Checked your inbox lately? Good chance there’s more than a few offers for a cheap Rolex watch or Microsoft Office for $29 or prescription drugs at rock bottom prices, the knockoffs are everywhere, cheap, unauthorized and illegal copies of the real thing. Designer clothes and fashion accessories are a big target, too. Why? There’s big money in promoting and selling the look or function of name brands at prices too good to be true and enough people buy the knockoffs for the counterfeiters to make money.
When I wrote the other day about perpetual motorcycles and how easy it will be to reproduce parts once they’re in the computer, I touched on this idea. One comment said that engineering patents aren’t as long lived as other protections and other countries are a bit lax in enforcement in this area. Both true so what does this mean?
Any manufacturer today must expect successful products to show up on the counterfeit market or copies “close but not quite” with similar appearance and function. Attorneys will do battle but the flood will continue. It’s more difficult to knockoff large manufactured items, but certainly not impossible. If not the whole thing then smaller parts or assemblies. Edelbrock, the company that makes engine parts like intake manifolds and high performance rebuild kits can attest to the booming business in cheap copies of their work.
Is this the future of all manufacturing? Is the custom building field the only place to be sure you’re getting the “real thing?” Custom builders can take heart in that prospect but they can’t support an economy or provide many jobs and although manufacturing has long been leaving our shores, the piracy of intellectual property moves the copy problem to many areas that could make up for that loss.
I can only say again and again, don’t buy cheap knockoffs of any sort. You encourage the counterfeiters when you do.