Roller coaster design

Are roller coaster designs trademarked or copyrighted? Is there anything from stopping a developer from saying, lets build a replica Phoenix at another park?

Just curious!


gary b
janfrederick's avatar

I doubt it. Look at all the Cyclone knock-offs that were built. And doesn't the Kentucky Rumbler have a couple other copies, one of which isn't from the same manufacterer?

I'm sure the blueprints/specs are protected though. A lot of money goes into the engineering. But if someone wants to sink a ton of money into engineering a ride with the same layout, I'm sure there's nothing to stop them.


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

While I'm not sure whether a particular layout can be trademarked or copyrighted, Jeff Gramke, the head of engineering at Kings Island, had some interesting info at an enthusiast event this summer. According to Mr. Gramke, coaster manufacturers, when presenting a proposed design to a park, require that the parks sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding the ride specs. So, when enthusiasts asked what other manufacturers had come up with for the Diamondback site, Mr. Gramke's lips were sealed. Rather than design a new ride for every proposal, manufacturers can come up with a general idea and propose it to multiple parks.

With that in mind, I certainly give the PKI Addams Family Coaster turned Dollywood Mystery Mine idea a bit more consideration.


DantheCoasterman's avatar

^PKI Addams Family Coaster? :-\


-Daniel

^It's long been rumored (I'm not sure if it was ever confirmed, or will be) that DW's Mystery Mine was originally a concept ride back in the PKI days called Addams Family Coaster. There was a survey sent out asking about what ride would excite you the most, along with concept art. It looks strikingly simlar to what is now Mystery Mine. I believe instead of this concept, Backlot Stunt Coaster (Italian Job) was built (unfortunately IMHO).

Last edited by pyrocoasterkid,

janfrederick said:
I doubt it. Look at all the Cyclone knock-offs that were built. And doesn't the Kentucky Rumbler have a couple other copies, one of which isn't from the same manufacterer?

No.....There are no Kentucky Rumbler clones/copies. You may have been thinking of Evel Knievel, as it is a copy/clone of Thunderbird.

The layout of the Boardwalk Bullet does incorporate the same style of "aeroplane coaster" 1st drop that GCI used on the Kentcuky Rumbler though. Every time I see pics of the BB I see a design that was born from GCI minds.


I don't know if there's such a thing as ownership of a layout, but I'd think the company that did the actual calculations and design wouldn't be too keen on just giving those away.

I suppose a company could look at Phoenix, or any other coaster, and design a coaster of the same dimensions, with the same elements in the same order. But if they did, they had better meet or surpass the ride experience of the original, or they'd look pretty foolish.

I don't think you can do much to protect the layout of a coaster however it is very possible to patent the underlying enabling technology. I don't know enough about the technology to say whether this is the case or not, but take Intamin's hydraulic launch system used on Dragster and Xcelerator. I suspect that sort of thing can be patented and thus protected from reproduction.

janfrederick's avatar

No.....There are no Kentucky Rumbler clones/copies. You may have been thinking of Evel Knievel, as it is a copy/clone of Thunderbird.

Sorry, I was thinking Thunder Run at Kentucky Kingdom and Hurler at Carowinds.

Last edited by janfrederick,
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Raven-Phile's avatar

RatherGoodBear said:
I suppose a company could look at Phoenix, or any other coaster, and design a coaster of the same dimensions, with the same elements in the same order. But if they did, they had better meet or surpass the ride experience of the original, or they'd look pretty foolish.

Wolverine Wildcat comes to mind when you bring this up. Only, it doesn't meet, or exceed the experience of Phoenix.

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