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ZCD Rip Off of Bad Dog Frame Rails Design

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z-ya    30

Z Car Depot has decided to copy and reproduce Bad Dog frame rails:

The ones show in the picture are in fact Bad Dog frame rails. Z Car Depot (ZCD) purchased a set from Bad Dog, and that is what is shown on their website. They have now decided to copy the Bad Dog design and have them made elsewhere. John at Bad Dog has asked ZCD to remove the photos from their website and Ebay, but so far they have not done that.

I worked with John and our fabricator many years ago to develop these frame rails. In fact it was my 280Z that was used to develop the 280Z rails. A lot of time  and effort when into the design, building prototypes, test fitting etc., so for ZCD to copy the design is a stab in the back.

The Z community is small, and we need vendors like Bad Dog to develop new products for our car hobby. But the market is not big enough for multiple vendors producing the same products (or copying each others designs). Vendors should be developing a replacement for something that either is NLA, or innovative and provides value to the market and community. That is how it is done, and this would be welcomed. What ZCD has done is not welcome in the Z community.

Pete

Edited by z-ya

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Nelsonian    7

I say a big thanks to you Pete and Bad Dog for making the frame rails, and I proudly supported you guys with a complete set of frame rails and sub frame connectors and front sway bar weld on plates, on my car.

Edited by Nelsonian

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NewZed    56

He's a member.  Somebody could shoot him a message and see how he responds.  Looks like he already changed the picture, I tried to compare them but the 280Z part isn't even there, and the 240Z parts don't look the same.

 

Maybe he just didn't think it through.  He's had a good reputation so far.  Maybe he'll shoot a royalty to Bad Dog, with a little pressure.  Better to give him a chance before the feeding frenzy gets too heavy?

 

Edit - I went ahead and sent a message.  Let's see what happens.

Edited by NewZed

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gvincent    14

There is no excuse for ZCD copying somebody's design and selling it as their own, Bad Dog developed these products years ago for our Z community. Bad Dog has been a sponsor for Many ZCON conventions and John Jeffery owner of Bad Dog and President of the ZCCNE has been involved with the Z car community for many many years always giving a helping hand to anybody that asks. The ZCCNE has been the host club to ZCON 2003 and 2013. Please show your support for Bad Dog by voicing your support here and on other Z car forums.

Thank you

Greg

Edited by gvincent

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rturbo 930    27

Would it be a low move to leave a "review" of the product as it being a stolen design from someone else in the Z community?

I wouldn't do that just yet. But perhaps a number of people emailing him and giving their opinion could be helpful. If he decides to be stubborn... then we'll see.

 

 

Maybe he just didn't think it through.  He's had a good reputation so far.  Maybe he'll shoot a royalty to Bad Dog, with a little pressure.  Better to give him a chance before the feeding frenzy gets too heavy?

 

The fact that he thinks stealing someones design is acceptable to begin with tells me all I need to know. He'll get a little respect back if he does the right thing, but IMO his true colors have been shown.

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NewZed    56

The fact that he thinks stealing someones design is acceptable to begin with tells me all I need to know. He'll get a little respect back if he does the right thing, but IMO his true colors have been shown.

 

We don't know the back-story.  All we know is what z-ya wrote.  Isn't gnosez the owner of Bad Dog?  He's a member too.  I'll send him a message.  Let's figure out what's going on.  Lots of indignation, all based on one story.

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grannyknot    11

 

 

 

 

The fact that he thinks stealing someones design is acceptable to begin with tells me all I need to know. He'll get a little respect back if he does the right thing, but IMO his true colors have been shown.

Exactly, I vote with my wallet.

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gnosez    4

Sorry for the delay but I was travelling home the last 4 hours and just looked at NewZed's request to provide the back story.

 

Here's how this thing transpired:

 

