I'm well on Fluke's side here as a an actual qualified electrical engineer. I trust Fluke's products and have done for over 20 years.
Multimeters are more than just budget devices to measure voltages, amperages and resistance. They sit between you and part of a circuit that might well kill you through electrocution or explosions. All it takes is a miswired socket, earth fault or short in a power supply and you've got 110-240v going up your arm and you're dead. Either that or the meter explodes, removing your fingers or spraying bits of plastic and metal into your eyes.
Yes it's that graphic.
To present that piece of junk as high quality device for $15 is totally wrong to start with. Even without reviewing it, it's not possible to purchase the isolation circuitry for that price from a Chinese component manufacturer.
Sparkfun is purely aimed at amateurs as expected but to go on this witch hunt is wrong.
Fluke are worried people will assume that these will be associated with their brand and rightfully so want that association removed. And obviously, on that basis, they're being destroyed so someone agrees.
I wouldn't touch one of those meters with a 20 foot long rubber pole and I wouldn't want them on the shelf next to a proper meter.
SparkFun are wrong as are probably most of the people cheering for the demise of Fluke here.
You sound like you really just have a problem with electronics hobbyist amateurs who deign to intrude on your actual qualified electrical engineer grandeur. Get over it.
Doesn't matter if it's an Arduino connected to a PC with an earth fault or a $30000 scope.
People just don't GET electrical safety and it's a really big problem.
It's nothing to do with grandeur - it's understanding the whole problem.
It's fine for people to use PCs (and lamps and toasters and blenders) even though they might have earth faults. It's fine for people to charge their phones even though there's a nonzero chance they'll use a counterfeit charger. And it's perfectly fine for people to probe 5V circuits using a $15.00 multimeter.
If you're really claiming that everyone needs a $400 Fluke before they can probe the circuit they just soldered together then I can only guess that you're really hurting for work?
For people who care, this is why Flukes (and Agilents and good DMMs) are worth the money: http://www.eevblog.com/2012/10/19/eevblog-373-multimeter-inp...
But not everybody needs that. If kids want to to make a battery powered 555 drive an LED, do they need to wait until their parents can afford a Fluke? Or risk death? That seems to be what bananas is saying.
1. Fluke have a right to protect their brand identity, which since 1988 approximately involved a yellow rubber case for their portable DMMs
2. A $15 multimeter is a pile of crap whatever you do and isn't suitable for anything other than battery powered circuitry as you state. I'd even question its value for that. It's useful for approximating but not measuring. It shouldn't be let near anything directly or indirectly mains connected even if it has a 240V AC range on the dial regardless though.
3. A $50-100 multimeter is however a safer investment. Even a bottom to mid-range Amprobe or Ex-tech will do the job fine and not put you at risk.
I can't afford three Fluke meters but I will use the Fluke for anything where risk is likely or I need accurate measurements. If I need to take more than one simultaneous measurement I will delegate the less critical ones to a couple of $80 Amprobe meters I use.
Perhaps a more pertinent question, is: are your kids worth $15 or $50 for safety equipment?
We accept that cheap electronics are going to be somewhat less safe, but we don't accept people selling cheap electronics leaching off the reputations of high-quality brands. Not just because it can kill people but it also creates bad incentives where there is little point in creating quality if nobody can tell the difference.
And no they did not just randomly chose to have a yellow back it's a deliberate imitation of a quality product which could easily cause confusion in the marketplace and kill someone.
For my edification, can you point out one example of a human being who was killed while using a cheap meter, who would have been unharmed if using a precious Fluke?
For people working with 5V circuits (e.g. Arduinos), you don't need to worry about AC power killing you or your multimeter exploding. A cheap multimeter is OK in a pinch.
The potential difference between the 5v and GND on your Ardunio might be 5v but between your Arduino GND and real earth might be 180v floating.
Believe me that shit is scary and will kill you.
I'd rather people blew $250 on a meter and actually read up on electrical safety to be honest. If that's prohibitive, you're welcome to kill yourself through ignorance.
This can certainly happen and is indeed dangerous, but if the first time you find out is while experimenting with a USB peripheral on a test bench (as opposed to say resting your bare legs on the case), you should consider yourself lucky.
Note, from my understanding, the GFCI will provide some protection even if you only have two prongs; it monitors the hot and the neutral.
They still take 130-500ms to trip which is more than enough to knock you into VF (that only takes 3ms).
Prevention is always the best approach.
In the case of the DMM in question, it's not direct knock-off of a Fluke and according to SF the color is more of an orange-yellow than the Fluke safety yellow. SF's whole point is that the TM terms are too vague. Gray with a yellow border. What shade of gray? What shade of yellow? I don't get to claim a whole primary color and say you can make a DMM using any color even close to this.
It seems to me that you are not a qualified electrical engineer. Those three words are incompatible with the above statement.
Probably you are engineer, when I come from in Europe this title means something serious, but in other countries means very little.
But qualified you are not.
I AM electrical engineer and you don't know what you are talking about.
In my country we say that it is easier to catch a liar than a gammy person.
Deaths do happen at low voltage. They aren't very common, but they are possible, and faulty test equipment is a serious problem: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-131/pdfs/98-131.pdf
Personally I'm not a Fluke junkie, and think there's plenty of reputable mid-range meters that will protect you just fine. However I also think that a distributor-branded direct-import is not likely to be one of these.
But as far as trademarks, we're really talking about two quite functional colors here - a neutral-colored face for readability, and a bright shroud on the other sides for visibility. Many meters have been using these color styles for quite some time and, as your loyalty to Fluke illustrates, this does little to dilute their brand.
 Electronic design, as would be implied by the context if not for confusion induced by graphic/industrial designers thinking they have a monopoly on the term.
It's the same as the cheapo "bench" multimeters that have five input terminals and the same layout as an Agilent 344xxA (or Fluke 88xx) but don't have a 4-wire Ohms function (or even a low-enough range to need 4-wire Ohms) or a proper guard connection (which is the purpose of the the 5th terminal).
Are you sure about the true production costs, if you eliminate the 20 layers of middlemen and are only paying the 10cents / hour miners + 20cents / hour workers? This is a finance / markets question, not an engineering question.
Lots of strong emotions, not so sure about the evidence. Technology and cost of technology never stops advancing. Numerous large companies are guilty of price-fixing, e.g. the large-scale monitor price-fixing scandals from a few years ago. Bet you never even heard of those cases?
There's an assumption that price=quality. That's ok, until we get into the extreme cases. We're talking about the extreme limits of how cheaply this could be done. The prices of the raw materials are not high, they're not made of solid gold or rare-earth materials. Assembly costs almost nothing.
When was the last time you trusted your life to something that boldly tested the limits of that edge?
Not true. Think about all those telcos, ISPs, car producers, etc. that just sell bad products and services, don't give a damn about their customers and still profit. Unfortunately, business at large figured out how to be malicious to customers without losing money.
Prices are set to maximize profit. Everywhere. Even at Walmart. Especially at Walmart.
All it takes is a miswired socket, earth fault or short
in a power supply and you've got 110-240v going up your
arm and you're dead. Either that or the meter explodes,
removing your fingers or spraying bits of plastic and
metal into your eyes.
Get real that is very common color scheme for multimeters and it is an unrealistic expectation of Fluke that everybody associates that to their products only.
Case and point how many gray and yellow multimeters can you see here ?
And it's not like it has the Fluke logo on it or anything.
It's not associated with your brand anymore.
I for one never associated that color scheme with that brand didn't even hear of Fluke before this but i did associate it with multimeters in general.
So what's the point of defending something you don't even own anymore.
I think that is the ideal tradeoff---the logo lets a consumer know what they are buying, but you should still be allowed to buy cheap products that look stylish...
Industrial design usually won't qualify because it's functional. The color comes from the use of aluminum, aluminum is used for its structural properties, particular colors have more aesthetic value in the market, etc. Trade dress has to be more specific, not functional, and arbitrary.
A classic example is pink for Owens-Corning insulation. It's a totally arbitrary color choice for a product where aesthetics doesn't factor into buyers' choices, and had become strongly associated in the public with Owens-Corning's brand. If there was a functional reason for the pink color, or it was a situation where people would prefer a certain color for aesthetic reasons, the design choice wouldn't have been eligible for protection.
In the case of the Macbooks vs Dell XPS ultrabooks you could argue that what makes people recognize a Macbook is as much the glowing white apple logo as the aluminum case so people are not being fooled when they see a Dell XPS into thinking it's a Macbook.
Similarly, people don't immediately assume that a sport car painted red is a Ferrari. But if they were to see a car with a Ferrari logo (regardless of its color) they would most certainly assume that it's a Ferrari.
In short, it's my understanding that trademarks are by definition somewhat subjective. However I believe that the intention is a good one, as it protects as much customers than brands.
Fluke is not the first one to use the color scheme they were just the first to apply for a patent on it.
Even if they were they didn't enforce it until now so it became the general color scheme of all multimeters not just Fluke multimeters.
Most of the ones that look like a Fluke are indeed a Fluke.
In any case, I don't think I'm qualified to have an opinion in the case being discussed here. Both because my understanding of trademark law is just a very general sense of what it is supposed to stand for and because I have absolutely no notion of what are the multimeter brands out there and what their designs look like.
For what it's worth, all the multimeters I recall using at school were either all yellow or all black and I have the feeling they were always the same brand although I don't remember what that was (I studied in Europe)
In the case of a durable tool, like a multimeter, the industrial design serves the same purpose packaging does for normal consumer goods.
Let me turn the question around: "Should you really be allowed to trademark your packaging?"
The court says yes: http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/02/08/t-mobile-wins-lawsui...
Why would this be different? Using a known, good name brand like Fluke or T-Mobile... and diluting it's name by making confusing, derivative and lesser products.
Using the color yellow shouldn't be off limits... but using yellow (or magenta) to confuse consumers should be.
I think in the case of Apple, they iterate so often on basic laptop design that having trademarked trade dress around a laptop would be counter-productive. They always want their devices to be thinner and lighter, and that requires fundamental changes to the design (wedge shapes, unibody, etc)
With the Dell laptop, what really makes it look like Apple? It's silver and thin. There are literally dozens of vendors shipping thin, silver devices.
Lots and lots of not-yellow multimeters, and the dark-with-yellow-surround ones do generally seems to be Flukes.
But not quite all. There are some exceptions here: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/show-your-multimeter!/315/ but I think they may all be recent enough to postdate Fluke's trademark (which I think was granted in 2003).
Maybe they did invent that scheme and everyone copied them, but if so, they're not enforcing it in the UK.
a) That's in the UK where Fluke doesn't have the same protections.
b) Those are newer, cheap, meters aping the design of Flukes, for that search to mean anything it should look back before Fluke's popularity or at least before they started using the current trademarked design.
c) Past just the first page the split gets much more even.
Your claim that they're "aping the design of Flukes" is unsupported. I haven't seen any evidence that Fluke invented that design or colour scheme, rather than it becoming a fairly common format for multimeters and then Fluke deciding to copyright the design.
A lot of older multimeters look like this: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/show-your-multimeter!/540/ or something similar at least once handheld meters with multiple modes started to become an actual item. That whole thread is a decent cross section of multimeters, though it's skewed towards nice older meters as opposed to lower grade meters.
Most people glancing at it are going to see a multimeter, not a fluke. They would look for some kind of Fluke branding, and a yellow bezel with grey front plate is not that, for signs of flukeness.
Especially in the red sparkfun card it is pretty clear that these are not fluke. I find it hard to understand that anyone would think this is a fluke device with even cursory inspection.
Edit: your google images link is interesting. It shows some fluke devices being in red, not yellow, cases / bezels.
Removing the word fluke from the search terms returns many devices that are either all yellow, or all grey, with a few other colours, and some that are grey in a yellow case. Many of the grey and yellow devices are not fluke devices.
It'd be interesting to see how many devices were using dark grey in yellow before 2000.
The yellow/grey contrast is a recent development, and it would surprise me very much if it weren't a deliberate attempt to knock off Fluke.
It's not protecting the use of yellow, which is why the pure yellow devices exist.
1) Multimeters can be made for $10 or $15, but Fluke continues to dominate the market with equivalent meters costing 10x more. And don't tell me that these basic multimeters incur significant R&D costs.
"Guilt should be determined in retrospect based on material gain." -- The gold standard for judging extremely powerful companies.
You've obviously never done any serious electrical or electronics work then. The reason they're so expensive is four reasons:
1. Mains and high voltage work. If you're working with high voltages or massively different potentials, Fluke actually design the boards and isolation circuitry properly. You're not going to get electrocuted by a Fluke meter. It doesn't even take a high voltage, just a bad earth to kill you. Cheap multimeters and even mid range ones tend to ignore this fact in favour of cost.
2. Explosion resistance. If you stick your cheap multimeter in resistance mode and whack ot across a 400v 30A supply its going to blow your hand off. No joke. Fluke - dead meter by design or absolutely nothing and it still carries on working.
3. Reliability. I have a 1989 Fluke 87 that cost me a small fortune. It works fine today, still handles calibration perfectly and is pin sharp and accurate. Other vendors fall to bits, drop out of calibration ranges and pack in completely. I know because I have three meters at any time and the only ones that survive are flukes.
4. They have lesser effect on the circuit you are measuring because the input stage is better designed.
So you're merely putting your life in the hands of a $10 meter.
My current fluke cost me £435 and it was worth every damn penny
Edit: adding some more as I'm not posting this from my phone now:
5. Cheap meters can't do true RMS measurements.
6. Cheap meters have probes without correct insulation.
7. Cheap meters have probes which fall to bits and expose the conductors.
8. Cheap meters have less probe/connection options which are required for more than just passive metering.
9. Cheap meters can't be calibrated at all by calibration services as there is nothing other than a single master voltage reference inside which is usually not a constant current or voltage source but a resistor/voltage divider across the reference voltage. This can drift as batteries drain for example.
10. Decent meters have a better count i.e. 0.00000 vs 0.00 on the displays.
I could go on forever at why a $10 meter is a joke.
My first Fluke multimeter was a hand-me-down from my father, and he had made it clear how it was a better instrument. At the time, there were no "Fluke yellow" instruments on the market. They were generally considered ugly.
Fast forward through the 1990s and I'm in a builders supply shop looking at meters. I grab what I thought was a Fluke, got home, and only then realised I had a cheap knockoff. Yes, my fault for not reading, but a large number of second generation tool users have been raised to invest in the products of a few companies that have maintained solid reputations.
From what I can tell, in the time period you're talking about even Fluke meters weren't "Fluke yellow" though - e.g. http://www.stevenjohnson.com/pics/why-i-buy-flukessm.jpg
They definitely used yellow and black in the mid-to-late 1980s, primarily on "ruggedized" field gear. Bench gear tended to look pretty much like most bench gear, as far as I can recall.
For some reason it was that detail and sensitivity that made me realize just how precisely made meters like that are. Thankfully it was just a $7 fuse to fix it.
Depends what you mean "dominate the market", I guess: go to Amazon or Radio Shack, and most of the multimeters are the cheap and non-Fluke.
Also: Fluke does certainly charge a premium, but they are also not equivalent to the $10 meter. Fluke uses higher-quality (and thus more expensive) components, and it definitely costs them more than $15 to manufacture. This affects the actual electronics to the case to the probes to the buttons.
If you use your meter to measure your batteries and the occasional resistor, you probably don't care. But if you use the meter often, you may start to notice the difference, and that's why people are willing to pay that higher price--it really is worth it to some.
The fact that Fluke can sell $150 multi-meters when they can be made for $15 is because of the substantial value people attach to branding. $100 Ralph Lauren jeans are made for $10 in Vietnam or wherever, and the only piece of that product protected by trademark is the little RL label (fashion designs cannot be protected). But that's all it takes.
I've been through any number of cheap multimeters over the years and finally broke down and bought a Fluke. It's been absolutely solid. Worth it.
Lets imagine the outcome of two theoretically unrelated possibilities:
1) For safety reasons someone (who?) has purchased an OSHA regulation which now requires that all electricians use high contrast yellow multimeters, yellow indicating their, uh, safety-ness or something.
2) Fluke has paid the .gov to be the only legal yellow multimeter supplier.
I know #2 is true. I suspect but have no evidence #1 is true.
What a pointless thing to enter into your widely connected information appliance. If you think it is true and has some merit as an idea, spend the couple minutes to actually inform us, alternatively just don't bother telling us what you think might be true.
Is it then impossible to sell a product because it would always interfere with someone else's color?
BTW, I agree with other EEs, the Sparkfun meter is not "really great high-quality" as they claim. It will suffice for hobby use, but Fluke's markup is based on having additional quality, not brand recognition.
1) You can't just apply to protect an arbitrary color. You need to show secondary meaning (i.e. the market associates the color in a certain context with your brand). It is unlikely for that to happen with more than one brand in a particular space.
2) The color can't be functional and can't affect the quality or value of the product. So Apple can't trademark aluminum-colored laptops, nor can you trademark yellow or orange traffic cones.
3) With respect to running out of colors, that issue is addressed on pages 168-169. The gist of the argument is that if people "use up" the high-contrast color schemes, than not being able to use some mark will put competitors at a functional disadvantage, which will invoke the functionality bar mentioned in (2), invalidating the other color marks.
That's a totally different "crime" if you want to call it that. Has nothing to do with whether a company has the right to trademark a particular design which in this case they apparently do.
Also maybe there are some other issues at play with precision, calibration and/or taking higher voltages/amperage? Or just not blowing up if you try to measure the wrong circuit with way too much power?
An $8.00 multimeter (including shipping) with a black body and yellow border.
I grew up using Fluke multimeters for electronic experimentations since my father loved them, but I'm really not liking Fluke right now. I think I'll switch over to another multimeter brand unless they work something out with SparkFun before this batch is destroyed.
It would be nice if they got a warning first though.
Red especially is used by many companies for DMMs, it's a safe color. There's also different hues you can use, maybe burgundy, or even stripes. My point is, this color yellow is similar to Fluke yellow, and that's without proper lighting or color calibration.
For example, this is a very popular budget meter, Circuit Specialists have been selling it for many years (I have one that's 7 years old):
Sorry Earth indeed. Shit like this probably happens every minute of the day, and it probably cancels out everyone's cumulative efforts towards a more sustainable society. Destroying working products is a gratuitous waste that should be illegal, and that illegality should supersede any trademark law violation.
Why not order SparkFun to spray paint them black within a number of days instead?
It's seriously difficult to get paint to stick to plastic. When the paint starts peeling, that sounds like a heck of a liability issue.
> Yellow is awfully broad: In my mind, multimeters have always been yellow. I’ve never had the opportunity to own a Fluke-branded DMM so I’m not sure where my brain picked up this association. I can respect trademarks and company branding and I respect Fluke’s reputation for high-quality multimeters. If Fluke wants to own a color I would expect the USPTO to require them to assign an exact color just like Tiffany’s did with Tiffany Blue. But allowing a company to trademark ‘yellow’ seems broad.
This is the diagram in the trademark filing, describing what kind of yellow border is covered:
What could be more clear and limited in scope?
In any case, the punishment seems a little harsh. They could probably arrive an arrangement where the yellow parts would be replaced by some other color and the multimeters could still be sold. Warning shots are acceptable practice.
Also - how long have Fluke been selling their yellow devices?
I learned about Fluke making good multimeters probably about 17 years ago, in a student job. I'm pretty sure it was already yellow (and thus before they applied for the trademark).
They are expensive, but if you use a meter everyday you probably have one. Its a good tool. Mine has taken a lot of abuse.
e: Apparently everyone thinks I'm confusing a trademark with a copyright or a patent, but I'm not. We just got done with several weeks of people screaming their heads off about King's attempt to trademark the word "Candy".
In this thread, everyone is defending Fluke because this yellow outline is a distinguishing mark on their product, and these multimeters DO look like ripoffs. And you know what, I agree. But how is this any different from what everyone was up at arms about only a few weeks ago?
1) They are arbitrary and not functional. It doesn't make a difference to the multimeter whether it's yellow or red.
2) Silicon Valley has an existential interest in the $500+ billion advertising industry, which is built on trademarks and branding.
There's no reason to make the case yellow and the face grey other than to trade on an existing reputation for quality that Fluke has established. That's exactly why there are trademarks. Pick a different color: I suggest hot pink, or 2-tone checkerboard because I would buy that.
I agree that this sucks for Sparkfun, but at some point someone had to think these look a lot like Flukes' multimeters. If you ever find yourself thinking 'this product I'm about to import looks a LOT like $major_market_player's product' then take a second to look up their trademarks. You don't have to stay up to date on every trademark but at least do a cursory search before a big commitment..
Aside: I can think of plenty of fun ways to quickly destroy 2000 cheap multimeters that would not cost $150/hour.
Also if they just reverse the color scheme then the trademark will not be violated and people will still associate yellow with high-quality devices.
Don't watch if you are emotionally attached to pc hardware.
Which is the category for Electronic Multimeter Without a Recording Device, NOT for use in an aircraft.
I could see a system that cross-references that code with known trademarks -- kind of a like a "Be on Lookout Of" but for design trademarks.
More generally, I wonder how is it possible that inspectors are expected to deal with all the grey market goods that could be entering the border? Perhaps, a better example are children's toy jewellery which on numerous times have been found to have toxic levels of chemicals (eg. lead to levels high enough to send children into hospitals). Do the inspectors actually test for lead, or is their some sort of certification paper that is required?
What about those cheap electrical parts that you can buy (e.g. computer/iphone power adapters). I read a tear down report stating that these were unsafe because wiring not done to safety codes, so who is responsible for inspections before they enter the border?
The general case is complex, and I've never been able to read how the process is handled, so I assume given the quantity of products being imported they are often priced so cheap because they never go through the QA and safety standards that would be required if they were manufactured here. --Another example of pricing that doesn't factor in the total cost of the good, that is Chinese toys are cheaper than local because they aren't tested to our codes thereby avoiding whole cost structures that local companies incur resulting in cheaper products yet overall they are more expensive to society because 1% of buyers end up in the hospital and incurring those costs.
There is a really interesting NPR "Planet Money" podcast where they talk to customs folks about the import process. (They were tracing the supply chain for a t-shirt) Customs agents have lots of obscure knowledge about these things.
This is totally overbroad. Unfortunately once something is approved by the PTO it's almost impossible to overturn.
- Is the yellow used by the competitor distinguishable by the human eye from the yellow used by Fluke?
- Is the yellow used by Fluke distinct from colors commonly used on similar items to improve visibility, or a color not commonly available in the source materials for similar products?
If Fluke buys off-the-shelf plastic pellets, with the same colors used by everyone who makes colored plastic things, they can hardly complain when natural, functional choices in product design replicate their claimed color mark.
If they claimed a very specific, non-standard yellow, like rgb(197,247,45), and a specific contrast color, like rgb(0,53,117), I'd defend it in a heartbeat. But let's be honest. If you sell plastic pellets in bulk, and you could only stock 6 colors, they would be transparent, white, black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. At minimum, the customer could melt and mix a specific color within a reasonable gamut. Claiming 2 of those primary pigment colors as trademarked so no one else could use them without significant additional expense is a bit ridiculous.
But the wheels of justice have many irregularly shaped cams and cogs, so my common sense approach almost certainly would not have merit in any actual courtroom.
They applied for a trademark on this, and got it. Now CBP is enforcing the trademark. CBP certainly doesn't ask Fluke before seizing a shipment. The issue here should be the trademark process, not Fluke.
For future reference, actually it does:
Let us take it as a given that within this particular tradespace, “contrasting yellow border” and “Fluke” just happen to be to references for the same thing, in this case a brand. But that also means that the brand can be damaged through either reference, so it’s incumbent upon the company that depends on that brand to guard those references to the brand.
Call it "The Sparkfun Multimeter Casing Challenge". Mention their existing industrial design issues. Call on their users (more than a few of which have a 3D printing background) to design a multimeter housing that's unique, and reflects their brand. If they could wangle it, they could even yank out their DMM circuitry from the import-restricted DMMs and send the guts to the contest entrants to make working prototypes.
That would be a great way to get design done for free by people excited about the Sparkfun brand.
Sparkfun could just "silently" donate those multimeters to the local tech college.
I agree that they should protect their trademark, but destroying the product is not the way to go. They could allow SparkFun to donate the multimeters.
It is also unreasonable that there is no option once seized to have it ship to a country other than the origin. After all it may very well be legal in Canada or Poland or somewhere.
For instance, show the MCD golden arcs to consumers that eat a lot of western fast food and they will all say, MCD. So get a bunch of electrical people who have worked with a number of multimeters and ask them what brand a yellow multimeter is :D
Fluke multimeters really are the best I've ever used. Similarly, Weller soldering stations are the best I've used, and I'd expect them to protect their signature blue case/black front design.
Be sure to try a Metcal some day.
...we have one at work and it is better than the Weller I have at home.
[EDIT] They have at least two generic trademarks, one with matching class.
Class 9 (including electric, measuring):
Class 16: http://trademarks.justia.com/850/51/n-a-85051489.html
For comparison the less generic Class 9 entry of Fluke:
http://trademarks.justia.com/860/76/n-86076075.html & http://trademarks.justia.com/860/76/n-86076086.html
It doesn't seem to stop National Geographic from licensing their logo to optical instrument manufacturer Bresser.
Yellow border on electronic hardware:
[EDIT] There are some
Class 9 (including electric): http://trademarks.justia.com/852/58/n-a-85258337.html
Class 16: http://trademarks.justia.com/850/51/n-a-85051489.html