The Honeymoon is over.

The Honeymoon is over.

Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

July 22nd, 2003, 2:52 am #1

In the early eighties, Bob Gurnsey passed up a chance to patent all paintball- the very idea of the game- since it would stifle the nascent sport and keep it from growing.

In the late eighties, Tippmann declines to patent the CO2 tank "pin valve", since doing so would prevent it's widespread use and adoption, and Tippmann knew it was far safer and more useful than any of the other cobbled options players were using.

A year or two later, Glenn Palmer passes up the chance to patent pneumatic automation- the method by which an Autococker, Typhoon and Blazer work. He wasn't interested in keeping a stranglehold on the idea, and wanted to see it used and improved.

In the very early nineties, FASTech declines to fight PMI over the stacked-valve blowback semiauto patent. This opens the door to low-cost semiautos, which by themselves are singularly responsible for a major percentage of paintball's growth through the ninties.

About that same time, Tom Kaye refuses to patent the regulated nitrogen system, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2. Without the HPA systems, our current high-speed, high-ROF markers and ultra-stable regulators simply wouldn't have worked.

And now, now we have Smart Parts. Smart Parts wants to patent the very idea of using electricity in any manner to fire a paintball.

What does this mean? Cash. Raw greed. Smart Parts is looking to literally corner the market. If the patent goes through as declared, every manufacturer that makes an electric or electronic paintball gun will have to pay SP royalties on each marker produced. Or pay a licensing fee, or whatever SP decides they want to do.

A thread over on Automags.Org hints that SP might ask a cool million bucks for the licensing fee, and $75 per unit on top of that.

Know what that means? That means the fees come from YOU, the player. Increased costs of manufacturing are always passed on to the consumer. If it costs more to make it, you'll pay more for it in the store.

Let's take an example: Let's say ICD estimates they'll sell 20,000 Bushmasters in the next couple of years. We know a Bushy costs about $400 now, give or take. That million-dollar fee adds $50 per unit right off the top, and another $75 means that, with ZERO other changes, the cost of a Bushmaster just went up $125.

How about $1,300 Angel Speeds? Or $1,800 IR3s. $500 E-Spyders. $1,900 Intimidators. $600 Black Draguns.

That $1,600 Lasoya Timmy? They're not gonna sell 20,000 of 'em. They might sell 400. That's $2,500 in licensing fees before you even buy the marker. Think that a $4,175 marker will be good for the sport?

But, of course, SP will have $450 Impulses and $750 Shockers.

This, boys and girls, is what's known as a Monopoly. Ask Bill Gates and the US Justice Department- and Apple Computers- if a Monopoly is a good thing.

Our carefree honeymoon is over. The days of altruistic industry greats willing to make a small sacrifice for the good of the sport, are over. Randy Kamiya used to write about small inter-industry squabbles, and his analogy was, rather than try and stab somebody in the back for a bigger share of the pie, let's work to make a bigger pie.

This is no longer good enough for Smart Parts. They want a bigger pie, and more of it. Electros are the fastest-growing segment of the sport right now, mainly thanks to the recent advent of the low-cost "sear tripper" electro-blowbacks. For the first time, a player can buy a pretty decent electro for a pretty decent price, and actually have a good marker.

Is SP looking at that, seeing the dropoff in Shocker sales- their self-described "flagship" marker- and sales of their Impulse- which is commonly considered a midrange electro which needs several upgrades, such and an LPR, to be tournament ready- being undercut by the Bushmaster, the Defiant, even the Intimidator, as well as the fleets of entry-level sear-trippers?

Are they looking at that, and deciding they want a bigger slice of the pie? What other explanation can there be?

Will Smart Parts be magnanimous and only charge a very small token royalty? History says otherwise- remember, after all, that SP is the company that sold two versions of the Shocker, one the standard semiauto, the other a full-auto. All the circuit boards were exactly the same, the full-auto ones just had a small microswitch soldered to preexisting contacts. For that switch, the player paid a hundred dollars or more extra.

This is the same company that drilled a hole in a plastic Armson elbow ($3 retail) stuck a length of pneumatics hose in it and called it an "Air Assist", which retailed at $35.

This is the company that deliberately used a unique barrel thread on the Shocker in order to sell more barrels. When they brough the Impulse out, it had yet another barrel thread, incompatible with anything else.

