Knock offs, intellectual property issues, please weigh in...

Oct 8, 1998
Good Day,

There has been some talk lately about the "Jogger" knife by Smith and Wesson aka Taylor Cutlery. It has been identified as a knock off or fairly direct copy of Darell Ralph's neck knife based on his highly original Krait.

So this got me thinking, which led me to do some research. And here is what I found.

Magnum is connected to Boker USA and they sell knockoffs of CRKT, Carson, Benchmade, SOG, Emerson, and Boguzewski designs.

Smith and Wesson aka Taylor Cutlery sells knockoffs of Carson, Ralph, and Benchmade designs.

United sells knockoffs of Carson, Kershaw/Onion, Cold Steel.

Junglee, I did not have a catalog at work, but I remember they sell knives that look a mightly bit like other knives.

Double 8 trading sells knockoffs of designs by MicroTech, Terzuola, Kershaw/Onion, Al Mar, Spyderco 5 times or more, Sidelinger, Peter Stebbins by Kubasek, Carson, Emerson, Elishewitz, Walker, Benchmade, CRKT, Crawford 3 times, Boguzewski, Buck, Katz, SOG, Cold Steel, Boker, AG Russell, Hibben, Gerber, Ka Bar, Nealy, Ontario I think, and Phrobis/Buck.

That's a lot of knock offs.

So what should we do?

Bear this in mind, many of these knives are made in China, the "Peoples Republic of". As James K Mattis puts it, "The world's largest political prison".

Now, everybody copies Loveless and Randall.

I have seen Terzuola designs around that don't have his name on them.

What do we do with retailers that sell Chinese made knives?

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at If I fail to check back with this thread and you want some info, email me.

Check out my review of the Kasper AFCK, thougths on the AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper.

Let every person have the freedom to sell whatever he wants, as long as the product does no harm, just don't buy them, encourage others not to buy them. Although selling these products may so economical harm to our society to the benefit of China, the retailer should have the freedom to sell them. Sooner or later, the retailer will decide there is no personal profit in them, it is called supply and demand.
Remember Yugo automobiles?
Functionality mostly defines the shape of the knives, IMO. It seems to me that every "tactical" folder will look alike one day. It is difficult to come up with something new....

I have also car example. Take new Audi and Volkswagen and even new Skoda. They are one family, look similar and Skoda is about 1/2 the price of Audi. Yet there is market for both. As long as there is a market for cheap knives (cars, shoes, computers...... )there will be somebody producing them.

For those who do not know Skoda:

[This message has been edited by David1967 (edited 24 August 1999).]
I guess I was asking how far does one take a boycott.

So, I don't buy knives fom China. But do I buy knives from a importer who buys knives from China?

So I don't buy knives from China, and I don't buy knives from importers that buy knives from China. But do I buy knives from dealers that buy knives from importers that buy knives from China?

So I don't buy knives from China, and I don't buy knives from importers that buy knives from China and I don't buy knives from dealers that buy knives from importers that buy knives from China? But do I buy knives from retailers who.....

Do I really care about the work conditions of slave laborers in China?

Do I care that they are virtual slaves?

Do I care that my knife dollar goes indirectly to supporting a regime that has one of the worst human rights records on the planet?

Do I care that that puts me on a level playing field with fun guys like Hitler and Vlad the Impaler?

I guess I am wondering what my knife dollar says.

I mean knock offs are bad, and that is what got me started in my research, but regardless of how many "Joggers" S&W sells, Darrell will probably still make it. Despite the setback and bad business it was for S&W to outright copy his knife.

Bu Darrell is not a slave. He fairly freely chooses to do what he does.

He didn't have to choose between death and knifemaking.

I know it is really politically incorrect to bring the rest of the world and the controversial parts at that into our fun domain of knives, but for most of us we go to bed and wake up with a good bit of liberty.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at If I fail to check back with this thread and you want some info, email me.

Check out my review of the Kasper AFCK, thougths on the AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper.

Mike Turber proposed something awhile back (darn, now where is that search feature) which I thought addressed the knockoff problem. Basically he just said let the knockoff companys/sellers pay a royalty to the individual or company which designed/created the knife. This normally would require an upfront agreement of some kind. The royalty doesn't have to be excessive to make this work.

If S&W would pay a royalty to Darrel for the neck knife knockoff, that would at least keep me from grumbling and complaining.
In the examples you site, are you sure that all of these makers have not paid a royaly of any kind to the maker? The reason I ask is because I was suprised to see United Cutlery listed as making Ken Onion knock offs. United collaberated with Ken O on a knife design for Colt, with is owned by UC.

Just because a knife looks like another doesn`t always mean it`s a knock off. If the manufacturer respected the makers patent, then it`s all legal.

I`d hate to see any makers products boycotted, or reputations tainted in these forums without getting more info from the injured parties whose designs have been used without compensation.

[This message has been edited by Steve B. (edited 24 August 1999).]

Remedies exsist, but few choose to utilize them. These being Patents and Copywrites. These are generally only good in the US. However, other countries do offer these same protections, but you must apply through these countries.

Most patents are cost and time prohibitive.

With the pace of Global business, this trend of ripoffs will continue. Fair or not, this is how it works.

Don't get too irritated about S&W. As with most factory knives, they cannot even come close to their custom counterparts.

