection.

More recently I have involved myself in the "applied arts", working in leather, silver, paper-mache and stone. I have twenty five years experience in selling artwork directly to the public. For the last fifteen of those years I have focused on the production and sale of my glass-lined natural stone vases.

Q. I would not want to do all the work myself. If I can't disclose your methods how can I train help?

A. The contract does prevent you from passing on the information without my written consent. However in the personalized foreword to the license I will authorize providing information to the extent needed for training purposes. Of course I also stress the need for caution and ask for the use of non disclosure agreements with all employees.

Q. Do you include advice on any health hazards associated with the process?

A. Where I feel I am able to provide health related advice that is not obvious and a matter of common sense it is included. For example, I do make suggestions for lessening dust production but I do not include a "put on a mask statement" on every occasion where it might be prudent to wear one. Also I do not claim that my advice is all encompassing or will provide protection from all the possible hazards associated with working with machinery, glass, natural stone and masonry materials. While my methods and system are innovative, the materials are not new. The potential hazards of mineral and cement dust are well understood and documented elsewhere and I urge anyone with health related concerns to do their own research before taking out a license.

Q. Will you allow refunds?

A. No. I have always had a no quibble return policy for my vases but I think that to offer the same with my licenses would be inviting theft. After all information, once received cannot be returned.

Q. What if I can't understand the instructions. Is there any after sales service?

A. My commitment is to explain the process. If there is any part of the instructions that is not clear to you I will rephrase it and send additional pictures and diagrams if needed.

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Updated Feb-2015

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