Why does Spyderco allow this?

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
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carl3989
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Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby carl3989 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:31 am

Years ago I spotted this knife at a gun show. Although I mainly collect Spydercos I was drawn to this knife because of its blade hole. It wasn't until I picked it up that I realized that it wasn't a Spyderco. After a close inspection I was pleased with its function and it has become almost a constant EDC. Mind you I still prefer Spydercos and would not carry one of those Chinese fakes but this knife seems every bit as good for EDC as my Spydercos. So why does Spyderco allow this manufacturer to copy the look of a Spyderco in general and the Spydy hole in particular? Image

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Spydersense » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:37 am

Not 100% sure, but I think that Sal and crew realized that licensing the trademark hole would make good business sense.

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby The CoPilot » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:41 am

It's a long story. The short version is that Spyderco didn't allow it. I won't get into the particulars in light of Sal's request that we leave "shiny footprints" here and not speak ill of other manufacturers.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby attila » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:48 am

I wonder if the size of the hole is a specific trademark feature, or if it's mere existence is the important detail.

It's funny, though, that that round hole is why I bought a mini griptilian after loving my first delica so much, but really preferring the axis lock.

If only Spyderco made a delica or smaller sized ball bearing locked ffg, I'd be in exstatic!
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Spydersense » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:49 am

The CoPilot wrote:It's a long story. The short version is that Spyderco didn't allow it. I won't get into the particulars in light of Sal's request that we leave "shiny footprints" here and not speak ill of other manufacturers.
Well,that is unfortunate. :(

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby wrdwrght » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:52 am

You could ask The Deacon why he avoids Benchmade, but don't get him started. :rolleyes:

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Wrathhog » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:59 am

I'm curious too if Spyderco ever sought to trademark the hole and if they didn't, why?

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Horizon » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:32 am

Patiently awaiting Deacon's response. *grabs popcorn.

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby SpyderNut » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:42 am

As CoPilot mentioned, it is a long story. The bottom line is that Spyderco did not authorize Benchmade to use their Round Hole on some of their designs. Benchmade elected to use the Round Hole anyway and the impact on their relationship with Spyderco was less than favorable.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Evil D » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:43 am

At this point everyone who knows anything about quality knives knows where the round hole comes from. I chalk it up as imitation being the highest form of flattery.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby dplafoll » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:44 am

The hole was patented, the patent ran out. So Spyderco can't use a stronger enforcement mechanism like patents on something like this.
The hole is now trademarked, but that's much less enforceable in terms of keeping others from using it. They just can't call it a "SpyderHole" and probably can't advertise it as a prominent feature the way that Spyderco does.

Someone correct me if I've missed anything there. I tried to sum it up without bashing anyone.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby elena86 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:49 am

Let me be more abrupt.These guys are shameless more than anything :(

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby tvenuto » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:57 pm

Allow me to play devil's advocate. For reference I am an engineer, and a business owner, and while neither of these make any of my arguments stronger or weaker, it lets you know my perspective. Laws are not black and white. When we had certain employees sign non-compete agreements, our lawyer warned us that even though they agreed to it on paper, non-competes were disfavored in the law, and might not be able to be enforced.

Patents do run out for a reason, and unless you feel that that shouldn't be the case, then you would agree that spyderco rightfully no longer has a patent on the spydie hole. Another great example in this space is the michael walker liner lock, which wikipedia tells me the patent ran out in 1923. As such, Spyderco, and anyone else, is free to use the liner lock in their designs without owing anyone anything. Now, spyderco is always careful to credit the inventor of features they use, but they aren't morally or legally bound to do so. Every day you use and buy things that contain features that were at one point patented, without any sense of indignation. So, from the stance of a patented feature, I think most would agree that patent shelf-life is good for innovation in general, and that once a patent has run out, there is no obligation to credit its source.

The fact that the spydie hole is a functional feature puts it in an odd space where trademarks are concerned. A well known case was Hershey's, who had trouble trademarking their chocolate bar shape due to the fact that the cuts allowed you to break the bar and were thus functional features. So, I guess depending on where you fall in that argument, you can decide whether or not Benchmade is acting inappropriately by using a round hole opener. You are of course free not to buy from them for that reason.

I'm with Evil on this one, though. I think it's a gray area, and I don't think that benchmade is trying to impersonate spyderco. If anything I think if someone is concerned with high quality knives and first sees that benchmade they will be driven to spyderco eventually, and will stay or go on spyderco's merits.
Last edited by tvenuto on Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby wrdwrght » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Yup, it's gray

I may be mistaken but doesn't Benchmade now license the Spydiehole?

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby bh49 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:08 pm

dplafoll wrote:The hole was patented, the patent ran out.
To the best of my knowledge Spyderco never patented Spyderhole. Spyderco patented indent on the blade. Spyderhole is trademarked, which will never expire.
elena86 wrote:Let me be more abrupt.These guys are shameless more than anything :(
+1
This is the old, long story, but elena sum-up it very well. Short and clear.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby sal » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:42 pm

Hi Carl,

The short story is that Spyderco and Benchmade reached an agreement.

sal

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby carl3989 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:14 pm

Well thank you for the edification.

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby Larry_Mott » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:28 pm

A mitigating circumstance is that the knife in the picture is the Bob Lum designed DejaVoo. :)
I like Lum knives, only goes to follow i like the DejaVoo (and Onslaught) too.
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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby carl3989 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:58 pm

Larry_Mott wrote:A mitigating circumstance is that the knife in the picture is the Bob Lum designed DejaVoo. :)
I like Lum knives, only goes to follow i like the DejaVoo (and Onslaught) too.
That's what attracted me to it. Great minds think alike Larry.

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Re: Why does Spyderco allow this?

Postby holeshot » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:19 pm

sal wrote:Hi Carl,

The short story is that Spyderco and Benchmade reached an agreement.

sal
Sal, I wish the agreement included use of the axis lock by your company. I'm sure you will agree that it is well engineered. Let me preface this by saying I own many more Spyderco folders than Benchmades mainly because your designs are superior. The only Benchmade knives I own more of than Spyderco are their autos they just offer a wider selection. I do love my Embassy and Autonomy :), more please :)
PS, is it ok that I use my Sharpmaker to sharpen my Benchmades?
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