If the old adage “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is true, then Neoteric should be flattered, since the HoverTrek™ is the most copied hovercraft in the world. But knockoff Gucci handbags are one thing; counterfeit hovercraft that can endanger consumers are an entirely different matter.
This problem should not be underestimated. Since hovercraft are increasingly used in rescue operations, there is great concern in the international hovercraft industry that these imitations seriously threaten the lives of first responders, as well as the lives of those they’re tasked to save. In addition to the public safety hazards of counterfeit products, industrial/economic espionage costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The FBI states that the Cold War is not over; it has simply taken on a different form – Economic War – and this war has been designated as the FBI’s #2 priority, second only to terrorism.
Who is committing this espionage? In a recent report to Congress from the National Counterintelligence Executive, China is named as the leading culprit, followed closely by Russia. And counterfeiting is a growing problem in Russia; a Russian Interior Ministry investigation reports that up to a third of everything sold to consumers in Russia is counterfeit.
This Russian problem has directly affected Neoteric. A company in St. Petersburg, Russia, AirWing.ru (aka Production Company “MSK” / 000 Aeroslava), has committed industrial/economic espionage and intellectual property theft against Neoteric by illegally manufacturing counterfeit copies of the patented Neoteric HoverTrek™. These counterfeits were first marketed by AirWing as the “Niaterek” (In a 2013 court action, AirWing stated they decided to call their hovercraft ‘Niaterek’ because they thought this name would attract more customers who would associate it with “the famous American manufacturer"). The company is now marketing the counterfeit as the “AirwingNeoteric” – the name itself constituting intellectual property theft.
In this video posted yesterday, AirWing is touting their counterfeit hovercraft via Russian television news. We are in the process of reporting the video to appropriate agencies …
And here are illegal copies of the Neoteric HoverTrek™ in production at AirWing's assembly facility in Russia ...
Neoteric and our licensed Russian agent LL Sirius/Christy Hovercraft are working with the General Directorate Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, as well as the FBI, CIA and U.S. Department of Commerce to curtail the illegal actions of AirWing. Since the U.S. and Russia have recently agreed upon an “Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan”, we will now enlist the aid of additional agencies to stop this theft.
In the meantime, we highly encourage all potential hovercraft buyers to thoroughly research companies to make certain that you’re purchasing from the original, experienced, reputable manufacturer and not a counterfeiter. Your life could depend upon it.
Read the World Hovercraft Organization’s Ripoff Report for