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Magic Unicorn
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guy's, if you didnt all ready know, smartparts is coming back, under the same owners but a different name, GOG paintball.

[URL="http://paintball.about.com/b/2010/12/03/smart-parts-is-back-sort-of.htm"[/URL]

Hope fully that link works, if not try copy and pasting this :http://paintball.about.com/b/2010/12/03/smart-parts-is-back-sort-of.htm

So, what do you guys think, thats what I would like to know.

Personally, I think they'll make some quality products, but im not sure if they can live up to the original SmartParts after financial problems and such, but it will be interesting to find out.

Also, if you have a GOG marker, tell us about it! I would really like to hear some first hand account on them.

EDIT: I have no affiliation with about.com, I just came across the article, thought it might be usefull for background info.
 

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Banned
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14,001 Posts
well, this isnt really new news, we have known for a while. the G brothers are money sucking whores and need to leave paintball

GOG is putting out the same stamped out crap that SP did, we have more or less boycotted them around here

the sooner they die the sooner we will be happy. still my best day in paintball was when they went under with SP
 

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Magic Unicorn
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
well, this isnt really new news, we have known for a while. the G brothers are money sucking whores and need to leave paintball

GOG is putting out the same stamped out crap that SP did, we have more or less boycotted them around here

the sooner they die the sooner we will be happy. still my best day in paintball was when they went under with SP
I know it's not news trbo, I just wanted to see what people thought about it, that's all. Anyway thanks for sharing, I've never seen someone hate Smart Parts as much as you.
 

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Banned
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yes, i suggest you dive into the story a bit and see for yourself how horrible they are

martix do you remember where that big long explanation by i believe it was medic who posted it was at?

that needs to be stickied in the SP section
 

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Administrator
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23,645 Posts
I think it was medic. i bet if i dig around a bit i could find it too.; but it's past my bedtime. As it turns out, when you have class in the morning, one can not stay up till 5 am anymore.

I also remember an epic thread on the nation where billy got seriously owned ( it was very, very poor judgment for him to be in that thread to start with)
 

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Sherminator
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12 Posts
Hmmm, It will be interesting to see what happens, but I think I will stay away from their products, especially if the customer service was anything like SP. Plus they look like complete crap lol
 

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Superdeeduper Admin Type
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17,772 Posts
I was in on that discussion on PBN. It was very interesting, ill advised, but interesting. I will see if I can find a link.. it was like 32 pages before it was locked by the PBN mods.. if it hasn't been deleted entirely.

EDIT: Looks like the thread is gone. I could at one time link to my posts in the thread, but now I find nothing at all there... so much for Peanut Butter Nation being non-biased.. oh wait! They are heavily sponsored (or were) by Fart Parts! interesting to see no GOG sponsorship on there...
 

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found it, not the original i dont think but it was Riddeler who posted it

Your logic would hold if their patent(s) had been valid in the first place. Unfortunately, the US Patent Office is so overworked and understaffed that they approve nearly everything. The general consensus is to push them through and let companies fight over contested items in court later, rather than spending time to investigate validity. This is why we have numerous patents for the same device, dated years apart, and patents for such fun things as time machines, fountains of youth, light-speed engines for space flight, etc.

In this particular case, Smart Parts revised the original 1997 Shocker patent (which was ill-gotten enough to begin with, but that's another story; google it if you like) in 2003, re-writing the language to very broadly cover ALL electros and not just the design for one specific one. Upon approval from the patent office, who, as described above, is happy as a clam to stamp it and let you fight it out in court on your own, SP began to serve cease and desist letters to the paintball community to test the waters and see where they stood for demanding royalties. Every other manufacturer pretty much laughed at them. There was no way a 2003 revision to a 1997 patent should hold water - heck, there had even been electros made prior to the 1997 patent that should invalidate the new language.

SP realized it would have to come down to legal battles. They weren't brazen enough to go after a stout competitor with the first lawsuit - better to see how the patent would hold up in court against a smaller foe, with less legal resources available to fight back. SP knew very well that any win in court, no matter how small, would set a precedent for subsequent legal action.

SP showed their true colors by choosing ICD as their first target. ICD was a small, family-run business - formerly known as Line SI - that had a rich, storied history in paintball, dating back to the Line SI Bushmaster in the late 80's. They had a line of semi-autos in the 90's including the Desert Fox, Alley Cat, Thunder Cat, and Puma, and in the early 2000's, they designed the third mainstream electro, the Bushmaster 2000. A couple years later they launched the Freestyle, one of the first spool-valved markers. At the time of SP's lawsuit, it was common knowledge that Jerry Dobbins, ICD's owner, had just gone through major back surgery and was in ill-health. I do not believe he even made a single court appearance. Despite outrage by the rest of the rest of the industry and the majority of the player base at the time, SP eventually won their suit, and ICD was financially crippled.

Upon this victory, SP instituted a licensing program, the terms of which have never been fully publicly disclosed. It's generally speculated that there are two options for a potential electro manufacturer: an upfront payoff allowing a given marker design to be sold for a given period of time; or a fee per marker sold (or both). I am unsure if the fees are flat- or percentage-based, though recent speculations suggest something in the neighborhood of $50/gun. Slowly, many of the major manufacturers signed on to this program and opted to pay royalties rather than risk losing in court. In Dye's case, they threatened to sue SP over the spool-valve patent if SP came at them with the electro patent, so both sides agreed that the other could use their patented technology free of royalties.

Around this same period, AKA was just making it big with the Viking and Excalibur, two amazingly-crafted markers that were years ahead of their time. For those that may not know, AKA stands for Aaron Kendrick Alexander, the initials of the owner, a pioneering young man with an engineering degree and amazing design ideas. You may have seen some old AKA logos that spell out AKALMP, and wondered what the LMP stood for. It's LEADS Metal Products, the family's machine shop. LEADS = Larry, Eileen, Aaron, Daughters, and Sons. For what it's worth, the whole family are some of the nicest people I have ever met in the paintball industry. Larry gave my wife an AKA key chain at the 2005 IAO, and she keeps her car keys on it to this day, though she doesn't play paintball and really has no idea who AKA is other than the fact that she met them and I'm a big fan.

So SP chose AKA as their next target. Again, the paintball community was outraged. An AKA legal defense fund was started on PBNation - by players, no less - and thousands of dollars of donations rained in. It wasn't enough. Like ICD, they fought long and hard, but with the legal precedent set in the ICD case, the judge ruled in favor of SP. I believe that SP offered AKA a chance to participate in their royalties program, and AKA decided that they would rather not make another electro ever again than give SP one cent.

AKA's loss was devastating to much of the paintball community. It spurred many of the remaining manufacturer holdouts to cave and sign with SP.

WDP remained one of the very few companies that refused to pay SP for their bogus patent, and would be the next (and final) target of SP. Everyone else had signed their licensing agreement. Now I'm a bit vague on the details here, but I believe that prior to going to court, WDP was able to track down one of PVI's designers and purchased his share of the rights to the PVI Shocker from him. SP tried to assert in court that he was a contracted employee, and had signed over his rights to them, but testimony and document evidence proved that he never willingly sold his design rights to Smart Parts. In the end, i believe it ended as something of a stalemate - it was concluded that WDP owned a share of SP's patent, and did not have to pay for licensing. I do not believe WDP has ever again sued another manufacturer over this patent.

This one bogus patent has stifled innovation in our sport for years. How many small manufacturers have bowed out of the sport after deciding that the risk of dealing with SP was too great or that their profit margins would be too small after signing a licensing agreement? How many countless other manufacturers have elected not to take a chance with paintball? SP has long been a thorn in the side of the industry, and is wholly responsible for the market stagnation of recent years.

It's ironic that they're going through the same financial hardships that they've imparted onto others. As much as I'd love to support SP for being a manufacturer local to me, I can only muster sympathy for the employees laid off as a result of their recent woes. I have no lost love for the company or ownership, and believe wholeheartedly that our sport is far better off without them.
 
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