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    • New

      Ruptured Duck wrote:

      Im going to answer this both as a vendor and as someone who has or had to develop product that were similar to others (even with patent in place) in another line of work. This is an unfortunate aspect of free enterprise (like it or not) from a strickly business standpoint. Without IP protection it's really up for grabs. I had worries early on regarding one of my ideas and went the rather expensive and time consuming process of applying for a patent. I'm still in pending status but have protection on my side. Utility patents are the ones to have but a design patent can be easier to obtain. If Vendor Y has all his or her documentation and dates on his design a provisional patent can be applied for and that gives them 12 months to get it finalized. This does nothing for the short time but if Vendor X proceeds to produce an exact copy they run the risk of being taken to court when and if the patent is finalized. Vendor Y would have legal rights to all sales (profit) that Vendor X received from selling the copy and also possible lost sales. That is about all you can really do. It's sad but that is business. I risk it with anything I make or design. Now here is what we as consumers can do. Be educated about what we are buying. Do the research and support those that inovate. I can tell you that the consumers are smart and will notice this over time. Now vendor X has the freedom to do this but at minimum should either improve or offer a better solution. This is how innovation works. Even working around patents is a normal business practice. Straight up knock offs only offer short term gains and in the end tarnish the image of the company. Back to Vendor Y..... Now is when you should be working on the next better thing.
      We have been around long enough now to have 2 of our products copied by other vendors in the MINI market, both times it was a short term gain for the company that stole our product idea, however over the years one of those companies has gone bankrupt and the other one is well on the way to going bankrupt. From my experience in the aftermarket world, when a company starts copying ideas, that means that they are getting desperate because they do not have the creativity or engineering experience to actually create their own products. For a company to simply copy another persons product without their permission shows the underlying low morals of the company also and any company that has that low of morals seems to eventually fail, at least in the aftermarket car business that I have experience with. If the company in question can not at least come up with a better version of it to sell, then they have no creativity or design sense and can only sustain themselves for so long on old ideas and knock-offs of other product before their business suffers. We look at the aftermarket business as a longterm game, some vendors look at it as a short game though and whatever makes them a quick dollar now is what they do. However, if you can not set yourself up to be around for a long time and be patient and treat people right, you will not be here longterm. So, it does suck if someone copies their idea, legally there is nothing that can probably be done, unless there is a design patent in place and there are funds to defend that patent, but longterm the vendor copying the design will suffer from my past experience.
    • New

      Without weighing in on the drama itself, I just want to say that I really appreciate the perspectives being shared here, rational and eloquent (or not so eloquent). This, to me, is what a good, respectful forum should look like.

      Thanks to Dave and RD for the personal experiences shared here.
      :BLUESS:
    • New

      It is a business' right to make a product that isn't protected. It is a consumer's right to choose a vendor that best aligns with their needs/wants.

      I think it is pretty aggressive of you to make this thread and try to lead people to boycott a company. I mean, what happens if the small guy can't make enough fidgets for the market demand?! What would it be like if you only had the mom and pop and there wasn't any other options?! Both are bad in my mind.

      I can count a lot of Slingshot products that were knocked off by a cheap imitator over the almost 4 years. Shouldn't we get bent out of shape at all of the instances? Let's take the Alpha Coil Pack Cover as an example. That company was really small when it first started making this product. They were the only one making one in the Slingshot community and it was made in the U.S. Fast forward with all of the imitators (some big companies), and now there are around 6 different coil pack cover options offered as Slingshot specific. As a fan you feel for the company/person, but as a consumer you now have 6 different options which creates better selection, better pricing, and more availability. EDIT - Turns out this isn't even a good example, as coil pack covers were being made by people like DDM for this engine in other applications long before the Slingshot came along....

      Business is brutal and free competition is important. The smaller company / originator should tell their story and stick to their differentiation strategy. They will be fine.
      Owner of Slingshot #263 that has some stock parts left on it. :D

      The post was edited 1 time, last by TravAZ ().

