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Wimberly knock-offs - response from Wimberly
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02-04-2009, 09:21 AM Ronald Eberhart
Hi Ron,



Thanks for your email, & the photo – it is gorgeous! It will not be circulated. We are aware that a replica of our discontinued original Wimberley Head™, the model WH-100/101 is coming out of India, as well as copies of our full line of quick-release lens plates. We have seen similar (if not the same) tripod head replicas for sale in the UK and in Germany under different company names. Knockoffs of the Wimberley Head Version II™ and our quick-release plate designs are now popping up in Korea, Japan and China.



The Digital Video Product (DVP) full gimbal tripod head available on eBay is visually identical to our classic Wimberley Head in design, and although there was no original design patent applied for, we still consider this to be in the realm of intellectual theft. We have also become aware of this company’s misleading description of one of their side-mount products as a gimbal head “sidekick”. This company has not only copied our original Wimberley Head but also one of our high-profile, long-standing product names, The Sidekick™. They have reproduced several of our current product designs, as well as our product instructions and website descriptions word-for-word.



We are in the process of investigating legal action, and we have petitioned eBay several times to recognize our product designs and our trademark on the Sidekick™ name. Unfortunately after filing repeated Intellectual Property Infringement reports, eBay has still refused to recognize our company’s petitions as having merit in any of these cases. This has been a big disappointment for our company.



There has been much talk on photography forums about the Wimberley product knockoffs that are available on eBay. Much discussion seems to be among folks who are not familiar with the long-term benefits associated with the purchase of Wimberley products, benefits mainly associated with the high-quality parts we use in producing our products, but also with our established reputation for outstanding customer service. There is much to be said for both, and these qualities may not be true for the products offered on eBay by DVP or other replica manufacturers.



Another one of the DVP products is a side-mount gimbal head that appears to use the geometry and mechanism from the Wimberley Sidekick™ for the upper (tilt) portion, in conjunction with the mechanism from the old-style Wimberley Head™ for the lower (pan) portion. The DVP alternative style “L gimbal” head looks distinctly like a combination of 4th Generation Design’s Mongoose and our Wimberley Head design. We can determine visually that this product not nearly as robust (stiff) as our Sidekick, and definitely has the potential to be “springy”, especially with larger lenses.



We do not have first-hand experience with all of the heads DVP has for sale, but we have examined the knock-off of the original Wimberley Head made in India. Applying our experience with the Wimberley Head replica, we would expect the other gimbal head products to look pretty good from a distance, but to have some substantial issues with regard to quality of construction that will translate into functional problems both initially and down the road.



This may be something that photographers are willing to chance to save money upfront, and the DVP products may function fine and be worth the expenditure initially. However, this company is in India, sells only through eBay, and has only been making this line of products for the past several months. We say buyer beware, and as with most camera gear and accessories, you tend to get what you pay for. Who can tell how these product will hold up in the field.



Our WH-100/101 classic Wimberley Head was purchased by many photographers when first introduced to the retail market in 1991, and these Heads are still going strong in the field more than 15 years later. We have not licensed our products to any other manufacturers, and we are in the process of exploring our rights regarding trademarks, patents, and copyright infringements by these companies. As we are a small company, however, we are finding it to be a bit impractical to pursue all the infringements appearing in the current marketplace.



If you should have any specific questions, or become aware of any other Wimberley product knock-offs, please feel free to contact us.



Thank you very much for your support, and good luck in the field!



Kind regards,

Cynthia



Mrs. Cynthia S. Fenton

Sales and Customer Service Supervisor

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