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How to Voice Your Concerns to the FTC

Unfortunately the FTC does not seem to accept direct email in order to voice consumer concerns - instead they have a generic form on their web site.  The form is not really designed for this sort of issue, but nonetheless you will successfully get your message across.

The form is found at$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

You will need to complete the following entries on the form:

Entry Name Your Response
First and Last Name Recommended to allow the FTC to contact you
Address Info Optional
Email Address Required for a response
Phone Numbers Optional
Social Security Number Do not provide this information, it does not apply
Subject of Your Complaint Home - this is the closest match
Name of the Company You Are Complaining About Meade Instruments Corp.
City Irvine
State California
Country United States
Company Web Site
Phone Number (949) 451-1450
How Did the Company Initially Contact You? Unknown
Explain Your Problem The following is suggested text to describe the issue.  Here is an alternate contributed by Jason.
Copy and paste into the form:
This is a complaint about unfair trade practices that are bad for the consumer.

Due to law suits arising from Meade's very questionable patents, Celestron has agreed to pay Meade royalties for scopes utilizing an alignment method starting with a starting position of north and level.

Meade claims they can patent any alt-azimuth mount alignment procedure that starts with the scope pointed north and level. Consider this - take 50 engineers with no knowledge of astronomy, put them in 50 separate rooms, explain the motion of the sky and then ask them to design a system that automatically points a tube at any given RA-Dec coordinates. Almost every one of them will propose a model that starts with the tube pointed north and level. It is so logical that all portable computerized alt-az telescopes use this method for alignment.

Said another way - to determine the alt-az of any given point in the sky, the common sense method is to know the point on the horizon that lies directly beneath the north or south celestial pole and to have an altitude reference - level. This is a fact due to the motion of the Earth - a natural phenomenon. Meade has of course patented a natural phenomenon.

$100 per scope is the ludicrous license fee that Celestron will pay to Meade. Meade is claiming that they did the research and development that brought about this wonderful revelation. Their engineers spent perhaps 5 or 10 minutes deciding to use north and level; 100 per scope for that amount of "intellectual property" is outrageous.

Meade knew precisely that these royalties would be passed to the consumer and are using this as a market advantage. In the end, it will be the consumers that are hurt by the decreased ability of other companies to compete on a level footing with Meade's superior legal resources.


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Michael Swanson
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