We only have the highest quality imitations.
They weren’t even pretending to have the real thing. Do we care?
Yes, there’s the whole moral and legal issues around this. A legitimate company spent time, money and attorney’s fees to create a product, a brand and a trademark and then someone comes along and just copies it. OK, so in the case of the sunglasses, that’s not good.
“We only have the highest quality imitations.” shop keeper proudly talking about her collection of knock-off sunglasses as we browsed her racks.
But when you’re standing there at the cheesy shop and the sunglasses cost 5 Euros and you walk 10 meters to the fancy shop and they cost 50 Euros (or more), what do you do?
Is it OK to have an imitation of the real thing? Well, when it doesn’t infringe on the law?
Where do you draw the line? If a trademark police officer (does that even exist?) were standing next to you, does he arrest you, the shop keeper or both? I suppose there’s just not the manpower to cover every little tourist shop in the world. Maybe only when it gets on a bigger scale (DVDs out of Vietnam?) does it get noticed. But even then.
What I have never understood is how it seems so easy to copy something. Not just sunglasses, but apparently in China they make these copies of iPhones that are hard to tell apart from the real thing. I want to ask, “If you can also build such a great product, why don’t you just do it?” But of course the answer is in marketing and brand recognition and public relations and time and money and effort. The copyright infringer doesn’t have to deal with any of that. They just piggyback on the success of the existing brand and hijack their customers. Oh yeah, and charge a fraction of the price.
Well geez, when I put it like that, it makes it sound terrible. Oh yeah, it is terrible. So what do you do?
P.S. I’m filing this under Marketing.