Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cheap Knock-Off

The original Ugg boots

When something comes out, especially if it is exclusive or designer, it has a tendency to be expensive. Kind of like prescription drugs. Those drug makers have to recoup some of the cost for research and development. The same can be said of manufacturing. Someone had to come up with a design, figure it out and then make the product. This doesn’t come cheap.


Knock-Off Ugg boots made in China
It is much easier to reverse engineer something than to think up a concept and then produce it. The problem for designers is protecting all that hard work. Once someone has seen how it is done, they can manufacture cheap knock-offs. For example, the Ugg boot. This ubiquitous suede boot is now found just about everywhere including Wal-Mart. It is similar in style yet made with much more affordable material. These no brand name boots are popping up everywhere.


The original Celine handbag
Now I’m not sure if the manufacturer of Ugg’s is fighting this invasion into their design territory, but at this point could they stem the gigantic tide of boots coming from China? This isn’t a case of counterfeiting; no one is saying these are Ugg boots. Rather this is a similar boot in design and feel. It is more of a design infringement issue. Are these cases harder to fight? Are they harder to fight when it is being produced in another country that doesn’t honor patent/trademark/copyright laws?


Very similar Nila Anthony handbag, from their Facebook page
From what I’ve learned from one semester of Intellectual Property 101, fighting these battles when they involve companies that manufacture overseas is almost impossible. This would probably make Ugg think twice before going through the expense or trouble. While having cheap knock-offs invading your territory can put some companies out of business it isn’t always the case. Sometimes the cheap knock-offs make people enjoy the construction of the real deal even more. Every product has its fans and sometimes those fans are willing to pay more for the original.
Not sure who makes it, but it sure looks similar to a Celine

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