Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/04/13

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Subject: Re: Non-Leitz LTM Lenses
From: Marc James Small <>
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 08:51:31 -0400
Cc: Jack Campin <>

At 01:02 AM 4/13/96 +0000, Jack Campin wrote:

>Didn't Leitz lose their patents as war reparations?  Hence the worldwide rash
>of postwar copies of their cameras (some of which now fetch higher prices
>than the originals).  If this applied to Zeiss too, there was no intellectual
>property to steal.
>I would like to know how far this went.  What is the present-day copyright
>status of books published under the Third Reich?  (I have a specific title
>in mind here, but far removed from photography).
The short answer is that no, they didn't.  Once the Bundesrepublik was
formed, the Prewar patents were once again fully protected.  Zeiss then sued
the pants off the East German Jena concern and cleaned up -- the East
Germans lost the right in the West to the use of all patents, trademarks,
tradenames, logos, &c &c.  Which explains why Jena products were sold in the
West as "CZ" or "aus Jena" for so many years, and why Oberkochen (the REAL
West German Carl Zeiss) marketed its wares in the Warsaw Pact under the
"Opton" label (these include a full range of Hasselblad "Opton" lenses,
quite neat to own though rare west of the Elbe).

Any items which were State or Party property were forfeit, and this may have
an effect on some of the books Mr Campin asked about.  But the only major
ambiguity resulting from all this was the ownership of Volkswagen which, as
State property was forfeit and, by Allied diktat, to be shut down.
Management just ignored this order and kept on making cars;  ownership
wasn't regularized until 1960 or so.

Marc  FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!