When Borrowing Goes Too Far

November 14th, 2018 by Emmariah Holcomb

Imagine working hard for years in the industry by establishing yourself, creating a brand and reputation for a business you started. Now imagine someone else getting credit for everything you’ve done and have worked hard for. That was the unfortunate reality for one window film company, as it says an offshore company has copied nearly everything it makes including its trademark.

A colleague sent Shawn Vogler, SolarFX Window Films vice president, an image of a booth at a trade show in China that closely resembled Vogler’s company, SolarFX Window Films.

SolarFX Window Films “copycat” booth

“My first response was devastation, we’ve built a machine that’s growing both inside and outside of the U.S. and this happens,” Vogler said.

According to Vogler, he and his company had no idea they were being “copied,” as this was the first time anything like this has happened to SolarFX Window Films. He mentioned after visiting the other company’s website he was shocked to see even the company’s tee shirts and trademark were the spitting image of what is currently being used by the original SolarFX Window Films.

“You know some companies overseas pinpoint brands with the highest views in the states and think nothing of taking their work. This company even copied our slogan – even its website is almost identical to ours,” Volger said.

After learning how much was being copied, the original/authentic company contacted the “copycat” company.

“They didn’t respond to us, but since we’ve reached out to them they now have our logos trademarked through China. We believe they even go as far as to say they’re affiliated with us and owned by Vogler enterprises, which we know to be false, since we had no knowledge of them and didn’t give them any authorization,” Vogler mentioned.

Many in the industry could agree that actions like this towards another company are bold. But can anything be done to prevent it?

“We’re trying to figure out a remedy but unfortunately even the big companies like Nike and Rolex can’t effectively stop Asian companies from knocking off their products and using their company’s name,” Vogler added.

When two similar companies have the same name, trademark, product and logo there’s a chance consumers can get confused on which company is the original. This is one of the concerns for SolarFX Window Films.

“It saddens me that our distributors overseas could have an interference with our product from this other company. We feel we have one of the highest quality products in the market and it’s my opinion that the Chinese manufactured film is inferior,” Vogler mentioned.

In an effort to try and combat any potential confusion going forward, Vogler says his company will be issuing annual certificates for its overseas dealers to prove they in fact are affiliated with the company.

On the other hand copying can be seen as a form of flattery.

“On the backside of it, as weird as it may sound, I felt honored because they chose to knock us off. But for those needing or seeking authenticity on our dealers please contact our offices and we can validate them,” Vogler said.

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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  1. The Chinese hold no regard for intellectual property rights or copyright. They are the biggest violators of this out of all the countries in the world.

  2. This practice has been around for a number of years. I think you will find every manufacturer has had it happen at least once and I am aware of three companies it happened with. Now that China has several manufacturing plants, expect this problem more often. Registering trademarks in China should be preventative but will help mostly when you go after imposters.
    I know as I have been involved twice with this type problem we dealt with.

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