In a discussion with a dealer this evening, his reaction on a certain issue was: don’t excite yourself, just accept it and go on with other things. I was a little amazed, especially as I decided during last few weeks that I did NOT intend to accept certain things anymore and that I was going (to fight) for it. Also because the company / person I was more than tired of, had been bothering me now on and off almost more than 35 years one way or another. Has this business become so strange that you indeed have to accept what others do with your work? Not this time. So listen to a story coming from “the old box”.
One of the most amazing things from the past was the following: I was visiting CES on Chicago I believe and in one of the rooms I noticed something simple. Small aluminium cones. Oh. Special? It seems so, as there was a lot of talk about. While looking at it, asking for the price, I thought about the machine we had at home to turn … aluminium parts. So immediately I thought “why bringing aluminium from USA to The Netherlands”? I kept the idea in my head and worked out a same kind of product, with the same function, but different looks ánd some add-on mounting. Another product …
Back home I discussed with my hobby friends and we came up with different models, made drawings and started to turn aluminium discs out of solid aluminium bars. Lot of work, many evenins and nights at work till 3 in the morning. We sold these parts quite good, packed them for the dealers with a nice label on it, printed the dealer’s name on it etc. But we had to give the products a name. I remember I was in Nijmegen at a dealer and was discussing about a name. The brandname of the product that inspired me was TipToes. Excellent name. Good sound, good meaning. I was walking in the shop and said to Joop: it has to have a same tonal character. T, T, P, P and suddenly out of nothing the name PinPoints fell out of my mouth, and that was the name to be.
So, at home we made drawings, filled in the paperwork to register the brandname and paid the charges to register. Only when the charges were paid the brandname was considered to be registered. :-).
Few days later … a registered letter from a lawyer … Forbidding us to continue to produce and sell copies of the TipToes for which the model and the brandname was registered at the BeNeLux Brand Office etc etc etc. We looked at it, smiled and went on. Our model was different, used another name, had extra facilities to attach it with a screw to speaker or turntable. No worries. But we were curious and we checked at the BeNeLux Brand Office for the name TipToes. No not registered. But we have seen an official paper saying that … Checking again … Ah … yes the registration form was filled in, but the charges were never paid, so there is no registration … All clear.
Many, many years later I met Steve, the guye who invented these cones and I said: You must have sold of lot of these in The Netherlands. He looked to me with big eys and said: The Netherlands was the country I never ever sold 1 TipToe …
In America my friends of Sumiko noticed we were making PinPoints and as they thought they could sell a product like that they asked me to make these under their own brand name. That name was as original as the other 2 names. In English an illegal copy is called “counterfeit”. You pronounce this as “Counterfeet”. And that became Sumiko’s new brandname.
In the meantime we had a mold made so instead of turning out of solid bars we got the PinPoints readily shaped and we only needed to thread and polish them. Many evenings and nights we were polishing and packing these PinPoints and Counterfeet. My brother run the polishing “department”. My sister, my wife packed them. My brother still dreams about it. 🙂
During the same period another distributor, in fact the one who was selling these PinPoints for me in The Netherlands (we have never been serious roadrats) came up with an alternative “PinPoint”. A cone used to grind sharp aluminium products. One big advantage: these cones you could buy in big bags and were costing nothing. When I saw the cones, I said Ahhh this is what we use to grind those and those parts. My collegue distributor looked at me, smiled and decided to continue to sell our aluminium Pinpoints.
While typing this story I have been smiling frequently so I think I can accept it as a good news item! And Good News is what I promised you for every day in 2014!