As we transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, let us tip our hats to the old guard for the passage of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act Amendments of 2008, which addresses problems related to intellectual-property rights that were not resolved by the VHDPA of 1998. The new act, which the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) heavily advocated for six years, protects designers from “hull splashing” — that is, copying a hull design by making a mold of the hull and the deck and then using the molds to manufacture a copycat boat.
The amendments allow a manufacturer or designer, whichever owns the rights, to register a design either as the hull and deck separately or as one unit. Upon acceptance, the design is protected by copyright for ten years. “The VHDPA Amendments recognize the great amount of time and money that go into developing state-of-the-art vessels,” said NMMA president Thom Dammrich.