US Company Claims Ownership Of Plimsoll Mark

We also believe that mariners should be able to buy and wear with pride this mark that signifies safety and professionalism. In the spirit of this belief gCaptain will be donated $10 for each plimsoll shirt we sell to a charity organization for seafarers.

So gCaptain gets the donation if they sell shirts to a charity organization for seafarers? Hoping this is just a typo.

Kidding aside, this is one of the more ridiculous claims I’ve seen. Too many lawyer’s crawling around these days…


Fixed! :slight_smile:

Soooo, can we post pics of our ship’s marks on Mr “Plimsollgear’s” FaceBook page? Or would that just be rude? Would be funny if it made his lawyer send cease and desist notices to ABS and DNV (and shipping companies) though in response.


Bet this “Sea Lawyer” stared wicked long at the Merch before he called the patent lawyer. You really gotta start stamping references under the marks John. Mitigate these silly situations: 46 CFR 47.620

Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

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I’m not sure he’d pull the complaint even if Sam Plimsoll himself awoke from the grave and told him to stop.

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I may be wrong here, but I think the USN also marks their ships with the Plimsol Mark.

It would be a brave laywer who tries to force the USN to pay a royalty for using a mark that was in existence before the company was incorporated.

I had a young mate onboard recently who had one of these Plimsoll gear shirts. I asked about it and he told me it was started by a classmate/friend of his (KP). He said that guys wife had researched all things maritime that they could turn into a brand like ‘salt life’ (whatever that fucking means) and discovered that the Plimsoll mark was not trademarked. So they trademarked it.

I’ll await my cease and desist letter for spreading the origin story.

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Except the guy’s about 60 and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, not KP. But other than that your story checks out. Heh. :rofl:

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As an Englishman, this theft of my history is more than a bit irritating.

Next thing you know there will be someone claiming an Amerrican ship captured the enigma machine from a German U Boat during WW2.


I guess I didn’t have my listening ears on that day

I’m not certain, but I think all US warships have the sideways asterisk for their loadline marks. USNS ships I’ve seen Plimsoll and Navy marks.

It’s the real deal, my neighbor works at BIW (Bath Iron Works) shipyard, he told me they started to grind the Plimsoll marks off the ships last week sometime.


I agree. There must be some institution in the UK that would be willing to petition the USPTO for a trademark reversal. Maybe you can make some inquiries? The letter we received said the company also has a trademark in Australia, Canada and Europe!

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I’ve tipped the editor of Ars Technica to this nonsense (they often cover abuse of copyright and trademarks). With a little luck they’ll pick it up in a name and shame story. Stay tuned.




Just to be on the safe side, my neighbor does work at BIW. As to the rest of that post… do Navy ships even have Plimsoll marks?

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The Plimsoll Mark on ships also contain identification of the Class or other authority that assigned it and issued the Load Line Certificate to go with the mark.
Does this person/company also claim copyright to all those identifying letters? (I.e. AB, LR, NV, BV, NK etc.)
If not the copyright can easily be circumvented by using letters other than in the copyright claim.
(GC for gCaptain??)

No, no Plimsoll marks, no hull markings of any kind save draft marks. Of course Navy ships aren’t laden in the same way merchants are; in fact most US warships sit lower in the water as they burn fuel, thanks to water-compensated f/o tanks.

What exactly are they claiming? The USPTO shows a text trademark for a company called Plimsoll Gear but nothing for any version of a load line graphic.

Did the letter claim trademark rights to the graphic of a circle with a line and or class marks and load lines?

There is a finance company in Portland, Maine called Plimsoll Mark Capital but they do not use the circled R (registered) or TM (unregistered) trademark on their logo which means it is either not trademarked (doesn’t show up on the USPTO search site) or is up for grabs by anyone who wants it … use it or lose it is how a trademark works

Something smells bad but considering some fru fru clothing designer laid claim to a horsey sport I guess nothing is too bizarre to get a lawyer to help rip off the world.

An experienced cargo surveyor should know better than to make such a ridiculous claim. Stop hiring this guy for surveys!

I hear that the courts routinely dismiss many patents and trademarks for being too “obvious” or generic. Hopefully, that’s what happens to this one.

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Here is their website:
What is copyrighted is the name Plimsoll Gear. It thus appears that this is a fight between Tee-shirt designers and sellers over that name and has little if anything to do with actual plimsoll marks on ships.

This design on a Tee-shirt does not contain any identifying letters:

Although it has obviously a resemblance to an actual loadline marking: