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Heathkit® Frequently Asked Questions

Big changes, big plans

Q. Is Heathkit still in business?
A. Yes. We're in business.
Q. So are you really making Heathkit® kits?
A. Yes.
Q. Wow! That simple? “Yes?”
A. Yes.
Q. Do Heathkit products include entirely new designs?
A. Yes.
Q. Will you continue to offer vintage kit designs?
A. Yes. Tell us what you'd like – take our survey.
Q. How can I order the latest Heathkit® kit designs?
A. From our website. Please understand, the design process is a long road, and we need every product we offer to be Heathkit® quality. We will communicate with you, here and elsewhere, as we make progress on each kit we sell. Thanks for being patient while we continue the legacy of this great company and add to its spectacular product line.
Q. I have great ideas—about products I wish you'd make, and past kits I'd buy if Heathkit brings them back. What should I do?
A. You are our favorite customer. We want to hear from you. Of course, don't tell us anything proprietary unless you have a non-disclosure agreement signed with us. But if you want to tell us about yourself, your favorite past or future Heathkit product, and what you most hope to see and buy from us: Please—take our survey.

Questions about the company

Q. Who owns Heathkit?
A. Heathkit® is a trademark of Heath Company, registered in the US and around the world. Heath Company owns all Heathkit® corporate assets worldwide.
Q. I thought Heathkit didn't exist any more.
A. To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.
Q. But I read it on the Internet, and Wikipedia.
A. Yeah, we saw that too. (Wikipedia once reported that the Vatican has a Death Star. Who writes this stuff?)
Q. Magazines also printed articles saying Heathkit went bankrupt in 2012.
A. Yes. Bankruptcy is a financial problem where you lack money. It is not always the end of life of a business. Many businesses go through bankruptcy and emerge stronger. Heathkit® is such a success story.
Q. Who owns Heathkit now?
A. Heath Company does. (Heathkit® is a trademark of Heath Company, registered in the US and around the world.) At Heath Company, Heathkit's destiny is in new hands, under new management and ownership. We know the value and trust you place in the Heathkit® name, and we are committed to making Heathkit succeed and flourish.
Q. I thought the name of the company was “Heathkit Educational Systems.”
A. This was widely misreported and misunderstood. “Heathkit® Educational Systems” is a trademarked use of the Heathkit® trademark, not the corporation name. (This and all uses of Heathkit® fall under Heath Company's trademarks, registered internationally.)
Q. All these company names are really confusing.
A. We understand. As devoted Heathkit® fans know, the parent company name and the ownership of Heathkit have changed a number of times in the 80 or so years since Ed Heath founded the business. Over the decades Heathkit has been owned by Daystrom, Schlumberger, and Zenith and has been independent several times. Really: Unless you're an industry historian, it doesn't matter. Here's the bottom line: Heath Company has restarted Heathkit®. High-quality kits, educational systems and instructional products always have been a major line of Heathkit's business, and we remain committed to education and the joy of building and learning as an important Heathkit® value and contribution.
Q. So who are you guys?
A. More on this later. We want the products we sell to speak for themselves. Notwithstanding this FAQ, the team is presently in stealth. But here's what we want you to know right now: We have enormous respect for the Heathkit® name, and we know you do too. We consider ourselves this decade's caretakers of the most respected name in do-it-yourself and educational electronics and related products over the past century. It's a terrific opportunity and a historical responsibility we take seriously, and we want to preserve and grow this opportunity, together with you. We know we need to earn and keep your trust every day. Meanwhile, to whet your appetite: Our new CEO/President, and every member of Heath Company's Board of Directors, are avid kit-builders and DIYers.  We own and use Heathkit® products ourselves. For those with this interest, it happens we all are licensed amateur radio operators. (Also happy with our team will be: car buffs, pilots, musicians & artists, sports/outdoors enthusiasts, parents, educators, and people who value community service.) Our management team have substantial experience as high-tech executives, in startups and public companies, and in technology and finance. We are carefully growing a team of highly experienced industry advisors. Most importantly, we want you to help and advise us too. Ultimately, it is you, with your excitement and enthusiasm and interest in doing great things with great products, who will make Heathkit a success.
Q. Why have you been in stealth?
A. Efficiency. Here are two business choices. Choice (a) is, early on we spend lots of money, time and energy on press releases and marketing and public interaction. Choice (b) is, we quietly assemble a talented team, learn what our customer community wants, and put all our energy into creating great new products (while sustaining or improving great vintage products). Which choice sounds better?

