sal wrote:Hi Carl,
The short story is that Spyderco and Benchmade reached an agreement.
Might the possibly longer story involve something called Functionality Doctrine (look it up)? You know, the concept that (in the USA) prevents manufacturers from protecting utility or features of a product by trademark that should be protected by patent instead.
Oddly, in spite of "Functionality Doctrine", the USPTO did allow Spyderco to register "a circular through hole formed in the body of a knife blade" as a trademark (serial# 74624039).
I'm guessing that Spyderco realizes that it would be very difficult to attempt to use trademark protections to prohibit another determined manufacturer from making a folding knife with a round hole that was placed in the in the blade for the unique utility the round hole offers to the user in opening the knife.
The raindrop hole on Byrd models, yes, probably defensible as a trademark because of the ornamental design of the hole -- and the fact that a plain round hole in the same location is more functional. Indeed, a round hole in the body of a blade could be protected by patent, but would probably be really expensive to defend as a trademark. The best course for Spyderco is to not actually let this battle go to court.