  • I got an order from ZCD for a set of 240 front and rear frame rails along with a set of sway bar plates
  • The order was delivered on 11/28/16 to ZCarDepot (ZCD)
  • During the week of 1/16/17 I was asked by a local shop to find and purchase over a dozen parts with an estimated value of $2,000.
  • I looked through several sites to see who had what and at what cost and while doing so was surprised to see my parts for sale at ZCD
  • I found that ZCD had posted on 12/16/16 that they now offered 240 front and rear frame rails along with sway bar plates
  • I called ZCD and talked with Ryan who said they had been evaluating parts to sell and ordered mine to compare against another supplier.
  • Ryan wouldn't tell me who was making and selling them (I would be happy to hear from anyone who saw or purchased 240 rear rails from another source than Bad Dog Parts prior to 11/28/16)
  • I asked and got no real answer as to why ZCD never contacted me about being a dealer or to tell me they were comparing parts, ask me about pricing if he wanted to buy them from me or gave me an opportunity to come to some business arrangement
  • Having noticed the similarity of the parts in the picture (machine marks left during the process) he said the person taking the picture must have mixed up which parts were which and I asked him to replace the pictures with ones made by whoever was making them for ZCD instead
  • Someone had posted in the ZCD thread asking if they were Bad Dog Parts and Ryan replied that they weren't
  • I had not contacted that person to ask the question not was I aware they had posted as it was put up on the very same day as it was announced (12/16/16)
  • Towards the end of our conversation Ryan asked me if I wanted to supply ZCD with these parts and would I provide him with a cost for the three parts in question
  • Ryan then emailed his supplier's prices and I spent the weekend talking it over with the CFO (my wife)
  • I emailed Ryan to say that we had decided not to supply him with parts and to please remove any pictures from any website that were of my parts
  • Nothing that ZCD did is illegal other than perhaps unauthorized use of BDP images

Only Ryan can say why ZCD decided to order parts from me and then start selling the very ones I sold to him without talking with me or why he thought I would now sell him parts at my cost after designing, doing the fitment work and building a business reputation within the Z community.

 

Most of you have seen the late John Coffey's sticky on making your chassis stronger where he tells folks to install BDP rails and the last set he got from me was for the Beijing to Paris father and son 240Z. I would be very interested in what he would make of all this. His endorsement was critical to our early success.

 

For those of you who haven't had a pair of 240 rear frame rails in your hand or installed them on a Z you won't know that:

 

  • BDP's rear rails have a left and right side to accommodate the slight curve in the body member that crosses the front of the rear wheel well
  • BDP will sell individual frame rails (front 240 and 280) but we only sell the optional rears as a pair
  • Forget what anyone else says the rears are not a replacement part as they were never installed on any 240 or early 260 until I designed them
  • Rears come in pairs because you aren't replacing something you're installing new parts and you want a "balanced" support (not one side!)
  • Mr. Matsuo slapped his forehead when I showed him the part and said "Why didn't we do this!" ZCON 2013
  • BDP rears are made longer than needed to assist in the fitment process as it is possible to position the fronts forward a 1/2 to 1-inch and no Z floor is the same (flat, concave or convex). This way you don't come up short and installation is the fronts first and trim the rears to fit.

So a question:

 

Either there was someone making rears and ZCD got a set from them or instead ZCD simply sent out the BDP parts to a supplier and asked them if they could make copies. So what are the odds that someone else would make the rears longer than needed or did they just copy my design without knowing why they were as long as they are?

 

If ZCD business plan is to duplicate Z parts being made by others I can't stop them nor is it illegal. I just know I wouldn't.

 

It wasn't my intention to write this much but I believe I have given NewZed what he asked for (and perhaps a bit more than he expected).

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NewZed    56

That was perfect, thanks for responding.  It's a shame that ZCD has done this, he seemed to be growing his business (pretty rapidly) in the right way and filling in some weaknesses on the supplier side, with lots of hard to find parts.  People make missteps when they're trying to do new things, just to give him some benefit of doubt.  Hope he can figure out how to make this work, for everybody.  It sure doesn't look good at this point, whether you patented your designs or not.  This isn't the corporate world.

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BJSZED    3

So, it's legal to copy someone's work and then sell the same thing ? It's definitely not moral and will probably cost ZCD some sales. The damage to a company's reputation is not worth the risk. Probably making them from Chinese steel too. Trump will fix that, lol.

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gnosez    4

Look, until I found my parts on ZCD I was getting ready to spend nearly $2,000 with them, so yeah I'm disappointed too. Now I'm sourcing the parts from multiple people.

 

And funny you mentioned patents, as Ryan asked me if I had one on my parts.

 

As to you not seeing the 280 frames on ZCD that's because as of today I believe only BDP sells the full length one piece version. Who knows maybe another company is making them.

 

If you're interested I can email you pictures of the BDP 240 fronts and rears along with the sway bar plates so you can compare them. Oh and speaking of the sway bar plates the one shown on ZCD have two slots for the bolt holes just like the ones we've been making for years. You tell me what are the odds of having slots instead of holes.

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gnosez    4

I'm sure that Ryan over at ZCD might have a different take on this whole thing and perhaps he will elect to tell his side of the story. Given the growth of his enterprise I expect he has many loyal customers pleased with their buying experiences and I wish him and ZCD well in the future.  So don't think that I expect anyone to stop buying parts from him, okay maybe frame rails and sway bar plates, but not the necessary, the hard to find and the reproduction NLA parts that people like me don't or can't supply. The loss of Black Dragon should be a stark reminder that the support structure that keeps our Zs running could fade away at any moment.