Heathkit Insiders

Q. I heard there is a group called Heathkit Insiders.
A. Yes, there is.
Q. How can I join the Heathkit Insiders group?
A. Take the survey, and provide a valid email address.
Q. I want to be a Heathkit Insider, but I am concerned about privacy.
A. We understand. We are big privacy advocates too. You may feel more comfortable after carefully reading our privacy policy.
Q. I took the survey and entered an email address, but I haven't received any Heathkit Insiders messages.
A. There are several possible explanations.
  • It can take time for your email address to be added to the list, since email addresses must be checked and corrected.
  • You might have entered an incorrect email address. About 5-10% of email addresses are entered incorrectly or undeliverable. We work hard to decipher and correct entry errors, but sometimes they are not possible to fix.
  • Your email service may be marking your Heathkit Insider communications as spam. This problem is especially likely if you use a very large email or forwarding service like gmail, Yahoo, or ARRL.net. Your email service provider may have moved valid Heathkit Insiders messages to your spam folder, or they may block the messages completely. Presently all Heathkit Insiders email comes from the (non-human mail robot) address "heathkit-insider-mailing-list-robot-2013" at heathkit.com, and you may need to "whitelist" this address or add it to your email address book stored at the service provider's website, so your service provider allows it to arrive. The ARRL forwarding service apparently filters email it forwards to you but does not provide a way for you to whitelist your favorite senders. So if you gave Heathkit an ARRL.net email address and you have not received your Heathkit Insiders communications, you may need to contact the ARRL and tell them you want to receive email from heathkit.com. (We recognize this is a bit ironic.)

Intellectual Property

Q. Why do you have a FAQ section on intellectual preoperty?
A. Customers ask us about it. They want to know that we are continuing the Company's great traditions unabated. (We are.)
Q. I read on the Internet that Heathkit publications are in the public domain.
A. Not from anyone who understands intellectual property law. (Again: Who writes this stuff?) The Internet probably is not an ideal place to obtain primary legal advice. To be clear: No. This is false.
Q. Who owns Heathkit's intellectual property?
A. Heath Company owns all Heathkit® intellectual property – all trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. (This includes, for example, all current and historical Heathkit product designs, patents, manual copyrights, schematics, lines of business, contract rights, customer lists, relationships, marketing plans, photos, videos, trade dresses, catalog rights, textbook copyrights, logos, publication designs….) 100% of it. Under U.S. and international copyright and other applicable IP law, this also means we own the rights over derivative works (roughly: if someone copies our intellectual property, we own rights over their work too). Of course, this is great news for Heathkit fans and customers. You want all the Heathkit® IP in one place under one roof. It means Heathkit can keep being Heathkit.
Q. I read on the Internet that someone else owns the copyrights to Heathkit® manuals.
A. No, not correct. (At least Wikipedia got this right.) Heathkit has in the past given a contractual license to certain specific parties granting a limited right to reprint and sell paper copies of specific obsolete Heathkit manuals, to better serve valued Heathkit customers on those special occasions when you spill coffee on your original kit manual. Such reprinting agreements are designed to outsource Heathkit's reprinting operations to smaller companies who can provide replacement manuals cost-effectively but do not convey Heathkit's intellectual property, only a big stack of old files together with permission to reprint authorized paper photocopies. All Heathkit® copyrights remain with Heathkit.
Q. So Heath Company owns all Heathkit® copyrights?
A. Yes. All Heathkit® copyrights, and all Heathkit intellectual property, are property of Heath Company.
Q. What about using the term “Heathkit”?
A. “Heathkit®” is a registered trademark of Heath Company. If you want to write about our products and services in a news article, blog, or club newsletter, or participate in the vibrant hobbyist reseller market for true original vintage Heathkit® products, we're delighted—please use the proper registered-trademark notation, “Heathkit®” whenever referring to us or our products. (On the other hand: To people who thought they could get away with advertising or selling their own products or services using Heathkit's name, logo or slogans, or who copy or mimick Heathkit's copyrighted works, falsely represent themselves publicly on social media or elsewhere using the Heathkit® name without Heath Company permission, try to scam the public by selling non-Heathkit® products bearing our trademarked name, or otherwise improperly use Heathkit® intellectual property: Please cease immediately.)
Q. I saw someone clearly misusing the Heathkit® name, or violating your copyright. What can I do?
A. If you know of someone doing this, please tell them to stop immediately. Consider reporting them to their seller venue. And don't buy their products. When people steal or leech off Heathkit's intellectual property, they are stealing from you, because money we spend pursuing violators burns up resources we could have invested in designing another great product for you, making someone available to answer your questions, or offering your club or school a group discount. We have to reserve our right to protect our good name and intellectual property, but truly, as much as we like our lawyers (we do have some excellent lawyers), we don't want to be in the lawsuit business. We want to invest our resources in continuing the honorable Heathkit® legacy by designing and bringing you terrific products. So please help us out. If you're reading this, you're probably already a fan of Heathkit®, and you respect the name and you understand the potential yet to come. Don't let irresponsible people steal opportunity from you and the Heathkit® community. Stop a thief today. The kit you save may be your own.

What Next

Q. How can I keep up-to-date on Heathkit's progress?
A. You can become a Heathkit Insider. If you use Facebook, you also can "Like" us on the Heath Company Facebook page (visit that page and click the "Like" button). Facebook then will notify you when we post updates and announcements.
Q. What else can I do?
A. Take the survey. Then—since the best way to get us to create products you really want is to convince us there's a market for them: Share your enthusiasm—tell your friends to take the survey.

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