In order to sell more barrels.

I, for one, would not count on Smart Parts' charity in this matter.

I will admit I'm a fan of some of SP's products. I've always been a fan of the Max Flow HPA system. It's maintenence-intensive, but it's a very good reg. The so-called "Smart Valve" is finally a reliable, rebuildable shutoff valve for CO2 tanks, which have always been troublesome.

I've also enjoyed owning and working on Shockers and Impulses, but I'll also be the first to admit there's some serious shortcomings with both designs.

But if this goes through, I will carefully hoard my current stable of electros, and I will run full tilt back to 'Cockers. I will not in any way, shape or form, if this suit passes, buy another SP product. No Freaks, no Maxes, no All-Americans. No Shockers, no Impulses, no RASE clothes. No grips, no valves, no drops, no nothing.

And I will recommend to all who will listen to do the same. The raw, naked greed boiling off SP is a spreading stain on the sport, and I'm afraid we're all going to get a little dirty.

Doc.
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Riddler
Riddler

July 22nd, 2003, 3:04 am #2

Some very good points; I'm with you 100%.

Let's just hope that SP doesn't win their lawsuit against ICD. That's quite possibly our last line of defense.
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Ronin22K9
Ronin22K9

July 22nd, 2003, 3:13 am #3

there's always the CYP Imported Ripoff markers to look forward to
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Joined: April 15th, 2003, 12:28 pm

July 22nd, 2003, 3:20 am #4

In the early eighties, Bob Gurnsey passed up a chance to patent all paintball- the very idea of the game- since it would stifle the nascent sport and keep it from growing.

In the late eighties, Tippmann declines to patent the CO2 tank "pin valve", since doing so would prevent it's widespread use and adoption, and Tippmann knew it was far safer and more useful than any of the other cobbled options players were using.

A year or two later, Glenn Palmer passes up the chance to patent pneumatic automation- the method by which an Autococker, Typhoon and Blazer work. He wasn't interested in keeping a stranglehold on the idea, and wanted to see it used and improved.

In the very early nineties, FASTech declines to fight PMI over the stacked-valve blowback semiauto patent. This opens the door to low-cost semiautos, which by themselves are singularly responsible for a major percentage of paintball's growth through the ninties.

About that same time, Tom Kaye refuses to patent the regulated nitrogen system, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2. Without the HPA systems, our current high-speed, high-ROF markers and ultra-stable regulators simply wouldn't have worked.

And now, now we have Smart Parts. Smart Parts wants to patent the very idea of using electricity in any manner to fire a paintball.

What does this mean? Cash. Raw greed. Smart Parts is looking to literally corner the market. If the patent goes through as declared, every manufacturer that makes an electric or electronic paintball gun will have to pay SP royalties on each marker produced. Or pay a licensing fee, or whatever SP decides they want to do.

A thread over on Automags.Org hints that SP might ask a cool million bucks for the licensing fee, and $75 per unit on top of that.

Know what that means? That means the fees come from YOU, the player. Increased costs of manufacturing are always passed on to the consumer. If it costs more to make it, you'll pay more for it in the store.

Let's take an example: Let's say ICD estimates they'll sell 20,000 Bushmasters in the next couple of years. We know a Bushy costs about $400 now, give or take. That million-dollar fee adds $50 per unit right off the top, and another $75 means that, with ZERO other changes, the cost of a Bushmaster just went up $125.

How about $1,300 Angel Speeds? Or $1,800 IR3s. $500 E-Spyders. $1,900 Intimidators. $600 Black Draguns.

That $1,600 Lasoya Timmy? They're not gonna sell 20,000 of 'em. They might sell 400. That's $2,500 in licensing fees before you even buy the marker. Think that a $4,175 marker will be good for the sport?

But, of course, SP will have $450 Impulses and $750 Shockers.

This, boys and girls, is what's known as a Monopoly. Ask Bill Gates and the US Justice Department- and Apple Computers- if a Monopoly is a good thing.

Our carefree honeymoon is over. The days of altruistic industry greats willing to make a small sacrifice for the good of the sport, are over. Randy Kamiya used to write about small inter-industry squabbles, and his analogy was, rather than try and stab somebody in the back for a bigger share of the pie, let's work to make a bigger pie.