    • New

      Dave@DDMWorks wrote:

      Ruptured Duck wrote:

      Im going to answer this both as a vendor and as someone who has or had to develop product that were similar to others (even with patent in place) in another line of work. This is an unfortunate aspect of free enterprise (like it or not) from a strickly business standpoint. Without IP protection it's really up for grabs. I had worries early on regarding one of my ideas and went the rather expensive and time consuming process of applying for a patent. I'm still in pending status but have protection on my side. Utility patents are the ones to have but a design patent can be easier to obtain. If Vendor Y has all his or her documentation and dates on his design a provisional patent can be applied for and that gives them 12 months to get it finalized. This does nothing for the short time but if Vendor X proceeds to produce an exact copy they run the risk of being taken to court when and if the patent is finalized. Vendor Y would have legal rights to all sales (profit) that Vendor X received from selling the copy and also possible lost sales. That is about all you can really do. It's sad but that is business. I risk it with anything I make or design. Now here is what we as consumers can do. Be educated about what we are buying. Do the research and support those that inovate. I can tell you that the consumers are smart and will notice this over time. Now vendor X has the freedom to do this but at minimum should either improve or offer a better solution. This is how innovation works. Even working around patents is a normal business practice. Straight up knock offs only offer short term gains and in the end tarnish the image of the company. Back to Vendor Y..... Now is when you should be working on the next better thing.
      We have been around long enough now to have 2 of our products copied by other vendors in the MINI market, both times it was a short term gain for the company that stole our product idea, however over the years one of those companies has gone bankrupt and the other one is well on the way to going bankrupt. From my experience in the aftermarket world, when a company starts copying ideas, that means that they are getting desperate because they do not have the creativity or engineering experience to actually create their own products. For a company to simply copy another persons product without their permission shows the underlying low morals of the company also and any company that has that low of morals seems to eventually fail, at least in the aftermarket car business that I have experience with. If the company in question can not at least come up with a better version of it to sell, then they have no creativity or design sense and can only sustain themselves for so long on old ideas and knock-offs of other product before their business suffers. We look at the aftermarket business as a longterm game, some vendors look at it as a short game though and whatever makes them a quick dollar now is what they do. However, if you can not set yourself up to be around for a long time and be patient and treat people right, you will not be here longterm. So, it does suck if someone copies their idea, legally there is nothing that can probably be done, unless there is a design patent in place and there are funds to defend that patent, but longterm the vendor copying the design will suffer from my past experience.
      My 2 cents observing this family - once the second vendor brings the product to market everyone will figure it out. I think the family will stick together and keep supporting the original supplier. You guys are an awesome group loyal - not vindictive it will just work itself out.
      Its a family thing!
      MOE MONEY - MOE MODS
      :GRAYSS:
      LONE WOLF
    • New

      TravAZ wrote:

      It is a business' right to make a product that isn't protected. It is a consumer's right to choose a vendor that best aligns with their needs/wants.

      I think it is pretty aggressive of you to make this thread and try to lead people to boycott a company. I mean, what happens if the small guy can't make enough fidgets for the market demand?! What would it be like if you only had the mom and pop and there wasn't any other options?! Both are bad in my mind
      @TravAZ, I didn't see anywhere in the OP where it was leading people to a boycott, just asking as an option. Because let's face it, Americans love to talk about boycotts. But I think the discussion throughout this thread has been rational and well-metered. And whether aggressive or not, we all have opinions, and they're going to differ whether you fall more on the "free-enterprise" side or "protect small business" side. And none of them are wrong in and of themselves.
      :BLUESS:
    • New

      MACAWS wrote:

      My 2 cents observing this family - once the second vendor brings the product to market everyone will figure it out. I think the family will stick together and keep supporting the original supplier. You guys are an awesome group loyal - not vindictive it will just work itself out.Its a family thing!
      Concur with everything Mitch said...Except the part about being afraid of @sideseatdriver. :00008172:
      :BLUESS:
    • New

      KayTwo wrote:

      TravAZ wrote:

      It is a business' right to make a product that isn't protected. It is a consumer's right to choose a vendor that best aligns with their needs/wants.

      I think it is pretty aggressive of you to make this thread and try to lead people to boycott a company. I mean, what happens if the small guy can't make enough fidgets for the market demand?! What would it be like if you only had the mom and pop and there wasn't any other options?! Both are bad in my mind
      @TravAZ, I didn't see anywhere in the OP where it was leading people to a boycott, just asking as an option. Because let's face it, Americans love to talk about boycotts. But I think the discussion throughout this thread has been rational and well-metered. And whether aggressive or not, we all have opinions, and they're going to differ whether you fall more on the "free-enterprise" side or "protect small business" side. And none of them are wrong in and of themselves.
      Fair enough. But the options on the poll are pretty aggressive and worded in a way that I think will steer people. Either way, it is almost impossible to make an educated decision without hopping on a band wagon without knowing the whole story and the parties involved.
      Owner of Slingshot #263 that has some stock parts left on it. :D

      The post was edited 1 time, last by TravAZ ().

