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The great tripod & head thread!

anyone

Well-known member
I'm surprised how much discussion came up after my question about Leofoto.

In my point of view, I do not expect Arca Swiss quality. Even the looks might be similar, the technology and precision won't be. However, I need the tripod head on a spare tripod that I got quite cheap and will be used seldomly. Putting a 700 EUR tripod head on this would not make much sense for me, because this will be more than the tripod, camera, and lens it carries (will use it with my new-to-me Toyo field 45). And in the end, if reputable dealers like B&H sell the products, then I think it's asked too much from a consumer to further investigate about similarities / differences between manufacturers.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Trade Dress?

This is exactly what the long discussion with the Judge consisted of. Her opinion is that this one was quite far from the line. Of course, this is different from hearing the arguments in a case, but in her litigator hat, she said this one would not be worth pursuing - and she did this kind of thing for American Express and TheGap. I once bought an Olloclip lens for the iPhone and an Olcolip lens was sent instead. Amazon apologized profusely and sent the real one. The products appeared identical. THAT was over the line. I didn't ask her about the PhotoClam Cube...

Part of the discussion includes the intended audience. Most (or all) buyers of an RRS ballhead know who and what they are, and are not going to be confused and purchase the Leofoto thinking that it is the RRS.
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
This is exactly what the long discussion with the Judge consisted of. Her opinion is that this one was quite far from the line. Of course, this is different from hearing the arguments in a case, but in her litigator hat, she said this one would not be worth pursuing - and she did this kind of thing for American Express and TheGap. I once bought an Olloclip lens for the iPhone and an Olcolip lens was sent instead. Amazon apologized profusely and sent the real one. The products appeared identical. THAT was over the line. I didn't ask her about the PhotoClam Cube...

Part of the discussion includes the intended audience. Most (or all) buyers of an RRS ballhead know who and what they are, and are not going to be confused and purchase the Leofoto thinking that it is the RRS.
Here you go. US Patent Publication of what looks to be the BH-55. My day job is writing/prosecuting patents at an IP boutique and I'm also a current law student :)

It's not in the name of Really Right Stuff, rather the inventor (probably employee/owner/etc of RRS). Same guy is mentioned on a video tripod head filed by Really Right Stuff (that shows the tripod head on the first page of published application US 2019/0271902 A1 .

Note this is just the published application. It is NOT an issued patent that confers rights. I tried to look at the prosecution history in the USPTO database but my browser is giving me trouble. According to google patents, it went abandoned, but I don't know exactly why. There could be a million reasons that don't necessarily relate to patentability, but, if it's not an issued patent, it can't be enforced (at least under patent law). Not too familiar with trade dress so can't comment on that.

Should probably note that this post is just for entertainment purposes and fun and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice.

Anyway....carry on....
 

Attachments

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
...
Should probably note that this post is just for entertainment purposes and fun and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice.
So nice to see a legal disclaimer on a post (not sarcasm - it recalls my past work life). Some email chains would end up with thirty pages of legal fine print and four sentences of communication.

True story: Microsoft Outlook at an Arms Exporter got confused and started sending me emails about their high level meetings - during the Iraq War. I begged them daily to get me the heck off that list. Being Outlook, it kept putting me back on. This lasted over a month. I have never had ANY contact with the weapons industry!
 

ThdeDude

Active member
Should probably note that this post is just for entertainment purposes and fun and should not be construed as a legal opinion or legal advice.

You missed the most important boiler-plate, namely that, "reading and engaging with this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship!".
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
You missed the most important boiler-plate, namely that, "reading and engaging with this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship!".
I’m not an attorney :)

but yes something to consider after passing the bar….32 more credit hours to go before I can sit for it though.
 

dj may

Well-known member
There is a difference between what is legal and what is honorable (or ethical). Antonio Stradavari made many different types of cellos, however his B version is commonly copied. Makers of cellos will clearly state if they are selling a Stradivarius copy. The same instrument makers will clearly communicate how they learned the craft and with whom they studied or apprenticed. It is both credit to whom credit is due as well as a statement of their own qualifications.

Anyone who has been in business for a while will probably have stories about how they have been cheated. I know I have; and not only in illegal ways.

My opinion only: I only do business with people I trust. That applies whether I am the buyer or the seller. Any company whose business model is to copy the work of others, and not give credit for the source, does not meet my criteria of trust. When I hear about a product that is "just like" X, but much cheaper, I want to know more. Life is too short and difficult already.
 

darr

Well-known member
IMHO, all creative folk, whether amatuer or professional, technical or craftsperson, should feel offended when another has been insulted by copy for profit.
The world would be a boring place if not for the creative endeavors of those that strive with originality.
Just my 2 cents.
 

