Knock offs and copies of copies has been pretty much the way of airsoft for some time. Prices get lower, everyone copies everyone else, and unless you have a huge legal division it can be almost impossible to protect your investments. As a consumer though, why should you care, you’re getting it cheaper and competition is good right? Right?
Historicially when large companies use their legal muscles to protect their interests it attracts negative PR on social media from both customers and distributors.
Without all the facts or knowing the positions on both sides of an argument as an individual it is naturally hard to form an unbiased opinion.
In this case Wallace Lau over at ZShot has circulated a pretty clear letter to one company (Valken) that really ought to resound throughout the Airsoft industry. This isn’t the first apparent case of the little guy losing out to bigger fish and likely won’t be the last; Wallace’s opinion is clear and he isn’t pulling any punches.
There’s the full text of the post over at https://www.zshot.com/tovalken and I do hope that there is a response from the other side and perhaps a sensible agreement that comes out of this. Clearly something has gone wrong somewhere, is it about time that Airsoft as an industry started to regulate itself?
I have to be clear that I/we/Arniesairsoft are not forming an opinion in the dispute but reporting on it. We will happily post any response from any party involved.
Here’s the open letter from Wallace:
Dear Valken: I believe you can go to hell.
I hate political drama. However, this is not about some company knocking off our product; that happens all the time. This is about some big bully shutting out a small company, founded by one very genuine dude, who just love tinkering and creating new cool shits for all of us. This is about Jordan at Odin Innovations getting f***ed, and I have to say something about this.
A little back-story, Jordan founded Odin Innovations purely out of his love for airsoft. To spare you the long story, the Odin speed loader has been Jordan’s primary (if not the only) source of income — while he continues to tinker the next invention for airsoft. Also, Jordan had some medical complications earlier this year and he was hospitalized for a considerable period of time. At one point, the profit from Odin sales was the only income that sustained him and his family.
And Valken knows this. When the M12 was still a prototype, Jordan approached a few companies for help, and Valken was one of them. I do not know the context of Valken’s meeting with Jordan, but in the end Valken either did not step up to the plate, or offered too little to Jordan. Long story short, Valken knew where the Odin came from, and Jordan needed the income. They can’t say “oh I didn’t know.”
So let’s get to the core of this issue: We (ZShot) have been importing, distributing, and supporting retailers since 2002 (yes it’s been 15 years) and we HAVE been wronged a few times. But not once have I genuinely been angry until now, because this has affected more than just us. ZShot will survive just fine if we lose a product line or two. But I can’t stand and watch Odin Innovations be smashed because some multi-million-dollar company wanted to make a few extra bucks. To whomever in Valken decided to import the Odin knock off: You can go straight to hell.
Gino, if you are reading this, take a good look at your company. Yes, I am nobody in your eyes, I know you have millions of dollars in your bank, I know you have lawyers sitting in the office waiting for a fight, and I know you have the resources to render us penniless by drowning us in expensive legal battles. In fact, it is probably stupid of me to risk my company and to stand up behind a friend. However, everyone here at ZShot knows life isn’t just about money. We would rather have our honor and integrity than make a quick bucks at someone else’s expense. If you are to mess with Odin Innovations, then I welcome, in fact challenge, you to squash and crush ZShot too. However, we will not admit defeat unless you beat us by innovating and giving the community better products than what we can. Anyone can rip-off a product, and when you don’t have to pay for R&D or share your profit with the inventor, of course you can undercut everyone. However, with all your capital, why not take pride in what you do and direct employees to innovate? Would that not be something you can be properly proud of?
30+ year airsoft enthuaist. ASTM Airsoft Sub-committee Vice Chair. Founder, ZShot Inc.