    • New

      MACAWS wrote:

      My 2 cents observing this family - once the second vendor brings the product to market everyone will figure it out. I think the family will stick together and keep supporting the original supplier. You guys are an awesome group loyal - not vindictive it will just work itself out.Its a family thing!
      Well, yeah, here... But what about in Florida? speechless-squared

      Or rallies? Or Facebook? Or non-flip phone markets? We've got the member's back... But if we've purchased the product already... New sales go where?

      I so see both sides though... And if it ultimately brought PRICES DOWN, well... :/

      Now if they keep the price the same, or dare they try, raise the price... Well... :00007991:

    • New

      MiM wrote:

      MACAWS wrote:

      My 2 cents observing this family - once the second vendor brings the product to market everyone will figure it out. I think the family will stick together and keep supporting the original supplier. You guys are an awesome group loyal - not vindictive it will just work itself out.Its a family thing!
      Well, yeah, here... But what about in Florida? speechless-squared
      Or rallies? Or Facebook? Or non-flip phone markets? We've got the member's back... But if we've purchased the product already... New sales go where?

      I so see both sides though... And if it ultimately brought PRICES DOWN, well... :/

      Now if they keep the price the same, or dare they try, raise the price... Well... :00007991:
      But sir - then there will be more gently used ones in the market place
      MOE MONEY - MOE MODS
      :GRAYSS:
      LONE WOLF
    • New

      I have no idea what's going on but it would definitely help if we knew the names of the offending vendors as well as the offended party.

      I prefer to say things without sugar coating them and IMHO it would be better all around if the names are out in the open so people can defend themselves if they choose because there are always two sides to a coin.
      Proud owner of an Ultra Super Duper Faster than Light Red.
    • New

      TravAZ wrote:

      It is a business' right to make a product that isn't protected. It is a consumer's right to choose a vendor that best aligns with their needs/wants.

      I think it is pretty aggressive of you to make this thread and try to lead people to boycott a company. I mean, what happens if the small guy can't make enough fidgets for the market demand?! What would it be like if you only had the mom and pop and there wasn't any other options?! Both are bad in my mind.

      I can count a lot of Slingshot products that were knocked off by a cheap imitator over the almost 4 years. Shouldn't we get bent out of shape at all of the instances? Let's take the Alpha Coil Pack Cover as an example. That company was really small when it first started making this product. They were the only one and was made in the U.S. Fast forward with all of the imitators (some big companies), and now there are 6 different coil pack cover options. As a fan you feel for the company, but as a consumer you now have 6 different options and they are overall less expensive.

      Business is brutal and free competition is important. The smaller company / originator should tell their story and stick to their differentiation story. They will be fine.
      Thanks for your input.

      I will have to agree with @Shatneyman s point of view.
      We have had some good input from members and a majority so far have chosen to support a fellow member.

      Thank you to everyone who has posted.

      I will always stand by family regardless if someone thinks it is aggressive or not. If that is a problem, so be it.

      As for designing the questions to make everyone jump on the band wagon, if that was my intention I would have called out the vendor in question as was suggested. Those who know me will tell you that won't happen.

      The member who this is in support of will have read the input and gained knowledge of how the members are willing to stand for each other. I will be pulling this thread down in the morning after it is reviewed.

      See you all in MV.
    • New

      There is so much I could to say in all of this... but I won’t ~> you’re welcome BTW. :00000014:

      Look, if you have the “next great idea” ~> best to keep it hush until it’s marketing/production time. And if it’s a really BIG idea (and you want to corner the market for a while), partner with a mid/large-size manufacturing firm who will sign a non-compete/copy clause to meet your projected demand. Where possible, add as much complexity and uniqueness to help prolong a Pinkerton's copy-cycle and be ready with the “next great idea” each new product launch. Not much else you can do really ~> This is the world we live in... people suck... and it’s typically the little girl/guy who gets screwed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a healthy profit in the interim.
      If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you...
      // ES-DesignWorks

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