No – not the Star Wars trilogy, but in the context of Vaping.
If you are a vaper, you are very quickly introduced to knock-offs. There is an epidemic in the vaping community, that as soon as a new device gets introduced, the little copy elves in China get going and within literally days, there is a clone out there at a fraction of the price. In some cases, the copies are so good that you can’t tell the difference, in other cases they are completely inferior.
China is is a major center of vaping. A significant amount of your legit vaping gear comes from China – Innokin and Kanger to name just two of the major players are from China. A lot of the e-liquid comes from China, as does many, if not all of the cigarette lookalike PV’s, and who knows what else. What doesn’t tend to come from China is the small boutique gear. China seems to specialize in large quantity, low margin. What they also seem to specialize in is copying….
Now the debate around what is and isn’t counterfeiting can drag on for ever. I doubt very much if there is much in the vaping world that is really that blindingly original, as it is all based upon the concept of warming up e-liquid using a coil of some variety or other to produce vapor. After that it is simply the way that you execute it. Where vaping seems to be right now is the search for a better mousetrap, and there are some very nice products that have come out. One of these is the Kayfun atomizer by SvoeMesto. This is a company out of Germany making high end rebuildable atomizers and other assorted kit and it isnt cheap. The basic Kayfun lite atomizer is 75 euros plus shipping, plus import duty. You can get a clone of this for 25 dollars from China shipped free, and it is a complete copy right down to the laser engraved logo. Is the copy as good? Well, I don’t have one so I can’t comment directly, but the reviews indicate that the clone is somewhat inferior, but not significantly.
I don’t have any objection to a company taking a concept, improving upon it and then marketing their version under their name, but a complete rip-off isn’t acceptable to me.
What should we do about it? At least in the arena of vaping, the leading edge creators are small companies, and can’t get into the long, protracted legal battles that someone like an Apple can. This is for the vaping community to resolve. We, as vapers, need to buy from the originator and not from the clone manufacturers.