12 Stories

Entrepreneur Earns $350K With Kickstarter Knockoffs

Patents, however, may end his joy ride

(Newser) - Crowdfunding has an Achilles heel, and a 24-year-old entrepreneur has made $350,000 exploiting it in a matter of weeks. The young man, whom CNBC is calling "Jack," has identified wildly successful campaigns on sites like Kickstarter and pounced on manufacturing bottlenecks, working with manufacturers in China to... More »

Designer Knockoffs May Warp Your Morals

Buy one, and you're more prone to lie and cheat: Study

(Newser) - It isn't just luxury corporations who suffer from designer knockoffs—carrying a fake Vuitton bag can turn you into a big lying cheat, a new psychological study claims. Women who were given real Chloe sunglasses but told they were fake lied at more than double the rate of women given... More »

Wal-Mart Guns for Girl Scouts With Knockoff Cookies

(Newser) - Wal-Mart appears to be rolling out cheap knockoffs—well, “Great Value” replicas—of Girl Scout cookies, and that has one former “Cookie Mom” hopping mad. “The exclusivity of Girl Scout cookies is what makes the cookies really sell,” CV Harquail writes on Authentic Organizations. And now... More »

China Knockoff Craze Gains Steam, Courage

Shanzhai culture shifts from brand names to national symbols

(Newser) - An internet variety showed parodying the annual lunar new year gala on Chinese central TV is just the most publicized knockoff generated by the country’s rebellious shanzhai culture, the Wall Street Journal reports. Once mainly the province of counterfeit name brands (think HiPhone), the web now is awash with... More »

Denim Detective Unzips Fake Jeans Biz

Designers hire PI's to protect their bottom lines

(Newser) - Chris Johnson likes collecting women's jeans, but he doesn't wear them—he's one of hundreds of fashion detectives hired by designers to spot knockoffs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Johnson trolls stores and Internet sites for clients like True Religion who want to put counterfeiters out of business. The fakes... More »

How Piracy Can Boost Business

Companies should copy, buy out, and study intellectual thieves

(Newser) - Intellectual piracy is bad for business, yes, but also inevitable—and companies fare better when turning it to their advantage, the Economist reports. The large (and illegal) volume of music and video exchanged online, for example, can reveal who’s popular in which countries. And Microsoft, which officially battles piracy,... More »

Scots Fight Fake Kilts

Tired of foreign knockoffs, Scottish kilt-makers ask EU for protection

(Newser) - What do plaid skirts have in common with champagne and feta cheese? If Scottish lawmakers have their way, the kilt could be the latest European product to receive a "protected designation of origin" status. Cheap kilt knockoffs could still be sold, but only the real thing—pure wool, hand-sewn... More »

Hasbro Attacks Fabulous Scrabble Clone

'Scrabulous' application wildly popular on Facebook

(Newser) - Hasbro, maker of the classic board game Scrabble, is moving to shut down Scrabulous, a widely popular—and virtually identical—online knockoff. It's currently the ninth most popular application on all of Facebook, with 2.3 million users. Scrabulous’ developers estimate their app brings in about $25,000 a month,... More »

Tequila Industry Gets Salty

Mexican producers try to stall imitations

(Newser) - Tequila is more popular than ever, and the Mexican tequila industry is mobilizing to clamp down on knockoffs, USA Today reports. Imitations range from the good—quality tequila made outside of Mexico—to the ugly—cheap and possibly contaminated sugarcane liquors made in basements. "These phony products are a... More »

Chinese Follies Are All Too Familiar

US exhibited capitalist lapses once upon a time

(Newser) - Before Americans get on their high horse about China’s recent lapses into substandard products—not to mention those fake Harry Potter translations—they should look long and hard at their own history, the Boston Globe suggests. In the 19th century, it was the US that was considered the nation... More »

Bill Targets Designer Knockoffs

Copycat clothes would be blocked for 3 years

(Newser) - Capitol HIll is considering a bill that would place fashion designs in the same league as a work of art that can be copyrighted, protecting designers from cheap knockoffs for three years. Currently, designers can copyright logos and names, but manufacturers can legally replicate their creations stitch for stitch—and... More »

Harry Potter and the Chinese Knockoffs

Culture of piracy leads to illegal copying, unrelated spin-offs

(Newser) - The titles are unintentionally hilarious—Harry Potter and the Big Funnel, Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll—but China's thriving piracy industry is no laughing matter. The Times looks at the phenomenon of "Harry" knockoffs, a problem so widespread that one estimate puts the percentage of illegal books... More »

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