China: Thanks for the intellectual property theft

If you’ve followed or read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have this gut-level aversion to spammers, scammers, sleazy advertisers, and just about anyone who takes money from others by way of lies or deception. I execrate these people with the fury of a thousand O-type blue-hot suns.

O-type Blue star – average temperature 25,000 K.

Say hello to the Rinne Corporation, two guys who put their heads together and invented a better mousetrap.

Sit this bad boy on top of a 5-gallon bucket, bait the top, and watch the vermin enjoy their last slip-n-slide. For what it’s worth, I just ordered one from them this morning.

Naturally, Chinese businessmen who have all the ethics and morals of a starving honey badger saw these things, and as countless thousands of them do, ripped off the idea, started manufacturing knockoff copies, and selling them all over the Internet (including Amazon).

Amazon listings for the Flip-and-Slide bucket trap. Only the first one, from Rinne, is genuine. The others are cheap knockoffs from China for which Rinne gets no benefit.

Amazon states for the record that they are “trying” to shut down illegitimate storefronts, but based on results they are not putting a whole lot of real effort into it, and every day these scumbags exist on their website, they’re making money – so they don’t really have a lot of incentive to do much about it.

And of course the Chinese Communist Party encourages this theft of Intellectual property. National industrial policy goals in China encourage IP theft, and an extraordinary number of Chinese in business and government entities are engaged in this practice. There are also weaknesses and biases in the legal and patent systems that lessen the protection of foreign IP.

As the new Chinese leadership settles in, IPR issues loom. The fundamental question is whether the new leaders will confront the major societal and policy forces that continue to work against IPR. The patent and trade-secret legal environments, for example, require reform. The patent system encourages Chinese entities to copy and file foreign patents as if these patents were their own, and seems to establish the right of Chinese entities to sue the foreign, original inventor that seeks to sell the technology in China.

2013, The IP Commission Report (The Report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property)

In 2021, based on what is being seen on the Internet and elsewhere, the problem is not only not being addressed, but is proliferating at an exponential rate. Facebook¹ doesn’t care; Google doesn’t care. They’ll happily take money from deceptive advertisers without a second thought.

Mobile ads presented on a search for “tip bucket mouse trap original

The first company (feelmoob.com, great name right?) has its mailing address in Reykjavik, Iceland, with tech support listed in Burundi, according to ICANN. The second, “Find Good Gear” makes no attempt at misdirection but is registered in China. The third one, Kellyys.com, appears to be an identical copy of the first one with only the name differing. All three websites have the following somewhere:

MADE IN USA –  We are a very small family-owned manufacturing company which started out in our home garage. We now own a large warehouse where we manufacture and hand package our products. Support American Business

Even with access to a Roget’s Thesaurus (both in hard copy and online), I do not have words enough to express how badly this kind of repugnant jiggery-pokery enrages me. Sales by theft of property, sales by outright lies and deception are the hallmark of China’s business model, and there’s not a thing honest businesspeople can do about it. Our government works so ponderously that by the time anything is done (and what is done will be a pathetic, watered-down version of what should be done), the criminal enterprises will have made a fortune, disappeared into the mist, and reappeared under a new name selling a new pirated product.

The only thing consumers can do is take the time to make sure they are buying from American companies, and preferably the originators of products they see. It takes time and effort, but if we’re ever going to turn the tide against conglomerates who outsource everything overseas, it will be worth it.

The Old Wolf has spoken.²


Footnotes

¹ The following is an example of a Facebook ad that I see almost daily:

Every single one begins with a variation of “We are sad to announce that we are closing our collection.” This is the purest horse 💩, and people fall for it in droves. This is similar to the signs I see periodically – there used to be an outfit in San Francisco’s Chinatown that had one of these on their storefront for years:

They’re closing their collection all right… and they’ll be back next week under a new name, peddling the same cheaply-made and overpriced stuff that they are now.

And that’s not to mention the ever-present teeshirt vendors who photoshop celebrities into their ads for products with stolen, unauthorized artwork. As the linked website says,

When those products are infringing on copyrights, or are misappropriating celebrity images, it’s incumbent on Facebook to crack down on them.

But they’re not, because it hurts their bottom line when they do.

Pissed off!

² if you don’t like what I’ve said here, complain on your own blog. This is not a place for debate.