I'd like to express my view on counterfeit products.
When I made the Puffer, the hard hard thing was to find some way to disactivate the pop up flash. When an SLR has anything in the hotshoe, of course it does not want the popup flash to spring up at the same time, so we had to look in the shoe to find some type of "key" to enable us to put an attachment in there yet disable the lock-down mechanism.
Once we figured it out, we did tests and we had a product that really helped tone down harsh blowout flash. And then I patented it. It costs anywhere between $25-$100,000 to patent a product, and you hope that a patent will protect you from infringers. I then had to create tooling, etc. and "hope" that the product would be accepted in the marketplace. Sometimes my products are well-received, some are not as well-received but each one is entrepreneurship pure and simple. You take a personal risk in hoping that your idea will turn into sales.
Now let's take the counterfeiter's situation. There is no risk for them. They don't make copies of anything unless they know it is popular. So rather than invent or create any new idea, they take one that somebody else dreamt up, they simply copy to the last detail. It is very inexpensive to do this. There's no risk, and there's no inventing.
And it's hard to enforce because it is often a chinese company that loads it in a truck somewhere, and takes it to market. So even if we have a patent, it's hard to enforce all of them.
What if this were you? What if you came up with an idea, thought about it night after night,
and then put it out to market, only to find that somebody, somewhere made an exact copy of your thing and profited on your idea? How would you feel? I'm not alone, I just saw that there are counterfeit copies of Gibson guitars, and that is really sad because Gibson is an American icon.
When you support counterfeit products, little by little you discourage inventors from inventing.
Lastly, I'll leave you with this thought to consider. Imagine your best photograph, one that you are most proud of. Now imagine that somebody took your photo off of the web and put it on their website, calling it their own and then selling copies of it for cheap.
How would you feel? Hurt? Violated? Sad? Probably.
OK I feel better having said this. Thank you for reading this far.
Gary Fong http://www.garyfong.com