Oakley sunglasses

For any of you familiar with the Oakley brand of sunglasses, you know the ones, $100 a pop, the ones that are “in”… all the MLB players have em… anyway… I have noticed that almost exact replicas have been turning up in convienence stores and basically any place that has one of those sunglass racks. They even have the Oakley logo in between the lenses like the real ones do, as well as the “O” on each of the … ear things. Now I am no expert in copyright law, but this has got to be illegal. Why does Oakley allow these to be sold? And does anybody know if there is anything in an authentic Oakley eyewear that makes it any better than these fakes? What makes them worth so much to begin with? Just the name?

I don’t know where to get any “Fakeleys”, but they do seem to proliferate.

But I’ve seen a couple of “O” decals on cars: “Oakley – Thermonuclear Protection”. Struck me as kind of odd. . .

But then again, I’ve seen “ICBM – Thermonuclear Projection” around too.

If there are people who have a fixed place of business, such as a convenience store, who have out "FOakleys=Fake Oakleys, then they’re just asking for it.

We have a large flea market at our door. It attracts about 1000+ vendors, twice a week.

Every year or two, the cops sweep in and arrest vendors who are selling unlicensed merchandise: Oakleys, Rolexs, Major League Baseball, Football, Basketball, Nike, etc. YOu get the idea. They confiscate the merchandise, put the people in jail, and they get fined heavily, and sometimes spend time in jail.

The companies take this very seriously. I’ll relate two tales from my experience. These are first hand. NOT something that I’ve heard. This happened to US/ME.

In the mid-1980’s, an average guy came into my coin store. Asked to look at the used pocket watches/wristwatches that I had in the case. He then asked if I could get him a “fake” Rolex, as he wanted one for his wife. I said I didn’t have. He asked if I knew where to get? I said, innocently, that I knew of a coin dealer in Rochester, PA. who might handle such a thing. I had only heard rumors. He thanked me and left.

Next day, I get a call from the dealer in Rochester, asking if I sent this guy his way. I said yes. He asked if I knew him. I said no. The long and short is

 The guy was a private detective, hired by Rolex on a year-round bases to comb the country and track down people who sell fake Rolex watches.  

Story 2: The store I work for currently, was contacted by Nike a year or so ago, and sued for selling Nike charms and other gold items. We actually don’t sell these things, except in the course of business, we buy used things from the public. If we bought a gold charm that said Nike, and it was still ok, we put it out and sell it.

Not good.

NIke doesn’t license this. These are knockoffs. And WE can get sued for reselling them.

I think we paid $500-1000 to keep out of trouble.
Moral: if you’re doing biz on a NYC streetcorner, selling fake merchandise, they probably won’t get you. If you’re selling knockoffs in a store, you’re stupid. You will probably go to jail or pay a fine.

Nothing personal, SOA, but can we please get these intellectual property law distinctions straight:

Copyright is “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”

Patent is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling an invention."

Trademark (same link as above) is “a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.”

So you meant trademark, not copyright.

Now, IANAL, but if the sunglasses you saw used the actual trademarked Oakley logo then the maker (and presumably the stores selling them) would probably be subject to some kind of legal action. (A real lawyer will be along shortly to provide the details of the applicable penalties.) So I would guess that they resembled, but did not did not actually copy, the exact Oakley look and logo, so as to avoid provoking the wrath of Oakley’s lawyers. Of course, the folks at Oakley might be inclined to take legal action if the copying was so close that an average person might easily confuse the phony ones with the real ones.

Which suggests a question of my own for our lawyer members: are there product counterfeiting laws distinct from trademark laws that might apply in this situation?

I imagine that the official answer to your question about what makes Oakley’s glasses worth the price is here.

As to what makes them worth $100 a pop: people buy into Oakley’s marketing and are willing to pay $100 a pop.

Does anyone know why the founder of this company named it “Oakley”?

Last month while working my part-time cop gig, I was assigned to foot patrol at a Cinco de Mayo festival. A guy was selling “Oakleys”(:rolleyes: :wink: ) 3 pair for $10. They were quite nice, by the way. Really nice shades at any price, actually.

Anyhow, when I mentioned that they were obviously fakes, my Lt. told me “that’s for the corporate lawyers to worry about, not us”.

I think he had bought 6 pairs!:smiley:

Thanks, commasense, for pointing out the difference between those terms.

When I am talking about finding Oakley knockoffs, keep in mind I am not talking about some flea market or NYC streetcorner. I am talking about in gas stations, convienence marts, supermarkets even. Now I live in Massachusetts, so I don’t know how it is anywhere else, but this is quite common.

But after seeing these fakes, I have to wonder if they are as good as the real deal. Are the lenses as high quality? I mean, really thats what costs the most on a pair of sunglasses, the polarized lenses, surely not the plastic that surrounds them. Any dopers work in one of these places that sells these who can say what exactly the difference is between a fake and the real thing, because i am sure if you put them side by side I could not tell… or maybe someone who just really likes Oakley sunglasses who can tell me what makes them so great?

