Trapshooters Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I want opinions from the folks here about a serious issue that keeps pooping up.

SoftTouch has worked very hard to build a solid reputation for 1.) Effective Reliable recoil reduction, 2.) Great customer service and 3.) Impeccable warranty. We pay for advertising, we support youth programs, and we keep trying to improve our processes and our system to offer the best to our customers.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of dishonest people out there who are telling shooters that they can install a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system cheaper and quicker than we can here at our shop in Portland, OR. So let's dissect this:

- Cheaper - these people are working out of their garage and by themselves - no business license, no insurance, no parts inventory. So I guess it would be cheaper but cheaper doesn't mean better or more effective. Cheaper usually means cheaper.

- Quicker - SoftTouch has a reservation queue so we can be fair to any one who needs our help with recoil. That reservation queue is currently out 12-13 weeks because a LOT of people want our reliable, highly effective device and appreciate that we have a great warranty and great customer service.

We welcome competition; there's plenty of work to go around for sure. We have a very friendly relationship with G-squared and Gracoil folks. These guys and Stock-Lock and Precision fit and Bumpbuster, and many of our other competition pay for their advertising and have built a fan following based on their own reputation. They can compare their system to SoftTouch all day long just like we do with their systems - No problem.

However, I do have a problem when someone tells our potential customers that they are installing a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system and then sends them to us for parts or warranty work. Are you kidding me! We can not warranty someone else's system just because they told the customer is was a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system. Then customers get upset because we have to charge them to fix their brand new system or to fix bad pitch or for replacement parts. This hurts our reputation in too many ways.

Get your own brand name - Pay for your own advertising - Get a business license and insurance - Get legit and stop riding the SoftTouch reputation!

What do you all think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,895 Posts
I want opinions from the folks here about a serious issue that keeps pooping up.

SoftTouch has worked very hard to build a solid reputation for 1.) Effective Reliable recoil reduction, 2.) Great customer service and 3.) Impeccable warranty. We pay for advertising, we support youth programs, and we keep trying to improve our processes and our system to offer the best to our customers.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of dishonest people out there who are telling shooters that they can install a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system cheaper and quicker than we can here at our shop in Portland, OR. So let's dissect this:

- Cheaper - these people are working out of their garage and by themselves - no business license, no insurance, no parts inventory. So I guess it would be cheaper but cheaper doesn't mean better or more effective. Cheaper usually means cheaper.

- Quicker - SoftTouch has a reservation queue so we can be fair to any one who need our help with recoil. That reservation queue is currently out 12-13 weeks because a LOT of people want our reliable, highly effective device and appreciate that we have a great warranty and great customer service.

We welcome competition; there's plenty of work to go around for sure. We have a very friendly relationship with G-squared and Gracoil folks. These guys and Stock-Lock and Precision fit and Bumpbuster, and many of our other competition pay for their advertising and have built a fan following based on their own reputation. They can compare their system to SoftTouch all day long just like we do with their systems - No problem.

However, I do have a problem when someone tells our potential customers that they are installing a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system and then sends them to us for parts or warranty work. Are you kidding me! We can not warranty someone else's system just because they told the customer is was a SoftTouch or "SoftTouch-like" system. Then customer's get upset because we have to charge them to fix their brand new system or to fix bad pitch or for replacement parts. This hurts our reputation in too many ways.

Get your own brand name - Pay for your own advertising - Get a business license and insurance - Get legit and stop riding the SoftTouch reputation!

What do you all think?
I totally agree, I have shot your system for many years and I think it is one of the best out there.
Rennerize Gun Works
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
It is a reality that there will always be people that are willing to try to make a cheaper copy of the original and of course you will always be told it is just as good and a better price ect.
I have worked full time plus in the music industry for 35 years where our shop does custom guitar work and instrument repair and resotoration. We are very particular about parts that we use/quality ect. and every week we get someone calling us with options on cheaper--better just as good as what you are using now ect. and almost every time when sent a sample there is a major spec compromise.
Just like in my industry where there is only one Schaller--one Grover--one Parsons White ect. there is only one Soft Touch.
Unless a company has really tripped over it with major issues the original is the way to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,591 Posts
Beth, I have shoulder and neck issues, and your system is one of the reasons I'm still shooting.

UPS cracked my stock when I sent it to you, (I think the plane ran over it) and you did a great job documenting the shipping packaging and damage, and working with me to get UPS to cover the damage. You did way more than I ever expected, and did a great job of pinning and epoxy.

Thank you again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,277 Posts
Beth, I don't have a SoftTouch, but I emailed you a couple of months ago about installing some recoil pads. Moe used to do them for me, and later you folks made up some short 1100 and 1187 stocks for my kids. Reworking some rifles and will be bringing the stocks in when they're ready for pads.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soft Touch Stocks

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Agree!

Why couldn't you send these companies/people a cease-and-desist letter for using your, what I would assume, trademarked product name or similar name, that's likely to confuse a buyer. Both of these are valid, protected reasons for such a letter. And by sending these letters, you would reserve your right to file suit for damages - including infringement and loss of revenue - some time in the future, should you choose to go that route. If you don't send a letter, and you are aware of who these people are and what they're doing, you could waive your rights to file suit in the future, for any reason. You can't claim damages or infringement if you were aware of the offending party and actions and chose to do nothing until after you sustained a loss or felt like taking them to court...

