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You've probably noticed that we love high-quality survival gear, given all the time we spend studying, testing, reviewing, and photographing it. As a result, we have been exposed to some of the behind-the-scenes development of this gear, much of which is never seen by the general public.
Hundreds or thousands of man-hours often go into the planning, R&D, design revisions, testing, and certification of a single product—especially when that product is designed for military or government use. It's a laborious process, but it's worth it for companies to create gear they can stand behind and stake their reputation on.
That said, you can probably imagine the damaging effect counterfeiters have on this process. A company here in the USA may spend years creating a product, only to have the design stolen and shoddily reproduced overseas for pennies on the dollar. It not only reflects poorly on the American company, but also hurts and confuses their customers.
This scenario occurred just last week to Revision Military, an American manufacturer of ballistic eyewear. The company is an industry leader in eyewear manufacturing, with a multi-million-dollar 11,000 square foot clean room, ISO 9001-2008 manufacturing certification, and stringent in-house quality control and testing facility.
Jonathan Blanshay, CEO of Revision Military, said “Our customers expect only the best quality and performance from our products. We take pride in exceeding the highest specifications for optics and ballistic impact protection and have invested huge amounts of money to create the best possible protective products.”
Recently, Revision Military was alarmed to find out that their Desert Locust goggle system had fallen victim to Chinese gear counterfeiters. Guangzhou Botai Optical Visor Co., Ltd., (also known as “Guangzhou Botai”) was producing unauthorized counterfeit versions of the goggles. Worse still, Revision Military tested the eyewear and found that they met “none of the established industry standards for optical or ballistic quality”—the knock-offs were extremely unsafe.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Revision worked in conjunction with the Dearborn and Ohio County Prosecutor's Office in Indiana to track Guangzhou Botai down. The company's U.S. representative and co-owner was arrested on January 28th at the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show in Denver, Colorado.
Arrest warrants have also been issued for three other Guangzhou Botai executives. The four are facing six felony charges: counterfeiting, theft, corrupt business practices, conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, conspiracy to commit theft, and conspiracy to commit corrupt business practices. These charges are being brought in Indiana.
Revision has a zero tolerance approach when it comes to customers being victimized by inferior forgeries. Mr. Blanshay stated, “the Revision brand signifies integrity and elite performance. Fraudulent products undermine our core mission to protect the troops who protect all of us. We are taking this matter very seriously.”
We're always happy to see companies standing up for their products, and fighting the unsafe gear counterfeiter operations that could put lives at risk.