Re: Tolerating knock offs (Was Re: Kites for sale)

Subject Re: Tolerating knock offs (Was Re: Kites for sale)
Date Mon, 11 May 1998 06:45:35 GMT
Newsgroups rec.kites
Gabriel Velasco  <> wrote:
> "Companies should be competing based on the quality of their
> workmanship, not a single 'gimmik'.  For this reason, I believe it's
> very bad for people to be making copies of other peoples kites and
> using the original designers' names."

I'm with Gabriel on this.

If you come up with a new feature or 'gimmick' on your kite, then it would be nice if you and only you had the right to use that feature on your kite.

This is effectively what a patent does - it protects the interests of the inventor to benefit from their invention for a certain time. The fact that applying the patent process is inherently difficult and prohibitively costly is an awful shame, but the principal is a good one.

BUT, can you (this fictitious designer) honestly say that you haven't copied any ideas off other kites? Are you using bungy? Stand-offs? Nose webbing? Leech Line? Trick Line? Velcro spine fastening? Turbo/ Dynamic/Cross/Active bridle? And so on, and so on.

Of course you can't say that - 95% of the kite is taken from other people's ideas.

All kites are based almost entirely on the kites that went before them just as all cars are based on the cars that went before them and all Quantum Fluctuation Feline Containment Devices are bases on the Quantum Fluctuation Feline Containment Devices that went before them.

New designs and innovations come all the time, but the fundamental principles change very slowly over time.

Nearly all the kite designers I know (and certainly all of those that I respect as good designers) tend to be philosophical about this. They copy ideas off other people and other people copy ideas off them. The kites get better, the fliers get happier and the world keeps spinning.

There are plenty of things that kites can justifiably compete on: design, flying performance, cost, workmanship, availability, and so on. These are the things that matter.

On the other hand, someone who steals a design is a dirty, rotten scoundrel. A design is the soul of the kite - something that transcends mere mechanics - and it belongs to the designer.

Think of it like this:

Someone who copies a kite (or allows himself to be 'very much influenced' by someone's design) is in breach of copyright laws which are easier to enforce than patent laws (although probably still prohibitively expensive).

It's difficult to think of it this way when someone copies a kite for their own use. It's still illegal despite what anyone may say or think, but again, the designers generally turn a blind eye and consider it part of the job. This, I'm sure, is a Good Thing.

Anyone who copies a kite and uses the designers original name is really stooping too low. That's just really scuzzy.


Andy Wardley  <>     Signature regenerating.  Please remain seated.
      <>     For a good time: