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Counterfeit Knives ??

Oct 5, 1998
FYI....It was such a nice day here in Cincinnati that I thought I'd spend the day getting my cars tuned and up to date so I went to auto parts store (Auto Zone)to pick up my parts and hanging up on a display was a large display of knife "tools" there was the copy of the Buck tool (without the lock), Leatherman's Supertool,and the Micra tool in a pliers version, and last a version a Swiss Tech tool. The Micra version was 5.00, Swiss 3.00, Buck and Leatherman 10.00
These were all made by Sheffield(Mineola,NY) and made in China. All have a lifetime warranty.
Question is have the pattens all gone up on these tools so now anyone can copy them now? I had to see for myself on these so I bought the Micra and Swiss Tech copy's and I have to admit for the price they are made pretty well.
Any comments or ideas??

At the S.H.O.T. show I saw a US knife company that had no less than seven "knock-offs" of other US manufacturers in thier case. The market is awful bad when a US company has the brass to copy anothers. Then
look someone in the eye and say they are new designs.

Unfortunately... as always, there's a thin line between honesty and opportunity.. It's pretty sad.

Many of the tools you mentioned are covered by patents.

There are no Patent Police, though. It's up to the patent owner to enforce his own patents by suing infringers. So, it's up to the transgressed companies to take action.

In this case, since the tools are being imported, it's fairly easy to get a court order baring their import. But, it's still a legal mess and costly.

The big problem is that if you abandon your patent by not taking action against a violation you are aware of, then it's much more difficult to enforce it against others.

I, of course, don't know anything about this specific case, but I do know that Leatherman has been fairly aggressive lately.

It is possible that this company has licensed the necessary patents from their holders. If you're Tim Leatherman, for example, you can fight 'em in court at huge cost and you might win a moral victory, or you can sell 'em a license and let 'em have the low end of the market. It's not a bad strategy. The customer is kind of attracted to the multi-tool idea, but doesn't want to spend $50 on a Leatherman, so he buys one of these cheap rip offs. Leatherman may have lost a $50 sale, but they weren't going to make that sale anyway. This way, Leatherman does get a dollar or two royalty on it. The customer uses it and gets to like the multi-tool concept. The thing self-destructs, of course. The customer returns it under the "lifetime warranty" and, if the company is still in business (these outfits usually fold and reform under a new name ever few years just to avoid warranty exposure) he is told that he has "abused, neglected, or misused the tool" and it is not covered. He's pissed off and goes out and spends $50 on a Leatherman.


[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 02 May 1999).]
How come it is a "clone" if a 1911 is copied, but a counterfeit or knockoff if a knife is copied? Ignorant minds want to know. Bill Boyd

[This message has been edited by bill boyd (edited 03 May 1999).]
If the 1911 cost 1/5 the price of a Colt and was poorly assembled in SE Asia, I'd call it a knockoff.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)