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Unread 12-01-2017, 04:59 PM
Aren_Hill Aren_Hill is offline
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An ethical supplier question

Aren here,

For those that don't know I worked at VEX as an intern and then 3 years as a Mechanical Engineer, largely on VEXpro items.
I did the initial testing for motors.VEX.com and worked with Grant Cox on that educational tool.

I do not work for VEX anymore, and I do not speak for them. I simply have friends still there and wish nothing but the best for them.

A product announcement today has just left me a bit disgruntled and disappointed in some people I had more respect for.

It appears there is a case of this: (The VEX team is on the left)

(Yes, I've already seen the modified versions of this comic)

I am the individual who worked with RC of West Coast Products, and several motor vendors, to perform testing and modification of specs and determining features we wanted for a 700 case series motor.
The motor we ended up with is not a catalog item, it is a custom setup that was designed to match the specifications VEX wanted.
This cycle included several rounds of receiving motor samples and testing them, providing feedback and repeating. This is time VEX invested to create a worthwhile product for the FRC community.
(also burnt motors smell bad)

So the question is, is it okay to go to a supplier and ask for the EXACT same item that they worked with a different company on? (If I remember correctly an agreement was in place with said company for exclusivity of said design, but cannot comment further on that in my current situation not at VEX)

The next question is, if this is what you did, why not just call it what it is? Why re-brand it as your own when it's not?
Disingenuous seems to be a good word here.

If any party here knows more and wants to shed some light for me feel free to PM me.

-Aren
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:10 PM
bobbysq bobbysq is offline
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Is this referring to Redline? If so, I think it's a way of competing by providing a similar product to something available on the market, to get people to buy related products. It is worth noting that AndyMark doesn't appear to be implementing Microsoft's Embrace, extend, and extinguish strategy by making their gearboxes work only with Redline or even by undercutting Vex on the price. While it is a deliberate copy of a 775pro, I would guess that it's probably exactly the same thing, since to my understanding most FRC motors are just rebrands of various industrial and drill motors from China in the first place.
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:13 PM
Aren_Hill Aren_Hill is offline
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Re: An ethical supplier question

They are the same exact motor, but one has a red sleeve instead. I know enough people in the loop to know this.

-Aren
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:20 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/s...4&postcount=44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Lawrence View Post
The RedLine motor and 775Pro are identical in performance. The specs we post are from the manufacturer, and the specs on the VEXPro website are from their dyno testing.

The difference? This one is red and silver.

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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:24 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbysq View Post
While it is a deliberate copy of a 775pro, I would guess that it's probably exactly the same thing, since to my understanding most FRC motors are just rebrands of various industrial and drill motors from China in the first place.
Recommend reading the OP more closely. Aren explained that the Vex offering was NOT a rebrand of a common industrial motor, but instead was a semi?-custom product designed and built specifically for the FRC market.
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:41 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

When you do that sort of development, it's done within the framework of a contract. The contract governs everybody's rights to the development and is negotiated in great detail. These are sophisticated players who each have good counsel to represent their interests. So, when they negotiate, they know all the possibilities that could happen and agree to take the risk that those thing will happen.

So, as long as everybody is abiding by those agreements, then I don't see anything unethical here. This is different than, say, your cell phone contract where the provider has an army of lawyers and the guy signing the contract in the store doesn't really understand what he's agreeing to.

In fact (without any inside knowledge) that appears to be exactly what happened here. When you do that sort of co-development, you will often have an exclusivity period -- "for X years, you won't sell this to anybody else in this market." Seems plausible that the exclusivity period just ran out. And, that leads to another common term -- "even after the exclusivity period, you won't sell the identical product to anybody else in the market; any copy has to be immediately distinguishable." So, you get a motor with a red casing.

(I'm a corporate lawyer, but not to anybody involved there. Don't ask what a lawyer is doing mentoring a robotics team.)
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:50 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by CEF View Post
(I'm a corporate lawyer, but not to anybody involved there. Don't ask what a lawyer is doing mentoring a robotics team.)
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Unread 12-01-2017, 05:52 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

I would like to hear AndyMark detail how they developed the RedLine motor. These questions have not been answered:

https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/s...7&postcount=47

-Mike
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:17 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Can I ask how this is different than a vendor selling a CIM? The co-development was done by a different vendor and the manufacturer. The vendor just has the manufacturer modify it to their needs (laser etching, stickers, etc.).

Is the difference just the proximity in market space of the two suppliers?

Edit: Question was answered. Totally different situations.

Last edited by Clint Ott : 12-01-2017 at 08:04 PM. Reason: Clarified my question
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:25 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drivencrazy View Post
Can I ask how this is any different than a vendor selling a CIM? The co-development was done by a different vendor and the manufacturer. The vendor just has the manufacturer modify it to their needs (laser etching, stickers, etc.).

Is the difference just the proximity in market space of the two suppliers?
The CIM is sourced from another manufacturer and was not specifically developed by one of the suppliers in question.
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:25 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drivencrazy View Post
Can I ask how this is any different than a vendor selling a CIM? The co-development was done by a different vendor and the manufacturer. The vendor just has the manufacturer modify it to their needs (laser etching, stickers, etc.).

Is the difference just the proximity in market space of the two suppliers?
I'm pretty sure the issue is that AndyMark rebranded the 775pro as the Redline. People were expecting an entirely different motor, not a clone of an already existing one.

I'm a little perplexed myself, why go through the bother with the Redline when they could have just carried the 775pro?
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:30 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
The CIM is sourced from another manufacturer and was not specifically developed by one of the suppliers in question.
I was just saying it's generally the same case though right. Supplier A works with motor manufacturers to develop motor. Supplier B goes straight to manufacturer and gets a rebranded version of the same.

Edit: Not the same at all.

Last edited by Clint Ott : 12-01-2017 at 09:01 PM. Reason: Aren cleared things up
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:30 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPang View Post
I'm pretty sure the issue is that AndyMark rebranded the 775pro as the Redline. People were expecting an entirely different motor, not a clone of an already existing one.

I'm a little perplexed myself, why go through the bother with the Redline when they could have just carried the 775pro?
Profits man.
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:35 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
The CIM is sourced from another manufacturer and was not specifically developed by one of the suppliers in question.
CIMs are made by the same manufacturer, you can order one. It's any of these CCL part #s
PM25R-44F-1005
PM25R-45F-1004
PM25R-45F-1003
PMR25R-45F-1003
PMR25R-44F-1005


From the CIM motor datasheet:
Quote:
Typical Application: Massager, Vibrator,...
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Unread 12-01-2017, 06:54 PM
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Re: An ethical supplier question

As soon as something goes public it's fair game. The only thing that protects public technology are patents. If there is no patent infringement, there is no issue.

Reverse engineering is very real and completely legal if there are no patent infringements.
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