No, they’re much lower quality. One of my friends lost her pair in new york, and instead of spending all the money on a new pair, she just bought a $6 pair off a street corner. When she showed them to me (I have my own Oakleys also) the first thing I noticed was that, while they look identical, the frame is very light weight plastic, as opposed to metal. The lenses are cheapo plastic also, as opposed to glass or good strong scratch resistent plastic. Basically they are not Oakleys, but they are good sunglasses for $6.

In the souqs here, one can buy electronic items - radios and cassette players and stuff - branded:


Some expats buy them just for the cult and kitsch value of owning such an amazingly bad knock off.

istara, I visited Kuwait City a couple of times, and I can’t begin to tell you how many software knockoffs and copies there are to be had.

A computer-assissted drawing and design program that retails in the US for over $850 can fetch a stunning $6 by a street vendor. Copyrights? What’s that?

And lots of knock off electronics and stuff too. . .

I have two pair of Oakleys. One has a plastic frame. I wouldn’t call either’s lenses “strong, scratch-resistent”.

Yeah but at $6 a pop, who cares? I could buy 20 knock-offs for the price of one set of Oakleys that I would lose, sit on, or scratch within a month.

I have seen the knockoffs for sale in a gas station also. I was kind of surprised too, they had the Oakley logo on the bridge piece. They were selling for $10 a pair I believe. I do not know much about the real Oakley sunglasses to compare (I am way too cheap to spend that kind of dough on sunglasses) but in my initial glance they looked real to me.

I used to work for an Oakley dealer around 1997-1998 when fake Oakleys were just becoming popular. They were pretty crappy back then and easy to spot because at the time, Oakley didn’t make a whole lot of different color frames, and the fakes had frames that were just painted some weird-ass color.

About once a month we would get a person who would want to make a warranty claim on a pair of fake oakleys. A lot of times it was just a kid who didn’t know any better, but sometimes it would be an adult who says his wife bought them at our store as a gift (which also helped explain the lack of receipt, box, microbag, etc.). So I was usually the one in charge of trying to prove to them that their sunglasses were indeed crappy knockoffs.

Twice I had guys tell me they were going to go get their wives/moms to tell me that they did indeed buy them at our store, and that they were going to kick my ass for being such a snotty employee, blah, blah, blah. They never showed back up because they knew they were full of it. Not that I was worried about it anyway, since we also had a baseball bat section… :smiley:

One more thing…

The easiest way to tell the fake Oakleys from the real ones used to be by looking on the inside of the frame on either earstem to see if it says “MADE IN U.S.A..” The fake ones that I have seen or owned never said this, but it has been a while.

As to the “what makes them worth so much?” part of the OP, here is what I know about them. My bil sells them in his store. He makes an obscene markup on them. The guy who stocks the store makes an obscene markup on them, etc. Buyers of these products are making many other people quite happy. I see absolutely no reason to buy them, myself.

About ten or fifteen years ago, brand marketing took over the world. Most consumer goods are essentially commodities, meaning there are no substantial differences among the various brands. What’s the difference between Coke and Pepsi, Ford and Chevy, KMart and Wal-Mart? There is none.

So marketers stopped trying to emphasize the supposed superiority of their particular products, and instead began to create brand identities that people would relate to. You no longer buy products, you buy an image. Ads say: the people who buy our product are exciting, interesting, sexy, and wealthy. They leave it to the viewer to draw the fallacious conclusion: if I buy the product, I will become exciting, interesting, sexy, and wealthy.

To name just one of a zillion possible examples, why do you think Mitsubishi ads show those kids listening to cool music with their friends in their cars? You could do that in any car, right?

The genius of this from the marketers’ point of view is that since you’re no longer discussing differences in quality, differences in price need not be tied to differences in the actual cost of producing the product. Give your product an upscale image and you can charge a fortune for it. Anyone (like ftg) who doesn’t fall for this and buys less expensive (but equivalent) unbranded products will be looked down on by those who buy into the brand image. Peer pressure will frequently prevail.

The quintessential example of selling a brand is Starbucks. Coffee, a true commodity, for which we used to pay 50 cents, is now $3.50 a cup. And is Starbuck’s any better than no-name coffee? Of course not. But it has a brand. And thus the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

I’d like to add that within my circle they are known as Fauxkleys.

Well, now I’m almost afraid to admit that I own a pair. I needed a good pair of secure-fitting, light sports shades that I could wear while road cycling. My Oakleys are 100 times better than my previous pair (brand forgotten). They fit neatly over the straps of my helmet, and they’re cut to let in a little air to dry the sweat off of my eyelids. In addition, they’re so lightweight that I forget that I’m wearing them and embarrass myself by hunting for them while they’re on my face. And they came with a clear interchangeable lens so that I can also wear them when it’s a little dark or foggy outside and still keep the wind out of my eyes. Got 'em at an outlet store for a good price.

I love my Oakleys!

Oakleys have polycarbonate lenses which are not scratch resistant at all. It’s an unfortunate reality that a shatter resistant plastic is prone to easy scratching. Glass and scratch resistant plastic are not shatter resistant.

FWIW I used to wear pricey Gargoyle glasses since I could get a prescription lens insert to wear behind them. I finally realized I shoot just as well without them so I switched to Uvex glasse which cost a fraction of the price and have excellent polycarbonate, ANSI Z81 spec lenses which are replaceable for less than $5.