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1:6 Acquisitionist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

See subject.

I decided to post this question/topic based on an interesting discussion elsewhere.

With regards to the 1:6 hobby and how virtually anything/everything 1:6 is manufactured in China by a finite number of resources . . .

When a 1:6 design, product, etc. is stolen in China from a manufacturing perspective (i.e. once it goes into production at FACTORY A, but it is somehow produced at FACTORY B, etc.), exactly "how" does a design get "stolen"?

Is a production sample smuggled and reversed engineered?

Are the schematics copied and provided to another source?

Are the molds themselves copied?

Other?

As much as some may lament about US intellectual property rights being disregarded in China, why is it that IP rights among the Asian companies not enforced?

Is it simply a matter of custom (i.e. just accept it and move along)?

They don't care because anything/everything can be copied eventually?

Is it a code of honor among thieves?
 

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Speed Thrills
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3,997 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Definitely an important topic. I recently made a contact that shared some interesting ideas and opinions on this very topic. Definitely want to chime in here when I get home on my Laptop. :wink
 

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OSW Admin staff
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5,758 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

I am going to allow this thread to "run" but due to the nature of it, if it starts to slide then it will be pulled...

Andy
OSW Staff
 

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Hellsing Org. Mercenary
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3,290 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Very interesting and important topic indeed. I wonder those thieves can get away with it. Are there really no intellectual protection laws in China?
 

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Registered
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1,814 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

I think it boils down to greed and the fact it's so easy to do.

Factory A is tooled, Factory B is tooled the same way but maybe altered
slightly.

Why make only 1 run when they can make 1 at each factory and make more money with no real developement cost.

It happened to me with a 1/6 outfit. The well known high end
company made some clothes for a figure release of mine.
A person that worked for them, took the patterns, material and had the
same outfit made somewhere else and flooded the market with it on a copy cat figure.
This devalued my figure and killed the market for me.

The only reason I found out, is he put the figures on ebay and
said the clothes were from this same highend clothes maker I used.
When I contacted him via ebay email, he claimed he used to work
for them and he bought the outfits from them.

When I contacted them, they said the guy used to work there
but was fired(for obvious reasons). They were not aware he
had the outfit and they didn't sell the outfit to him. But did
confrim he was one of the tailors that worked on it for them
in their factory. So he had access to the patterns and materials.

So a simple copy of the patterns and material samples. He
takes it to another tailoring factory right down the street and presto.

No, his figure wasn't a good as mine, but he still flooded the
market and kept doing it for some time, hurting my business a lot.

Too easy and one of the main reasons I stopped having my outfits
made there.

One very expensive lesson learned. :poke
 

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Kit-Bash Krazy!
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2,980 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

With regards to these 'clone' Hot Toys heads, I don't believe they are re-casts I think they are the ACTUAL heads themselves, albeit painted by other people.

A friend of mine who used to work in the fashion industry told me a story about when they used to have articles of clothing made in China in a factory, literally within the same factory (and unknown to the retailer!) they took their design, even used some of their allocated stock of material, and made 'copies' for the Asian markets.

What a lot of people don't realise is that some of these companies don't have their own factories, they simply couldn't afford the machinery and labour costs, so they are sub-contracted out. I know of two 1/6th manufacturers in particular who's figures are made in the same factory, by the very same people!

So with regards to those HT 're-casts' that seem to show up at virtually the same time as the release of the actual product, I think either they're being 'taken' from the factory they are made in or the same factory is running their own knock-off line. Something HT will have to deal with.

...With regards to my friends story, in the end there was nothing they could do about it so they moved production to Italy where copyright laws do exist! Production costs went up (quality remained around the same, it's a myth... things made in China are NOT automatically poor quality) but it kind of cancelled out because of being an EU country other import costs went down.
 

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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

There are often situations when people approach a manufacturer for the tooling/mold design for their products they often don't have enough money to front the project and come to a compromise with the factory where they get the rights to sell the product for a certain period of time or in a geographically restricted area. The factory retains the rights to the molds/tooling and the ability to sell that product again in the future. We've seen this in 1/6 where a brand doesn't own the mold rights to the body and the release of their grinds to a halt leaving many countries not yet shipped to.

Other than this you have your generic recasting/reverse engineering of products, be it large scale with factories or on a small scale as publicized/sold even on the forums here and elsewhere.

As to why more companies don't pursue litigation? Well here is one major global brand's experience. If a large manufacturer finds the current legal system ineffective I don't imagine small businesses would have much better luck.
 

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Registered
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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Wow... This is a tough question, and I'm certainly not updated with Chinese laws on the subject, but I'd say that 1/6 figures and accessories should be treated just like anything else.

