Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from Brevard, N.C.-based SylvanSport outlining its battles against a Chinese firm that SylvanSport says copied its design.
SylvanSport, producer of innovative, American-made recreational gear, is working to prevent a Chinese company, Wuyi Tiandi MotionApparatus Co., from selling a “copycat product” around the world. SylvanSport, established in Brevard, North Carolina in 2004, manufactures the GO, a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure pop-up camping trailer.
In July 2009, an online customer purchased a GO from SylvanSport in the U.S. and then freighted it to China where, according to SylvanSport, Wuyi TiandiMotion Apparatus Co., LTD. “reverse engineered and replicated it.” The release stated: “The trailer is now being sold as a lower quality copy in both international and U.S. markets. Wuyi Tiandi Motion Apparatus Co. has gone as far as copying the SylvanSport color scheme and marketing materials such as photos and video directly from www.sylvansport.com.”
The SylvanSport GO is comprised of 96% U.S. made components with a primary supply chain located within a 100-mile radius of Brevard.
“I am confident that companies like ours truly represent the core of economic recovery potential here in the U.S.,” says Thomas Dempsey, president and founder of SylvanSport. “We are a small, nine employee company with a highly recognizable camping product that is manufactured in the U.S., from U.S. suppliers. This Chinese copy will not affect our business strategy here in the States or globally.”
SylvanSport was granted three U.S. trademarks in 2008, along with two U.S. patents and three U.S. design patents in 2010. “Until now, we have not made a big deal about the counterfeiting issue in the media because we did not want to interfere with the work our North Carolina Governor and U.S. senators have been doing on our behalf,” says Dempsey.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue and senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr have rallied behind SylvanSport, calling the company’s case “the quintessential example of foreign companies counterfeiting U.S. made product and undermining American entrepreneurs.” In SylvanSport’s defense, Gov. Purdue’s office has delivered a cease and desist letter to Wuyi Tiandi Motion Apparatus Co. in China.
SylvanSport has also organized support from Alibaba Group, owners of Alibaba.com, a global leader in e-commerce for small businesses. Alibaba has removed the Wuyi Tiandi Camper trailer from its English-language website.
“We are facing a big hurdle but it’s certainly not one we won’t overcome,” says Dempsey. “We are innovation. We are manufacturing. We have a product for the future, not the past. We employ a growing number of local skilled workers at a good wage. We are fighting global counterfeiting while bringing to light the challenges faced by US small businesses.“
The GO was designed from the frame out to be a one-of-a-kind mobile adventure trailer. Lightweight and easy to manage, the GO can be pulled by even the smallest of cars. GO can carry up to a dozen bikes, kayaks or any combination thereof. “GO is much more than a pop-up camper; it is an American made, gear-hauling, hyper-engineered, fully tig-welded piece of mobile adventure gear,” said Dempsey.