And the threat of suit may be enough to slow down or stop the offending people and their actions and stop the financial and negative brand impact to your company. I'm not one to recommend litigation often, but sometimes a threat of suit, or filing such, is a necessary evil...

Good luck!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,405 Posts
The patent on the Soft Touch system (US4663877 A for anyone interested) expired over a decade ago, so anyone is free to make, market, and sell an EXACT clone of the system with impunity.

Unless someone is advertising their clone as a genuine Soft Touch system (which would be fraud), which it doesn't sound like it's the case here, there is likely very little legally that can be done.

Someone marketing a clone can even advertise their system as "comparable to Soft Touch" or "better than Soft Touch" and that is perfectly legal as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
I would not worry so much about it. Most people in this sport know the reputation of Soft Touch and the reliability and service you guys provide. I have told many people in the past, if you want the best recoil device in the industry, to absolutely get your system. I am currently on the wait list and a shooter this weekend questioned why I would wait so long to get one installed. I just looked at him and smiled and replied, ,,,,,because it is worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
The patent on the Soft Touch system (US4663877 A for anyone interested) expired over a decade ago, so anyone is free to make, market, and sell an EXACT clone of the system with impunity.

Unless someone is advertising their clone as a genuine Soft Touch system (which would be fraud), which it doesn't sound like it's the case here, there is likely very little legally that can be done.

Someone marketing a clone can even advertise their system as "comparable to Soft Touch" or "better than Soft Touch" and that is perfectly legal as well.
It's awesome that you're successful despite patent expiration. So many business leaders fear the loss of patent protection - some should.

I sincerely believe, if you make a superior quality product, with quality parts, back with great service, you can be highly successful against the cheaper, more inferior quality quality parts. Especially those companies who typically have sub-standard manufacturing and assembly processes to keep costs down. And because these low-cost competitors charge less, they typically can't afford to back their products with great service and support. This isn't universal; but it true more times than not...

All that said, there are "tricks to the trade" that companies can take to extend patent protection. Some companies choose to make subtle changes in their design, and engineering to apply for a patent extension. There are patent attorneys and engineers that specialize in this field, although this practice is typically found in pharmaceuticals more so than manufacturing; but there are plenty of examples where the approach has been successful.

All the best...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Oh yes we have sent many "cease and desist" letters over the years and even filed lawsuits. Their will be a letter sent out for the 3rd time to one guy down South of us! The problem is, we can't afford a full blown court case, which I think these guys know - and you can't get blood from a turnip (working from their garages!) We don't care if they clone us - guess that is a form of flattery - we just care that they are telling people that their inferior system is a SoftTouch and that they can call us for parts and repairs.

Keeping a patent in place is sooo very costly and it gets stepped on all the time and you have to defend it making it even more costly. We are very busy here and not lacking for work. I am just sick of having to cleanup our rep because of the inferior clones and I don't like making people mad when they call me and ask for parts for a non-SoftTouch; some of these guys get really pissy with me when I start asking questions, like they have to protect the cloners at all cost.

We are really about 100% customer satisfaction and I hate having an argument with someone because I am asking questions to better serve and provide parts for the "customer". It makes me feel bad. And then they leave the conversation mad and tell their friends and that hurts our reputation.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,301 Posts
Beth I run into the same issues in the instrument repair business. I will use a example with a strap locking system where basically it secures your strap to the instrument and you have a button on the attachment that allows you to remove the strap when you are done playing. The Schaller company in Germany makes the original and they work very well and quality of the metal is excellent.
Well there have been a few copies that look the same but are made in Korea and China and are showing up at half the cost and have a very high failure rate ect. and even though they look the same as the Schallers the parts are in no way compatible.
So when I choose to sell the originals and stock parts for them I get folks that at times get upset because the Schaller parts will not work, I try to explain that is the concession you make for cheaper cost ect.
 

·
Lifes too short not to shoot a K-80...
Joined
·
560 Posts
Pooping up? LOl.. You all don't have to worry. Your product and service is just wonderful. You stand behind your product 100%. Your system reduces recoil which keeps me shooting . Your reputation is well known by many. Keep up the great work.
Bernie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,277 Posts
I asked a friend why he was not seeking legal action against what is a blatant rip off of his invention and product. He replied that it is very difficult to win these cases because all that needs to be done is show that the design has been altered. Courts and juries can be fickle and even naive. Legal bills can be staggering. His method to counter this problem is to have solid gold customer service. Some copycatters also have good customer service, but all too often those who resort to exploiting someone else's work will also exploit their customers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soft Touch Stocks

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
I bought my gun used with a Soft Touch, it worked fine for a while but started sticking compressed near the end of the Utah state shoot this year. I needed it repaired before the MT state shoot. I sent it to Soft Touch over night and Beth and the crew got it repaired and sent back just in time. I can't say enough good about them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
483 Posts
tj303, You would almost need to have handled or at least seen a Soft Touch prior to buying one used to be sure of what you are getting. I have two guns with a Soft Touch & one with a Clyde Slyde. At a quick glance they look very similar but looking closer, there are differences in design & also the hardware used. I have also seen Carey Combs & work by Al Hutchinson{sp?} & Stocker John that look similar but are not the same. John
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top