(Topic ID: 235050)

Mirco - Exclusive Classic Stern Parts Manufacture? Bogus Legal Threats!


By greatwichjohn

6 months ago



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    #1 6 months ago

     
    - moderated: PM content removed. Please do not publish private messages without consent from the sender -

    ***Update from John Greatwich, Great Pinball Limited. I was threatened with many legal threats (demands) by Mirco of Mirco Playfields in a pm which I posted here. His exact words from his pm. He immediately complained to Robin to have it removed & it was. He shows no remorse for his actions & throws the blame on me. To sum it up I produce limited Classic Stern backglass & playfields over the years. He wanted me to C & D on Thursday, & post here that I was no longer selling that product.***

    Have you sent this to all the other vendors & parts producers? I will continue to produce very limited glass titles & playfields for classic Stern pinball until I get something from Gary Stern about your agreement. If you have proof, show it! If you do & I can get licensing like Gottlieb LLC, & Planetary Pinball. I would do so, if not another less vendor to keep pins going.

    Thanks! John Greatwich, Great Pinball Limited

    Seems like the big boys fight over production continues with driving the little guys out of the game. A good kick in the nuts while I go & try to finish Stern playfields.

    IMG_0009 (resized).JPG

    #2 6 months ago

    Wow, I don't know why Gary Stern would agree to that. There are literally hundreds of classic games and no way that Mirco can supply all of them in his lifetime. Even with him, CPR and you going at full steam, you cannot reproduce all of the playfields, backglasses and plastics of past classics. Stern should just accept whomever wants to make then,get his cut and not do exclusive douche bag deals. Good for you for keeping up the fight John and hope this all ends in your favor.

    #3 6 months ago

    My understanding is no one seems to own the rights to old Stern games.

    33
    #4 6 months ago

    The people who are always ready to sue instead of work on agreements always go to the bottom of my list when shopping for parts.

    #5 6 months ago

    Why Mirco? Seems like you are being a bully? Is John producing something you are and taking money from you? I am not sure you can legally stop someone from making something just by sending an email claiming anything you want with no proof? I am no lawyer though. Money vs. passion and love, too bad.

    #6 6 months ago
    Quoted from greatwichjohn:

    - PM content removed-
    Have you sent this to all the other vendors & parts producers? I will continue to produce very limited glass titles & playfields for classic Stern pinball until I get something from Gary Stern about your agreement. If you have proof, show it! If you do & I can get licensing like Gottlieb LLC, & Planetary Pinball. I would do so, if not another less vendor to keep pins going.
    Thanks! John Greatwich, Great Pinball Limited
    Seems like the big boys fight over production continues with driving the little guys out of the game. A good kick in the nuts while I go & try to finish Stern playfields.
    [quoted image]

    Keep doing what you do John! We are all better for it.

    Bunch of bullshit. First the guy purposefully steps on the toes of CPR by actively making pfs for games they have in cue already (when he could have focused on numerous other titles). Now he is threatening lawsuit on people like John that have obviously thousands of hours and are mid stream on making many things.

    This is a small community and even if he were to actually have an exclusive agreement, I dont believe it will cover anything form the Stern Electronics era of games. Beyond that he shoudl be courteous enough to work out an agreement with anyone mid stream on projects to allow finishing them up.

    Mirco, I suggest reconsidering you tact and attack on this. It could spell bad things for your business in the long run.

    #7 6 months ago
    Quoted from RustyLizard:

    The people who are always ready to sue instead of work on agreements always go to the bottom of my list when shopping for parts.

    aint that the truth.

    I could have easily bought a mirco Joust junk repro, but instead I will wait it out for CPR to finish it up the right way.

    John> I suggest reaching out to Stern directly (george gomez probably better than Gary) and ask them for details. If true, they will be happy to provide it. If false, they will be happy to know what is going on.

    #8 6 months ago

    Why do anything? No proof was given, no order to stop delivered. Just an email from a butt hurt fella, nothing more at this time. John don’t waste your time until it’s needed. If he wants to stop you the burden is on him right?

    #9 6 months ago

    At a minimum micro should have attached the agreement with stern. Right now he’s just looking like a litigious jerk. Ignore!!

    #10 6 months ago

    Mirco, not cool. Being a potential customer for PFs, plastics, etc that CPR hasn't been able to release, this puts a really bad taste in my mouth. It's one thing if you have exclusive rights to reproduce something as an authorized dealer and have those in-demand parts in stock, it's another to claim that you have it, and not provide said parts, and keep someone from ACTUALLY producing those in-demand parts just for shits/giggles. I'll happily wait for CPR or John, if there is a PF in need, and you already have one available. This hobby is too small with too many unavailable parts in-demand to stomp out anyone that CAN provide it to the hobbyists.

    #11 6 months ago

    Wow...puts Mirco in a whole new light for me. Especially after my brand new Mirco playfield on my $10k JJP POTC chipped in multiple areas with no warranty coverage. And if you had this great deal, wouldn’t you plaster it all over your website and Facebook page? Oh yeah, and actually finish your website so you look like a real company at least.

    #12 6 months ago
    Quoted from Rock914:

    Why do anything? No proof was given, no order to stop delivered. Just an email from a butt hurt fella, nothing more at this time. John don’t waste your time until it’s needed. If he wants to stop you the burden is on him right.

    I agree. How was this delivered? through Pinside PM? Not exactly a legal delivery method.

    His lawyer should send you a cease and desist order. Till you get that through an official channel, i wouldn't waste another breath on this....

    You could be proactive and send Gary a Whats up? But if it were me i'd just keep on keepin on.

    #13 6 months ago
    Quoted from BobLangelius:

    But if it were me i'd just keep on keepin on.

    The trouble is that there is a lot of time and money involved in making playfields and backglasses. The last thing he needs is to make a batch of 100 playfields only to get a cease and desist order at that time. I agree though that John needs to be proactive and contact Gary Stern directly and work out a deal with him. He may also consider approaching another company operating in Canada with a lot of clout such as Player 1 that has a licence to sell all Stern product to see if something can be worked out.

    #14 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    The trouble is that there is a lot of time and money involved in making playfields and backglasses. The last thing he needs is to make a batch of 100 playfields only to get a cease and desist order at that time. I agree though that John needs to be proactive and contact Gary Stern directly and work out a deal with him. He may also consider approaching another company operating in Canada with a lot of clout such as Player 1 that has a licence to sell all Stern product to see if something can be worked out.

    Right, then he would need to give the Pf’s away for free with the purchase of an autographed picture of himself $799.00

    #15 6 months ago
    Quoted from Rock914:

    Right, then he would need to give the Pf’s away for free with the purchase of an autographed picture of himself $799.00

    You might be on to something there.

    #16 6 months ago

    Seriously? That's completely ridiculous on multiple levels. I'd hate to use the word bully, but this is what it sounds like.

    #17 6 months ago

    Not to be the bad guy or side with the "enemy" here but if he doesn't have the license then he can't produce new PF's without the risk of something like this happening. It's licensed art. If mirco does have said agreement then they are within right to make this request, although done in a very poor way. Mirco would have had to pay for that thus why they would want to protect their investment. Me personally I would have reached out to John to work out a deal so that the PF's could still be produced and Mirco got a cut of it for owning the license (if true).

    With all of that said. John, I thought you were taking old PF's, sanding them, repairing and then apply new art. If that is the case then you are just restoring an original PF and that changes things. At least that is what my lawyer told me with my Batman effort that I was working on (which kind of has fallen through). It was a very different situation to produce new ones than it was to repair/restore old ones. I'd contact your attorney to see where things stand. If you are just restoring then you may be OK either way.

    -2
    #18 6 months ago
    Quoted from VillaThrills:

    Wow...puts Mirco in a whole new light for me. Especially after my brand new Mirco playfield on my $10k JJP POTC chipped in multiple areas with no warranty coverage. And if you had this great deal, wouldn’t you plaster it all over your website and Facebook page? Oh yeah, and actually finish your website so you look like a real company at least.

    it is sad. Mirco is known for the crappiest quality playfields in the industry.

    17
    #19 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    it is sad. Mirco is known for the crappiest quality playfields in the industry.

    Funny, then why are you on their threads asking for certain Gottlieb playfields? Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    #20 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    it is sad. Mirco is known for the crappiest quality playfields in the industry.

    Don't forget most expensive too.

    #21 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    it is sad. Mirco is known for the crappiest quality playfields in the industry.

    I am on my third SMVE playfield. The original and the replacement both ghosted. The replacement for the replacement seems to be holding up. Purchased NIB.

    My MET pro has a ghosted insert and chipped in two places - couldn't get it replaced. Purchased NIB.

    WH2O Mirco playfield has been a solid performer for about a year now.

    Facts, not an unsubstantiated comment.

    #22 6 months ago

    Does a blank or even repainted/rethemed playfield fall under "art related parts"?? If worst comes to worst that may become an avenue.....

    #23 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    it is sad. Mirco is known for the crappiest quality playfields in the industry.

    Ok, not that I am a fan at all about what Mirco is doing here at all, they are not known for that. When I think Mirco I don’t think crappy playfield. I think decent playfields. Their clear sucks but in my opinion every PF CPR or Mirco should be cleared by a professional otherwise they will all turn to crap. Mirco’s usually turns to crap first, again from what I have seen. I personally think Peter in Hamburg makes the best all around playfields. I myself am no expert but my best buddy is.

