Imported YoYos / Patent Infringements ??


#1

I have been noticing on eBay and on yoyo review forums, including this one now, several imported yoyos with hubstacks and u-groove bearings. I have seen u-groove bearings in yoyos sold in other countries but replaced with flat bearings for the US market.
It is to my understanding that if a patent violation goes on uncontested the patent can become
null and void.

I’m just curious about this subject as it is a little reminiscent…


#2

Customers and users always benefit from competition, I for one strongly disagree with the patent aspect of yoyoing (5A obviously, but hubstacks and whatnot)

If you patent an idea, you preserve it for being challenged, therefore you give yourself less chances to turn a good idea into a GREAT product.

and eventually, you’ll get screwed over by chinese or whoever just don’t care and is not worried by repercussions.

Competition benefits everyone

think “astrojax”, see what a strongly enforced patent did to a brilliant idea
look at all the GREAT, premium 5A yoyos and CWs out there… wait… there are none!

while I can understand why one would want to protect his idea and secure an income out of it, at the end of the day, it prevents the idea to become as good as it could, eliminating all fair competition.

I see it like prohibition, it starts with a good idea, but then it turns towards illegal activities without much respect for the quality or the end user

What experienced 5A player will buy a FHZ from duncan ?
how many DiffEYo KK bearings are sold, compared to those cheapos chinese KKs ?

on one hand you have companies who can’t use the idea because they’re in countries where intellectual property laws are enforced, on the other hand you have other companies in more “laxist” countries who mass produce knock offs because they just don’t care about intellectual property.

and in the end of the day, no one really benefits this situation, certainly not the end users

my 2cts


#3

I am of the opinion that copyrights and patients can seriously hinder advancements in certain areas. Yoyos are one of these areas.

While it’s great for the company that holds them, it’s not so great for everyone else.


#4

They probably don’t hold the patents in those countries, and in places like China, it wouldn’t matter if they did because they would make bootleg versions anyway.


#5

If the companies were smart, they’d use the patent as a method of generating income. They can then license the design aspect(s) to other companies in exchange for a fee. The fee can be ANYTHING: price per unit, price per X-units. Penny a unit? Penny per 1000 units? Sometimes a licensing fee is a mere formality just to enforce patent laws. If someone comes up with a mind blowing innovation, they can simply say “OK, I’ll license this to any company for flat rate of $1(with some minor provisions) per model that uses our patent”. Money exchange, patent law enforced, contract executed = nobody gets screwed.

Forgive my newbie ignorance in this area, but how innovative are yoyo’s going to get?

Looking at my Duncan Reflex and my Yomega Brain, I can SEE the clutch mechanisms and they are almost identical. Obviously, we’re dealing with a “why re-invent the wheel”? sort of thing there. It’s a very simple concept. But perhaps the differences, despite how small, are sufficient to avoid lawsuits.

Imperial shapes, modified shapes, wing shapes, rim designs, hubstack designs. How many ways can you build a transaxle? How varied are bearings? 8 ball, 10 ball, thick, thin, ceramic, concave… It’s all variations on a theme anyways.

Right now, I’m getting tired of poorly made Chinese stuff. Thank goodness my DM2 was made in the USA. Literally, my wife was “why the hell did you get that? You’re just starting, use that other one you got”(which was a Reflex to start me off). I showed her the “Made in the USA” on the box and she was “Well, OK then.” Then again, she’d prefers her ignorance to justify many things.

I’m sure all the companies take ideas and pointers from each other. They are all trying to improve their products based on their sponsored players’ requests and their customer base’s requests.

In the end, all that really matters is that there is competition, and what is GOOD will rise and what is bad will FAIL. I think most of the people here know a lot more than me, also know that paying few dollars more for a better commodity type item like a bearing, will do so. Cheap knock offs will cause their own problems and create their own demise. The issue here is that most people don’t know crap when they see it because there’s so much crap around these days, many of us don’t know we have other options because the crap is squeezing out the quality stuff.

And in other cases, and sorry for picking on the Chinese again, but this affects me in multiple ways, and they freely do this. I like Disney pins, but I buy in the stores in the parks so I know they are at least properly authorized. The same factories that make the pins for Disney also then turn around and do unauthorized runs using the same dies and materials to produce black-market pins that are 100% indistinguishable from “the real thing”, and then sell them cheap, especially through Ebay. I’m not slamming Ebay though.
Because I’m an audio professional, Shure has some of their mics made in China. The same factories went ahead and made counterfeits, but were fully branded Shure and sold for cheap. Other companies have shared ribbon mic technology with certain factories, which drove that original company out of business through “we’ll make a mic with your brand name on it for cheap and in small numbers” tactics. Companies have Chinese factories make mixers and amplifiers and other end products, only to have it get a cosmetic make-over and sold as a different brand.