Makten

Well-known member
A lot of talk about copies here. Leofoto does obviously not copy other brands, but they are very similar to RRS because the clamping technology is the same (and not patented).
If you look around a bit, you'll see that 99% of all ball heads are of two main designs and really similar apart from small details. You just can't do a lot of variation on something consisting of a ball, a socket and a clamping device. Sure, they could have made them red or something, but that would appeal to less people.

To me, this is like criticizing the fact that most modern cars have roughly the same shape. Seriously, if you remove the logo, it's not easy to tell them apart. 😂
 

JoelM

Active member
I still think that it is a matter of "You get what you pay for". I find that the brand products that developed the products seem to last a lifetime. I have Gitzo, Novoflex, and other "high-end" gear for over 25 years and with proper care, have lasted quite well. In the end, the prIce spent all those years ago, for example my Gitzo CF tripods, are cheap in comparison to going through knock-off brands with little quality control and/or customer service.

My $0.02 as well,

Joel
 

Makten

Well-known member
I still think that it is a matter of "You get what you pay for". I find that the brand products that developed the products seem to last a lifetime. I have Gitzo, Novoflex, and other "high-end" gear for over 25 years and with proper care, have lasted quite well. In the end, the prIce spent all those years ago, for example my Gitzo CF tripods, are cheap in comparison to going through knock-off brands with little quality control and/or customer service.

My $0.02 as well,

Joel
I think you underestimate the quality of "knock-off" brands nowadays, at least some of them. I can't see anything wrong with quality, fit or precision of the Leofoto tripod and head I have, and I expect them to last long enough.
I really dislike using tripods in general so I will never buy anything top of the line for no reason. I only use them when it's not possible to shoot hand-held, which isn't very often. I highly doubt that paying twice the money on more expensive but similar products would make any difference at all, to me.

------

What do you all think about the fact that almost all tripod and head manufacturers use the Arca-Swiss clamp system? Should they make their own clamps? That would be highly inconvenient, but perhaps some other sort of logic applies because it affects the user, and thus high moral isn't necessary? :unsure: 😁
 

Alan

Active member
I value innovative tools that make my job easier. Companies that bring useful innovation to market, and back it up with support get my business. Others who ride coat tails dampen that innovation, so I don't support them with purchases.

--

I'd like to see destructive comparison testing of some of these tripods, heads and clamps! The closest I've seen is the performance testing done by The Center Column.
 

Abstraction

Active member
Is there any reason why we're even discussing legalese? Whatever the issue may be, it's the issue between two companies. They're the ones who will deal with it one way or another. It has really nothing to do with us. The companies do what's best for them and we do whatever is best for us.
 

neilvan

Well-known member
Well, I checked with my local expert (Federal Magistrate Judge and ex-corporate litigator. How's THAT for an Appeal to Authority fallacy!). Her strong opinion is that Leofoto is doing nothing actionable here. (Assuming there is no patent violation, and I searched the patent office database and didn't find one for RRS ballheads. Four pages of panorama patents and tripod feet, but no ballheads.) They would have to make an almost indistinguishable copy that would fool a casual observer. I confess surprise, but I withdraw my objections.
🤣
 

akaru

Member
I agree, this thread is too awesome to be spoiled by legal issues. I think this is all you need to know for now: http://blog.reallyrightstuff.com/intellectual-property-at-really-right-stuff/

No doubt Leofoto copies, quite transparently, and especially from RSS. They do seem to be—if not innovating—at least trying out more markets and adapting. I did get ahold of one of their newer “waterproof” tripods, and while I dislike the color and can’t attest to the longevity, at least they are making such a thing. (I’d love a Gitzo Ocean but can’t find one.) Grips were made with metal ridges, which no one does that I know of, and they were nice. Though they felt kind of like they had sand in them already, I presume from bad tolerances or lack of pre-wearing or greasing of the threads.

I’m not keen on supporting this kind of flagrant copying, nor helping an authoritarian government profit, but I’m also not really into supporting a company which is anti-gay, with ties to the LDS, and which profits more and more from the military. Really *Right* Stuff, indeed.

I’ll take a Gitzo. I just hope Leofoto and others light a fire under them to innovate a bit.
 

tcdeveau

Well-known member
Yeah let’s get back to the gear….this thread is a great resource and other discussion can be continued elsewhere on the forum
 
Alan, what are your thoughts on the Arca-Swiss M2? Have you used any similar rail systems? Have you tried it our for macro work, and were you happy with the workflow?
I have always wanted one…
 
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