VMT's Class J Trademark

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri May 29 19:13:53 EDT 2015

This is the same group that has or will put "Pride of Roanoke" on the cab  
side of 611. Have they no shame? Will this claim extend to Modelers who run  
models of 611 at a public Open House?  Alan Cox 
In a message dated 5/29/2015 2:05:12 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org writes:

I've  been reading with great distress the Virginia Museum of 
Transportation's  trademark claim not only on 611 but on all of the class Js.  Among 
their  claims:

"the likeness of the Norfolk & Western Class J streamlined  locomotive, 
including its shape,
color scheme and unique  features."

"If you are a photographer or artist wishing to sell small  quantities of 
unique and original works featuring the Virginia Museum of  Transportation or 
the Norfolk & Western Class J locomotive or the Class J  611 locomotive, 
please contact trademark at vmt.org."

"Permission from the  Virginia Museum of Transportation must be given 
before any works of fiction or  non-fiction are published."

The entire policy can be read  here:


I personally find these  claims disturbing and legally dubious.  Based on 
these assertions, the  Society would need the VMT's permission to publish any 
article in the Arrow or  any book that had anything to do with the J class 
engines.  Futhermore, a  photographer who photographed the 611 or any other 
J on the mainline from  public property would need the VMT's permission to 
publish his own  photographs, which by law he automatically owns the 
copyright to.  Even a  history book on the N&W or fictional novel that included the 
Js would need  permission.  

Protecting their own logo and even the FireUp611!  name is one thing, but 
claiming total control over everything that has to do  with the 611 and the J 
class is a huge overreach.  It generates negative  publicity, upsets a key 
group of supporters, and will undoubtedly result in  costly legal fees to 
defend this trademark claim.  If a small railroad  calendar publisher can take 
down mighty Union Pacific over trademark claims,  then the VMT would be an 
easy target.

Marty  Flick
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