This is no longer good enough for Smart Parts. They want a bigger pie, and more of it. Electros are the fastest-growing segment of the sport right now, mainly thanks to the recent advent of the low-cost "sear tripper" electro-blowbacks. For the first time, a player can buy a pretty decent electro for a pretty decent price, and actually have a good marker.

Is SP looking at that, seeing the dropoff in Shocker sales- their self-described "flagship" marker- and sales of their Impulse- which is commonly considered a midrange electro which needs several upgrades, such and an LPR, to be tournament ready- being undercut by the Bushmaster, the Defiant, even the Intimidator, as well as the fleets of entry-level sear-trippers?

Are they looking at that, and deciding they want a bigger slice of the pie? What other explanation can there be?

Will Smart Parts be magnanimous and only charge a very small token royalty? History says otherwise- remember, after all, that SP is the company that sold two versions of the Shocker, one the standard semiauto, the other a full-auto. All the circuit boards were exactly the same, the full-auto ones just had a small microswitch soldered to preexisting contacts. For that switch, the player paid a hundred dollars or more extra.

This is the same company that drilled a hole in a plastic Armson elbow ($3 retail) stuck a length of pneumatics hose in it and called it an "Air Assist", which retailed at $35.

This is the company that deliberately used a unique barrel thread on the Shocker in order to sell more barrels. When they brough the Impulse out, it had yet another barrel thread, incompatible with anything else.

In order to sell more barrels.

I, for one, would not count on Smart Parts' charity in this matter.

I will admit I'm a fan of some of SP's products. I've always been a fan of the Max Flow HPA system. It's maintenence-intensive, but it's a very good reg. The so-called "Smart Valve" is finally a reliable, rebuildable shutoff valve for CO2 tanks, which have always been troublesome.

I've also enjoyed owning and working on Shockers and Impulses, but I'll also be the first to admit there's some serious shortcomings with both designs.

But if this goes through, I will carefully hoard my current stable of electros, and I will run full tilt back to 'Cockers. I will not in any way, shape or form, if this suit passes, buy another SP product. No Freaks, no Maxes, no All-Americans. No Shockers, no Impulses, no RASE clothes. No grips, no valves, no drops, no nothing.

And I will recommend to all who will listen to do the same. The raw, naked greed boiling off SP is a spreading stain on the sport, and I'm afraid we're all going to get a little dirty.

Doc.
Man, 4 grand for a gun. At that price, it better shoot the paintballs through time (Wormhole Mod).

Seriously, I spoke with a friend of mine the other day about this. He is in the process of getting a major chain of stores to carry low end imps in their stores. At the factory, he asked about what I had forwarded to this board (the original post from Punisher about SP and CCI) and was told that tehy were going after ICD for copying the Imp. That was word from the head honcho.

Now all of this. If Tom from AGD can confirm it, and all you guys confirm it, well, my support has wavered away. I will keep my Mako Storm frame (its got a battery and switch), and I will get to work on my own custom electro "cocker" Ive been playing out in my head. Let Smart Parts come to my door with a lawsuit (not too hard, they are just about 45 min away from Pittsburgh). Ill look any lawer in the face and tell them, Suck-My-Cocker!

Azzy

Webmaster,
http://www.riversiderenegades.com
__
Designer / maker of Jeep gauges and assorted automotive bits and baubles.
TeamADW.com
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Conqueror
Conqueror

July 22nd, 2003, 3:24 am #5

there's always the CYP Imported Ripoff markers to look forward to
I personally have been quietly boycotting Smart Parts for over two years now due to the disgusting practices and greedy actions that they espouse. The company reeks of corruption and they have offered virtually no products of value to the sport of paintball. They make a habit of selling low-grade equipment for premium prices by fooling the consumer into the belief that they offer something superior - not unlike Adam Gardner's former business practices, which got him in trouble once before.

I urge an immediate and total ban of all Smart Parts products, including those made by their subsidiary companies. Let them know we're tired of their bullshit, and that we won't put up with it any more.

CQ
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Rumor Monger
Rumor Monger

July 22nd, 2003, 3:25 am #6

In the early eighties, Bob Gurnsey passed up a chance to patent all paintball- the very idea of the game- since it would stifle the nascent sport and keep it from growing.

