Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Family Camping, Family Weekend Trips, Gadget Reviews, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, RV Campgrounds, Technology & Camping, Tent Campgrounds
Chinese Company Copies the SylvanSport GO
In an earlier post, Meet the GO! by SylvanSport, I reported on the GO, a lightweight, reconfigurable, pop-up trailer manufactured by Brevard, North Carolina-based SylvanSport LLC.
SylvanSport has learned that Wuyi Tiandi Motion Apparatus Co. Ltd., a manufacturing company operating out of Zhejiang, China has begun manufacturing and selling counterfeit versions of the popular SylvanSport GO, according to a press release.
Designed and manufactured entirely in the U.S., the SylvanSport GO has been widely praised for its innovative design features. The GO “was copied down to the color scheme and even the marketing support materials,” said Tom Dempsey, founder and president of Sylvan Sport.
Sylvan Sport said that “this is an unusually blatant example illustrating the increasing problem of many of China’s most accomplished companies achieving their success by pilfering the intellectual property of other industrialized nations.”
The company claims that in the case of SylvanSport—whose three original reconfigurable US travel trailer patents (566623, 566624, and 566625) were filed in 2007 (along with a subsequent PCT[i])—a customer purchased a GO camper from the North Carolina factory in 2009, shipped the unit to Los Angeles and subsequently dispatched it to mainland China, where it is now being manufactured by the Wuyi Tiandi Motion Apparatus Co.
The reverse-engineered “TDR Camper” is currently being offered on Alibaba.com—a Hangzhou, China-based retail Internet business (HKSE: 1688).
“From counterfeit footwear, apparel, and handbags to imitation pharmaceuticals, automotive, and aviation components, and bogus Apple retail stores, China is the leading source of the world’s pirated goods,” said Dempsey.
According to a U.S. Customs Bureau and Border Protection report (GAO Intellectual Property—Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods) published in May 2010, “seized counterfeit goods are dominated by products from China. During fiscal years 2004 through 2009, China accounted for about 77 percent of the aggregate value of goods seized in the United States. Hong Kong, India, and Taiwan followed China, accounting for 7, 2, and 1 percent of the seized value, respectively.”
China remains on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Priority Watch List. This watch list currently includes 12 U.S. trading partners—China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, and Venezuela—who are deemed to be providing an inadequate “level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection.”
According to the Priority Watch List, “the United States continues to urge Canada to implement its previous commitments to improve its legal framework for IPR protection and enforcement.”
To set the record straight, Canada has signed on to an international agreement that aims to prevent the trade and spread of counterfeit and pirated goods. International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced Friday (September 30) he had signed the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement, an accord that has been in development since 2006 for which negotiations including 38 countries concluded in October last year.
“Counterfeit and pirated goods are an increasing global problem that requires a global co-ordinated solution,” Fast said.
Fast’s office said the government still needs to create and pass legislation to implement the anti-counterfeiting agreement in Canada.
In 2008, an OECD report entitled “The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy” suggested that, “up to $200 billion of internationally traded products could have been counterfeit or pirated during 2005.”
“That’s a figure that is larger than the national GDPs of some 150 economies,” said Dempsey.
The report goes on to add that if this figure were to include counterfeit and pirated products that are produced and consumed domestically, and non-tangible pirated digital products being distributed via the Internet, the total magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy worldwide would increase by several hundred billion dollars per year, he added.
“China does not recognize international patents,” said Dempsey. ”If a company does not file in China, it has no rights in China. Chinese companies like TDR Moto will therefore continue to leverage this considerable IP advantage to the detriment of their overseas competitors.
But, there’s more…
Note: This is the first of a two-part series on the counterfeit version of the popular SylvanSport GO
In Part 2, Chinese-copied SylvanSport GO Available in Australia, I report on an Australian company marketing this counterfeit product and discuss several reasons why China copies product designs.
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
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