Mostly however, I think that copyright laws can be broken anywhere in the chain, from design to production. So if company A has a design on paper for, let's say a new M4 gun (yay, that's original) and company B uses that design and comes further in manufacturing and distribution (read: works faster than company A) , then company B has indeed stolen the design. Same thing goes for tooling, molds or whatever. Used without permission and its stolen.
 

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Proudly Banned by OSS
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7,357 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Heh... Reminds me of an old story. Anyone ever notice the strong resemblance between 21C's unreleased Blackbeard prototype and the Sideshow Blackbeard?
On a more serious note, given all of the stories I have heard in the past two years, I have taken the following stance:

 

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I'm BACK!!
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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

It definitely seems as though what we 'think' companies and factories do could be far removed from what they actually do.

Back in the day, when I was collecting McFarlane figures, the figures released in the UK were always inferior to the figures that were released in the US. If you had a UK and US figure side by side you could instantly tell the difference. That doesn't happen with McFarlane now, but, it wouldn't surprise me if other companies were still doing that.

CHEERS!
 

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Old Hero's Die Hard
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1,489 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Indeed this is a very interesting topic (I am not going to use company names in this dicusion), when it comes to hard plastic items i.e. bodies, HK417's, M4's and other various weapons and attachments they are definite recasts in my opinion.
When it comes to tailoring cloth items it is a completely different story, it pretty hard to copy tailored items down to the exact detail of the copied item.
Alsong as the bodies joints are stiff that is fine, as well as there being good casts of rifles (easily repainted) and good tailored items (color sometimes off) i will defiantly take them over the expensive genuine casts any day!
 

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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Unless the manufacturer's name is actually present on an item I think it's very difficult to prove if anyone actually stole or copied anything from anyone else...even then it's almost incredible that any manufacturer can take credit for producing an item then think they are the only manufacturer with the divine right to produce it.... unless of course they actually own the legal rights.
I think I've lost count the number of times a shrill posts on a board saying one company has copied another.....as if the manufacturer they are supporting actually owns the legal right to be the only one that can copy & manufacture the item in the first place.
Considering what happened earlier this year when a few figures were held back in the U.S....I would guess legal rights by any 1/6th company would be almost non-existent.

Chelseaboy
 

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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Interesting topic :p

Not only in the 1/6, copy happening in all industries, like Apple VS Samsung?

Regarding intellectual property, are those Korean Artist custom HS not respecting the IP also? Are they sculpting and painting one by one? No they must mold it and produce in mass.

For those Hottoys Clone heads/accessories, they are absolutely lead out from Hottoy's own factory, so it is the problem of their management only

Think in the view of those factory man, if I am one of them, I won't try to copy/steal my customer's product because I don't want to lost a good customer, no one can make real money without a long term business relationship.
 

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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

...only slightly off-topic...does anyone know what the story is on the Batman Armory sets?

There have been two companies producing them, so far, correct? They were rapidly announced and then released within a relatively small timeframe in 2013 from memory...and now that Hot Toys has theirs announced, was that a situation where a design or plan from HT was leaked and rapidly put into production by one or several other companies (weren't the two released at vastly different price-points???).

And now the HT official one is coming out...............or is that all just coincidence?
 

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Resisting Evil
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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

The infamous "white box" figures are a great example of this.....

And headsculpt re-casters are in the same boat, as far as I'm concerned...thieves, capitalizing on others work.......
 

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Registered
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500 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

...only slightly off-topic...does anyone know what the story is on the Batman Armory sets?

There have been two companies producing them, so far, correct? They were rapidly announced and then released within a relatively small timeframe in 2013 from memory...and now that Hot Toys has theirs announced, was that a situation where a design or plan from HT was leaked and rapidly put into production by one or several other companies (weren't the two released at vastly different price-points???).

And now the HT official one is coming out...............or is that all just coincidence?
Maybe Hot Toys copy their ideas, as soon as Hot Toys have the license, they are always the right owner...
 

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Speed Thrills
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3,997 Posts
Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

ADAM.C said it all for me. Here I was prepared to dazzle you all with my new found knowledge.. Seems its only new to me:bag. lol lol. Lots of valid points and solid information posted. Kind of Sobering actually. On one thing I think we can all agree.. The Toy Game is Big Business. And where ever there is money to be made there will be those willing cheat to get it. Even the Big Boys deal from the bottom of the deck from time to time... But that's another Thread...:dunno
 

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Resisting Evil
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Switched to Lurking...
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Re: "HOW" is a design "stolen" when it comes to 1:6 manufacturing?

Shout it out if you remember when pieces made from DML molds started showing up in Formative International's Soliders of the World blister carded uniform sets. Plastic was cheaper and the paint ops were sloppy, but the pieces were identical.
 
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