Patents don’t have to kill competition. It really depends on how things are being handled between the patent holder and those attempting do very similar things through their own independent innovations. You know what they say, great minds thing alike. I see so many different brands with so many apparently identical features. I don’t think these companies are suing each other on an ongoing basis. I’m sure companies buy models of yoyos from their competition to see what they are up to as well but probably not to find a way to sue others, but to see where they are against their competition.

I think with yoyos, innovation comes in small doses and then every once in a while, something BIG happens. We went from the classic Imperial shape, to someone putting it together backwards and accidentally creating the wing design. Metal axle replaced wood. Transaxle came along, then ball bearings. It takes time for things to happen big. Small stuff happens frequently, so much so that we might not notice. If a company is coming out with 4 new yoyos, that means there’s at least a reason for 4 new models. That means 4 new things at least.


#6

http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php/topic,28985.0.html


#7

The review has been removed…


#8

Who’s going to take their bank account to court to invalidate his patent?
If one has money to do that, it’s just as easy to make v-shaped grooves, upside down trapezoid groove/center trac, single line groove thing, or just KK with a middle groove like born crucial’s thing which doesn’t infringe on the patent because KK is a continuous curve or whatever.

How does someone enforce it against fly-by-night sellers and those outside the US?
If it were done by a real company with actual distribution in the US then it’d be easy.

Good luck convincing US customs that they should train their dogs to sniff out unofficial KK bearings and hubstacks out of the millions of packages going through.
Yes, sniff them.

Err…
Difeo could probably get those listings removed and maybe eBay/PayPal accounts suspended after getting an injunction. Who would he target though? There isn’t a specific brand.
It’s only infringed when it’s imported into the US.


#9

First bold comment. Threaten with a lawsuit. There aren’t any fly by night people that can afford to go to court with a company like Flambeau considering they are a HUGE company with several attorneys. Just like when Buzz-On was threatened by Dale Bell about the DV8. Dave couldn’t afford to fight it and it wasn’t going to be good for his wallet. So he just did what he was asked to stop with the production of that yoyo.

Second Bold comment.

I’m not sure about this but I think this is correct. Most of these stores know what patents are being infringed on. I mean they all have been in yoyoing longer than most people. They can get in trouble for selling said merchandise. Ergo they are smart enough to not sell that product at all to keep their money in their pocket.

No need for customs. They can get them at the stores.

On the ebay subject they can get ebay to stop letting them sell that product. As ebay is a store just like any other. US Customs will only have to make a call and that persons account will be terminated. It doesn’t really take any money to remove someone from ebay. Just perseverance.


#10

They’re going to threaten Sum Ting Wong, Chain Hang Lo, and Foo Wong Choo in the Bungalow under the Pearl River Delta 123 1st Fake Road Flat A #9 Bridge with a lawsuit?
I don’t believe that will happen.
If a legitimate company were importing significant amounts and selling them, then lawsuit would be easy.
There would be an actual entity to get an injunction against.

The patent owner would have to prove that the specific product infringes upon his/her patent in court before eBay does anything. This is different from copyright or trademark infringement.

What stores are you talking about?
The “stores” John is talking about aren’t the stores you’re talking about.
The stores you’re talking about aren’t the ones selling them.

Good luck getting the police to raid some little toy shop in China (or England, or Poland, or Russia, or Japan, or or) where US patents don’t matter.


#11

I’m not talking about over seas fly by night companies. I’m talking about the ones here. Duncan shut down even a kid trying to sell his own counterweight.

The bigger companies can get that court order rather quickly and ebay will shut them down. won’t cost much at all to a company like Duncan or YYF or whomever. We may not be on the same page but my statements are legitimate.

over seas products can sell anything they want unless. Most company’s only hold their patent in the U.S.

If they are selling them over seas and the patent holder has a problem with it all they can do it get mad.


#12

duncan = love :smiley:

what duncan has to understand is that if they’re not getting 5A/free hand play anywhere, they should (or make it easier) let other companies to do it, I’m pretty sure some 5A players would be more than willing to pay $100+ for some premium, truly 5A setup, it’s so frustrating. Of course people make their own CW and find their own way around, but how nice would it be to allow companies to actually do some research on free hand play equipment ? Duncan’s obviously not gonna do it, and this, my friend, all comes down to profit. they’re not doing it because it’s not profitable, and this is totally legitimate, actually. But then, they should allow others to do it, because the demand, while fairly small, is still there and it’s not satisfied.


#13

It has nothing to do with 5a play and everything to do with marketing a yoyo for 5a. That’s the deal with the YYF spin top buttons (counterweight). Anyone can make a counterweight and play with it. Just don’t try to make a business out of it.


#14

I wonder where this one falls?

http://yoyoexpert.com/forums/index.php/topic,29340.0.html