    #24 6 months ago
    Quoted from Pinphila:

    Funny, then why are you on their threads asking for certain Gottlieb playfields? Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    something is better than nothing when it comes to playfields.

    copying the efforts of others is unnecessary and crappy in this small hobby.

    I dont think you have any clue what talking out of both sides of your mouth means. or you fail at logic...

    #25 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    something is better than nothing when it comes to playfields.
    copying the efforts of others is unnecessary and crappy in this small hobby.
    I dont think you have any clue what talking out of both sides of your mouth means. or you fail at logic...

    Pretty sure I do. I also know a horses ass when I see one.

    #26 6 months ago

    John has people paid up already on product that he has yet to deliver, but is working on it. I would hope that Micro realizes the severity of what they are asking him to do.

    #27 6 months ago
    Quoted from SuperPinball:

    The trouble is that there is a lot of time and money involved in making playfields and backglasses. The last thing he needs is to make a batch of 100 playfields only to get a cease and desist order at that time. I agree though that John needs to be proactive and contact Gary Stern directly and work out a deal with him. He may also consider approaching another company operating in Canada with a lot of clout such as Player 1 that has a licence to sell all Stern product to see if something can be worked out.

    Yeah I guess...

    but the reality is, if you have a lawyer on retainer, he is the first person you call. Then he will likely advise you to have no contact with the offending parties.

    He will then take care of all communications.

    My guess is that he would not say " yeah you better send a PM on pinside to this guy in Canada" LOL

    Bob Out.

    #28 6 months ago

    Huh, news to me that New Stern™ has the rights to the Old Stern™ games. New Stern™ is really just a renamed Data East right? With a sidetrack through Sega heh. Did I miss them acquiring them somewhere, or am I just totally off base with my understanding that the new and old company have no real relationship with each other besides the name?

    -19
    #29 6 months ago

    I just moderated the top post. While I have no intention of getting involved in this dispute, it looks like OP published a PM message without the sender's consent. This is against Pinside rules and therefore the PM content was removed.

    #30 6 months ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    Huh, news to me that New Stern™ has the rights to the Old Stern™ games. New Stern™ is really just a renamed Data East right? With a sidetrack through Sega heh. Did I miss them acquiring them somewhere, or am I just totally off base with my understanding that the new and old company have no real relationship with each other besides the name?

    Yeh, the old Stern Electronics went out of business years ago. I believe this puts everything they made in the public domain since that "entity" no longer exists. Modern Stern is simply an extension of Data East Pinball and Sega Pinball with no relation to Stern Electronics aside from Stern in the company name. Keep doing what you do John. You are a valuable asset to the community.

    #31 6 months ago

    I thought I heard that Gary's ex wife received rights to the old Stern.

    Keep going John.

    #32 6 months ago
    Quoted from robin:

    I just moderated the top post. While I have no intention of getting involved in this dispute, it looks like OP published a PM message without the sender's consent. This is against Pinside rules and therefore the PM content was removed.

    John, I suggest you just write out what was sent to you.

    It is worthwhile for the community to see the threatening Mirco has done and things he said.

    #33 6 months ago

    Mirco should prove that he has the rights to Stern Electronics assets. I don't think he'll be able to.

    #34 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    John, I suggest you just write out what was sent to you.
    It is worthwhile for the community to see the threatening Mirco has done and things he said.

    Man Hilton, I am just disagreeing with a lot of what you have to say today. I think understand what you mean and agree this needs to be talked about. I don’t think typing up the PM and disrespecting what Robin has said is the way to do it. John can sum it up in his words.

    #35 6 months ago
    Quoted from VillaThrills:

    Wow...puts Mirco in a whole new light for me. Especially after my brand new Mirco playfield on my $10k JJP POTC chipped in multiple areas with no warranty coverage. And if you had this great deal, wouldn’t you plaster it all over your website and Facebook page? Oh yeah, and actually finish your website so you look like a real company at least.

    I was pretty surprised to already see significant scoop wear on the JJP POTC on location near me.

    #36 6 months ago

    Following

    #37 6 months ago

    Twilight Zone Prototype guy can finally let his game sit at $65,000 in peace. There's new drama in town, cowboy!

    #38 6 months ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Yeh, the old Stern Electronics went out of business years ago. I believe this puts everything they made in the public domain since that "entity" no longer exists. Modern Stern is simply an extension of Data East Pinball and Sega Pinball with no relation to Stern Electronics aside from Stern in the company name. Keep doing what you do John. You are a valuable asset to the community.

    Old Stern doesn't exist anymore and new sterm isn't a continuation of it, but that doesn't mean the rights are lost.

    I emailed Gary about this history years ago, see http://www.flippers.be/basics/101_pinball_history_usa.html
    Note he says they closed Stern Electronics (and later started PinStar) - closed, not bankruptcy. It's possible the rights are still with Gary depending on the closure agreement.

    #39 6 months ago
    Quoted from aeneas:

    Old Stern doesn't exist anymore and new sterm isn't a continuation of it, but that doesn't mean the rights are lost.
    I emailed Gary about this history years ago, see http://www.flippers.be/basics/101_pinball_history_usa.html
    Note he says they closed Stern Electronics (and later started PinStar) - closed, not bankruptcy. It's possible the rights are still with Gary depending on the closure agreement.

    But are they? Someone has to know.

    #40 6 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    It could spell bad things for your business in the long run.

    I seriously doubt that.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    something is better than nothing when it comes to playfields.

    If anything, my thoughts are that any pinballer wanting to restore his pinball machine will whore his self out to the one who has the fix. I include myself in that crowd.

    I mean John can sit here and take in all of this " I love you, John" crap, but bottom line is whoever can get us the part we need will be "our next Hero".

    That said, I absolutely have nothing but good positive experiences with John, his products, and most importantly, the way he does business.

    #41 6 months ago
    Quoted from Rock914:

    Man Hilton, I am just disagreeing with a lot of what you have to say today. I think understand what you mean and agree this needs to be talked about. I don’t think typing up the PM and disrespecting what Robin has said is the way to do it. John can sum it up in his words.

    That is what I meant... John should say what the PM said. It is important for other to see the threat from Mirco and how he is attempting to bully without proof.

    Quoted from cottonm4:

    I seriously doubt that.

    If anything, my thoughts are that any pinballer wanting to restore his pinball machine will whore his self out to the one who has the fix. I include myself in that crowd.
    I mean John can sit here and take in all of this " I love you, John" crap, but bottom line is whoever can get us the part we need will be "our next Hero".
    That said, I absolutely have nothing but good positive experiences with John, his products, and most importantly, the way he does business.

    Nah, many people still have values that they will stick by.

    #42 6 months ago

    See post # 71 and #72 regarding Quicksilver

    From 3 months ago:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/quicksilver-mirco-playfields-demand-check?tq=&tu=highclasspinball

    #71: "Right now Gary told me that there is no one else around right now who has a license to do anything. So it is just words....

    #72: " If there is demand I would do any title as long as the licence is available.

    ************************

    So, what has changed?

    #43 6 months ago

    Keep making products John until you get legal word from someone associated with Stern Pinball, which I don't think will ever happen for two reasons:

    A. I don't think they (Gary Stern etc) even know what potential rights they have to anything from the old dormant company &

    B. I don't think they give a crap about old licensing rights to the old Co. They are making $ on the new stuff & it sure seems as if no one cares (other than someone across the pond) about licensing on a company that does not exist anymore & did not have nearly as large of a footprint in the industry both in terms of sales & in terms of how long they were in business as others from that time. I just don't think there would be enough $ in licensing to make it worth while for Stern to go after anyone producing these parts in such small quantities for licensing.

    I'm looking forward to future Seawitch PF that I am waiting on, & love my Seawitch & Star Gazer glasses I have already received from you.

    #44 6 months ago
    Quoted from Methos:

    I thought I heard that Gary's ex wife received rights to the old Stern.
    Keep going John.

    Wives...

    #45 6 months ago

    I didn't know that gary was mormon

    #46 6 months ago

    The story goes that Gary Stern gave the rights to Stern Electronics (we call Classic Stern) to his ex-wife in a divorce. His ex-wife either:

    a) Has never enforced the rights

    b) The patents on the Stern Electronics company products has long since expired

    c) both a and b

    Both Starship Fantasy (Larry) and Pinisder Freeplay40 make ramps, and they cooperate to make sure that they aren't duplicating their efforts. This leads to more titles being produced. If @pps would coordinate titles with @kevincpr and @mirco we wouldn't have them making duplicate titles. What's the point of giving licenses for the same title to both producers @pps ? We need more variety in the titles being produced, not less.

    More competition is great, but in a small nitche industry like ours we need to see PPS, CPR and Mirco working together.

    #47 6 months ago

    Micro needs to prove what he’s claiming. Pretty simple really...
    If not, then business as usual.

    #48 6 months ago

    Most of the Classic Stern backglasses don't even have a copyright on them.

    Thus they get freely reproduced.

    #49 6 months ago

    You don't need to put a copyright notice on something for it to be copyrighted. That's automatic. Nor does it have anything to do with patents.

    If a business goes out of business the copyrights go to someone, they don't just turn into vapor. Clearly some people are under the impression that Gary Stern or Stern The Current™ has the rights, and maybe so, I'm just curious if anyone knew the story there.

    They're certainly not in the public domain without someone actively making them so.

    #50 6 months ago

    The trademarks, patents, etc. need to be renewed every 10-20 years or so, or they will lapse. They may have not been renewed at all.

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