Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Licensing issues with Airsoft, Lawsuits, or worse, to come?

Madbull just released this out to the Airsoft Community
Nov 20th 2010
( Bold is my addition)

Dear Airsoft players and manufacturers,
We are proud to announce that Madbull Airsoft have been granted official licensing from Troy Industries, PRI (Precision Reflex Inc.), Surefire Suppressors, Lancer Systems, Reset Inc. (U.S. Army future soldier systems), KelTec, and Viking Tactics (U.S. Retired Delta Force). Many more are currently in the works too!
Madbull Airsoft will also begin to work with more than 20 US Firearm companies for “Operation Copycat” an international operation to combat all unauthorized copies from Asia. This large scale operation will be run by several law firms, Customs Agencies, and local law enforcement.
Most unauthorized copies are 1:1 scale which can be easily applied to a real firearm. This poses a problem because whereas they are 100% visual copies they are not constructed by the same materials and do not possess the same build quality. This is a huge risk to any end user since it’s highly probable that the copy will malfunction and cause serious damage to both the weapon and user. Many of these firearm companies receive damaged returns which turn out to be an unauthorized copy that has failed but bare all the correct trademarks but were manufactured in Asia. Note that all these copies were imported illegally and that any product baring unauthorized trademarks or trade dress is against the law.
But it’s not all bad news; some good news is that a few Asian manufacturers have given us their full cooperation with our efforts. A notable mention would be, Tokyo Marui, a highly reputable company.
We at Madbull highly encourage other airsoft manufacturers and players to support legal, authorized, and officially licensed products. This is a win-win for all; licensors (who respectively pay to use trademarks), real steel manufacturers (for all their hard work and countless hours developing these products), and players who get to enjoy 1:1 scaled airsoft only authorized replicas. All the royalties paid is motivation for real firearm companies to continue to create more great and exciting products. This benefits both the real gun industry along with the airsoft industry and ultimately you the airsoft player.
Any questions or inquiries, feel free to contact our license department:
Madbull Airsoft

Sounds to me like if you are waiting for a shipment from Asia of some "Grey Markets" parts, the chance of them getting here has just gone way down.
I need to put some more thought into this subject before I jump in with a rant.
While I do totally agree with Licensing, and have even worked with people in that area for a company,
(not airsoft), I can also see the other side of this issue.

I had a very prophetic conversation with a long time airsoft journalist at the 2010 SHOT show.
My stance was that all of us in the industry had to become more professional and convey a better image.
I had met many airsofters that week that projected the "skateboarder" persona 
and I thought it was detrimental if we ever wanted to be "taken seriously"
( In my defense, I am old and started this fight in 1986, 
long before 99% of the people in airsoft now were born).
His stance was that we had to keep it more underground, that if more of the "suits" found out about us, it would ruin airsoft.
Looking back today, I think he was right.

Airsoft is growing up, the days of enthusiasts opening companies to sell to like minded players are ending.
MBA are running airsoft companies now, 
with P&L statements and some with even shareholders to answer to.

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that five years from today 
( if the world is here after Dec 23 2012, that is)

Airsoft as we know it will not be airsoft as we know it now.
Systemic change comes to every industry, it has to if it is to survive.

Are we finally seeing airsoft grow up?
Or did Madbull just jump the shark.

Till Tomorrow,
Stay Thirsty my friends.

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