January 29, 2019

Imitation is flattery?

Today I would like to talk about something slightly different, but still pertinent to the world of motorcycles: PLAGIARISM

Does the saying "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" apply to the world of motorcycle business?

The Chinese are known for taking imitation to an extreme by copying everything they can lay their hands on. There are small versions of Ducati Scramblers, Panigale and Monster, copies of Honda Cubs and Monkeys, even Chinese versions of Rolls Royces.
Plagiarism though is not confined to China alone, it happens all over the world. It happens in places you would least expect it and it did in fact happen in a place I would not have expected it.

I've been selling JP Vintage seats now for over 5 years, very successfully I may add. So successfully in fact that Omega Racer has been awarded exclusive worldwide distribution rights for the time and resources invested in promoting these brilliant Triumph seats.

Of course, the buzz generated by these efforts, coupled with very positive customer reviews, attracted both new customers and retailers alike. One of these retailers was a shop from the UK who previously purchased some other parts from us and seemed very interested in selling the JP seats. They inquired about which models are the most successful and went on to order 2 sample seats at reduced prices, with the prospect of making a bigger order once they were satisfied with the quality.

This was in April 2017. After this, communication stopped and we just figured they were not interested and forgot all about it.
Until yesterday that is, when I casually googled Triumph and up comes a picture of a seat that looked very familiar. Turns out that the English gentleman was so pleased with the seats he got from us, that he proceeded to make copies of them and sell them as his own. Not only that, to add insult to injury, they used the all important google keywords to describe the seats: "JP Vintage" magically becomes "68 Vintage" and they didn't even bother to change the seat and color names that are specific to JP.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Personally, I always assume people are fundamentally good, and when I see evidence to the contrary, it leaves me in disbelief and disappointed. I believe in following the guidelines of ethical business, but I also believe that what goes around comes around.

I thought I give them the benefit of the doubt and sent them an email, asking for an explanation. A reply came back, citing an improbable oversight regarding the names and offering some lame excuses about the "general" design of the seats.

Let's have a look...
 The original JP Vintage "Brat Style"

The original JP Vintage "Rocker"

The copies

Note the "Dirty Brown" color, a color name specific to JP Vintage seats

Coincidence? General design? Hmmm

Description taken almost verbatim from the Omega website

The names have since been changed, but the plagiarized seat copies and descriptions remain, untouched.

I won't name the crooks as they don't deserve any publicity, but if you think you'll get a SQUARE-DEAL from them, think again.
Shady business practices such as these need to be exposed though, to protect the consumer and the people who invested time and energy to develop a new product.
Buyer beware!

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