 

Thanks to those who spoke up on my behalf. After 13+ years in business and nearly 2000 frame rail sets sold this was a weird few days. My approach has been the same from the start, 100% refund (with return shipping included) no questions asked, assistance on request, a no poaching rule (ask Charlie at Zeddfindings about our relationship), and support for the Z community.

Edited by gnosez

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Bummer, I really hope this can be resolved nicely. I would like to hear their side of the story.

 

For ZCD, this is a chance to be honest with the community here, while we may make up a small percentage of your potential business it is a chance to come clean and try and work things out. It always looks better in the long run to be honest about any early mistakes.

 

I do appreciate that ZCD are trying to bring new parts to the market, but doing so while hurting a member of the community is not the way to do it.

 

 

 

Regarding the basic topic as this was discussed on another forum I used to frequent and became quite familiar with the layman's aspect.

 

Basically you can indeed take someones idea.

 

For some clarification:

First party is the creators

Second party is the ones trying to recreate the product.

 

If you want to be good about it you would talk to them before hand, work out a royalty for the design in exchange for permission/advice/blueprints, or buy from them and resale. This is nice for certain companies as if the market is stagnant or they have low cash flow it is a chance to revitalize the product, maybe get some new features implemented and updates in terms of the product. This generally makes the least amount of money for the second party.  First party benefits here, potentially gaining % without actually having to generate product. MSA does this to my knowledge, they just collect suppliers and resale. Not really taking someones idea, but they are selling it and profiting, with permission as far as I can tell. 

 

There is the fix it tactic. You take an existing part or package, fix inherent problems or tweak some very small variable and offer them for resale with a markup, basically charging for their fix on top of the part which they buy at cost or the customer supplies. First party here is indifferent since they sell their parts at market value. Second party benefits from their fix, although most likely a small markup means small profit. Some aftermarket companies are based around this, they just sell fixes to other companies parts. 

 

Lacking courtesy you can take their design, tweak it ever so slightly and call it new (lots of wheel manufacturers do this, you will find an extra spoke, a slightly different curvature, slightly less or more material, etc just to legally be slightly different). First party gets hurt, similar but fake products can hurt brand image and take away sales. Second party benefits, while brand image suffers, sales can be decent.

 

If you want to be fairly bad about it you could take their design, tweak it ever so slightly and put in a patent for it if the other party has not done so or is pending approval. Given certain sectors have very few patent clerks to oversee the entire field it can and does slip through. Once you have an established patent you can put out a cease and desist order even though someone may have the design and had been producing the part as long as you can claim you arrived at the idea by your own means with little to no connection to the company you can essentially steal their design and force them to pay royalties. First party looses massively here with potential for long legal battles they may be bullied into loosing a certain % of profit. Second company benefits massively, although they may be challenged and have to put up with a long legal battle on merits of original design.

 

Last is the worst way to do it, basically you find something profitable and steal the design, then you go to court and lock it up in legal disputes against the smaller company, if you want to actually win you can round up the designer/employees from the other company who are most likely suffering from the legal battle and offer them payouts for their rights. Once you get enough you claim you have ownership of the product and legally bully them out via legal injunctions. This destroys the first company. The second company wins the most here depending on their legal fees, although in the long run this prevents any collaboration for future products, makes it very difficult to innovate and in the end may be the killing blow. 

Edited by seattlejester

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zboi    0

Honestly I don't know what the fuss is about. It's a piece of steel and its cheaper. A little competition is exactly what the Z car community needs, or are you guys fine with paying an ever increasing premium for parts for your Z? Doesn't take a genius to make a piece of metal the shape of a rectangle...

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NewZed    56

Honestly I don't know what the fuss is about. It's a piece of steel and its cheaper. A little competition is exactly what the Z car community needs, or are you guys fine with paying an ever increasing premium for parts for your Z? Doesn't take a genius to make a piece of metal the shape of a rectangle...

You joined the forum just to be contrary? Not good.

Edited by NewZed

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LanceVance    20

Competition can be a good thing when the customer base is large enough. The Z community is not only small, but notoriously low budget.

 

Look how many great companies went out of business in the years after the Fast & the Furious franchise took off. Cheaper parts, produced by piggybacking off the R&D of legitimate brands hurt the community as a whole.

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grannyknot    11

Honestly I don't know what the fuss is about. It's a piece of steel and its cheaper. A little competition is exactly what the Z car community needs, or are you guys fine with paying an ever increasing premium for parts for your Z? Doesn't take a genius to make a piece of metal the shape of a rectangle...

Hey zboi, your name wouldn't happen to be Ryan would it? :nono:

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