Six months from now, they along with knife factories around the world will have ripped off someone else. And the S&W Krait ripoff will just be something in a file at S&W headquarters.

As for dealing with the world's largest political prison, I've gone all over town looking for computer cables made somewhere that can sneak into a discussion of free countries in a good week, and I can't find any. And having money in a diversified stock portfolio means that I do more trading with the enemy indirectly than all the retail merchandise I have mentally spat upon. To properly boycott tyranny, I'd have to pull all my assets out of financial institutions and adopt the life style of the Old Order Amish.

As for "knock-offs" from any source, perhaps we should watch the forums and knife publications to see if the authors of the originals are complaining, and follow thier lead when we shop.

R.W. Loveless is possibly the most imitated maker out there, and he's back-ordered for years, so he's likely to tell a maker who does a "Loveless style" how he can make it even closer to the original.

I carry the Pro-Tech Runt on my page, because I can't get the Dalton original through normal channels, the Pro-Tech is CA-source, and the Pro-Tech is arguably better made. If Robbie Dalton tells me he's annoyed by the Runt, I'll stop.

With the ubiquitous Spyderco knock-offs and the S&W-Taylor products mentioned above, we know the authors of the originals are annoyed.

AKTI Member # SA00001
In the US, we have the opportunity to provide these folks with feedback in the most real way: vote with your pocketbook. In the case of someone like S & W, don't buy the knife and, and this is important, TELL them that you are not going to buy their knife and tell them way. Tell them that you think it's unethical to steal other people's work. Tell them that you think it's a shame that a proud American company that has built its reputation making tools to enforce law and order is now outright stealing. Tell them that you think it's a shame that a company that has been an American institution known for innovative new products has, apparently, lost its creative tallents and is now forced to steal other's work (It's not just knives, either. I'm told that their "Sigma" series are such blatant copies of Glock designs that many of the parts will interchange. Curiously, and this just occured to me, in the field of Statistics, the Greek letter sigma is a measure of how much difference, or, in the converse, similarity, there are between two sets of data. Is that telling, or what?). Fortunately, in this day and age of technology, you can to the web, get their e-mail address, and dash 'em off a note right now.


I don't think anyone is worried that Taylor Cutlery's Krait knockoff will make Darrel's custom version obsolete. More of a concern is that because there's a Krait neck knife already on the market by Taylor, Darrel loses the opportunity to do a licensed factory Krait neck knife. It's irritating that Darrel might lose the opportunity to profit from his design.

And that is where I draw the line, MDP. When a company has an adverse effect on someone that I know, like, and respect by stealing their ideas.

Simple call in this case.

I started Dragon Forge about 6 months ago. I approached serveral makers with my new idea on how to attack the problem.

Knock off's which appear on our site will be clearly identified as such and if available there will be a link directly to the original makers web site. Each maker will be paid a royalty for each knife sold. We will not sell any known knock off without permission from the original maker. We believe this to be a proactive way to handle a problem which has been around for years.

Dragon Forge will lead the way in this new direction of marketing and we hope others will do the same.

Dragon Forge officially started at the Blade Show and our first quarter will end on 9/30/99. Shortly there after each maker will receive a check from us. No paperwork, no contracts, no BS, just money.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

As for "knock-offs" from any source, perhaps we should watch the forums and knife publications to see if the authors of the originals are complaining, and follow thier lead when we shop.

I like this statement so much I'm using it to pop the top.

[This message has been edited by RadarMan (edited 24 August 1999).]
There is an undefined line in creative works where people do work "inspired" by someone else's work.

It has historical precedent in art and metal trades as well. It was common for artists in training to paint their own versions of acknowledged artists works to learn technique and other skills. Some of these paintings became famous in their own rights and were never confused with forgery.

Are they knockoffs?

I'm not going to answer that yet. I don't know enough.

Historically, and even today, blacksmiths took apprentices and knife makers occasionally teach apprentices to pass on their trade, techniques, and even styles. If the apprentice makes the product, is it a knock off? When the apprentice goes out on his own and makes something similar, is it a knock off?

When the apprentice makes a product "inspired" by someone else's work but still different, is it a knock off?

When SNL satirizes a movie or a song, is it a knock off? (No, they are usually protected under parody and fair use interpretations, but the line between parody and exploitation of someone elses creativity gets blurred quite often too.)

How about when Microsoft Word allows you automatically set Word to have the same keystroke commands and other functions of WordPerfect? Is that a knock off?

In looking at the S&W knife and D.R.s knife, there are undeniable similarities. But I think I would note more differences than likenesses over all.

I own no S&W knives. They don't meet my criteria.

I own no D.R. knives. I am poor.

So when is something a knock off?

I am uncomfortable with only saying "you know it when you see it."

On a related note, OE and D.R. have been diplomatic and professional in public and deserve respect and support for their approach to this situation.

Phil Hatch
the reason the wantaby's are selling is the simple fact there are a lot of poor people that can't aford to buy the real thing.I whould be embarresed to pull out one of these cheep coppies.I do feel we should boycot the china blades,but it really won't do any good because we won't buy any anyway.we need to educate people on what is a good knife and what isn't
I have several MT and BM that I would never dream of taking apart to see how they operate. I purchased a couple of cheap autos just to take them apart and see how they worked. I knew what I was getting. You get what you pay for. Just my Opinion.