In the late eighties, Tippmann declines to patent the CO2 tank "pin valve", since doing so would prevent it's widespread use and adoption, and Tippmann knew it was far safer and more useful than any of the other cobbled options players were using.

A year or two later, Glenn Palmer passes up the chance to patent pneumatic automation- the method by which an Autococker, Typhoon and Blazer work. He wasn't interested in keeping a stranglehold on the idea, and wanted to see it used and improved.

In the very early nineties, FASTech declines to fight PMI over the stacked-valve blowback semiauto patent. This opens the door to low-cost semiautos, which by themselves are singularly responsible for a major percentage of paintball's growth through the ninties.

About that same time, Tom Kaye refuses to patent the regulated nitrogen system, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2. Without the HPA systems, our current high-speed, high-ROF markers and ultra-stable regulators simply wouldn't have worked.

And now, now we have Smart Parts. Smart Parts wants to patent the very idea of using electricity in any manner to fire a paintball.

What does this mean? Cash. Raw greed. Smart Parts is looking to literally corner the market. If the patent goes through as declared, every manufacturer that makes an electric or electronic paintball gun will have to pay SP royalties on each marker produced. Or pay a licensing fee, or whatever SP decides they want to do.

A thread over on Automags.Org hints that SP might ask a cool million bucks for the licensing fee, and $75 per unit on top of that.

Know what that means? That means the fees come from YOU, the player. Increased costs of manufacturing are always passed on to the consumer. If it costs more to make it, you'll pay more for it in the store.

Let's take an example: Let's say ICD estimates they'll sell 20,000 Bushmasters in the next couple of years. We know a Bushy costs about $400 now, give or take. That million-dollar fee adds $50 per unit right off the top, and another $75 means that, with ZERO other changes, the cost of a Bushmaster just went up $125.

How about $1,300 Angel Speeds? Or $1,800 IR3s. $500 E-Spyders. $1,900 Intimidators. $600 Black Draguns.

That $1,600 Lasoya Timmy? They're not gonna sell 20,000 of 'em. They might sell 400. That's $2,500 in licensing fees before you even buy the marker. Think that a $4,175 marker will be good for the sport?

But, of course, SP will have $450 Impulses and $750 Shockers.

This, boys and girls, is what's known as a Monopoly. Ask Bill Gates and the US Justice Department- and Apple Computers- if a Monopoly is a good thing.

Our carefree honeymoon is over. The days of altruistic industry greats willing to make a small sacrifice for the good of the sport, are over. Randy Kamiya used to write about small inter-industry squabbles, and his analogy was, rather than try and stab somebody in the back for a bigger share of the pie, let's work to make a bigger pie.

This is no longer good enough for Smart Parts. They want a bigger pie, and more of it. Electros are the fastest-growing segment of the sport right now, mainly thanks to the recent advent of the low-cost "sear tripper" electro-blowbacks. For the first time, a player can buy a pretty decent electro for a pretty decent price, and actually have a good marker.

Is SP looking at that, seeing the dropoff in Shocker sales- their self-described "flagship" marker- and sales of their Impulse- which is commonly considered a midrange electro which needs several upgrades, such and an LPR, to be tournament ready- being undercut by the Bushmaster, the Defiant, even the Intimidator, as well as the fleets of entry-level sear-trippers?

Are they looking at that, and deciding they want a bigger slice of the pie? What other explanation can there be?

Will Smart Parts be magnanimous and only charge a very small token royalty? History says otherwise- remember, after all, that SP is the company that sold two versions of the Shocker, one the standard semiauto, the other a full-auto. All the circuit boards were exactly the same, the full-auto ones just had a small microswitch soldered to preexisting contacts. For that switch, the player paid a hundred dollars or more extra.

This is the same company that drilled a hole in a plastic Armson elbow ($3 retail) stuck a length of pneumatics hose in it and called it an "Air Assist", which retailed at $35.

This is the company that deliberately used a unique barrel thread on the Shocker in order to sell more barrels. When they brough the Impulse out, it had yet another barrel thread, incompatible with anything else.

In order to sell more barrels.

I, for one, would not count on Smart Parts' charity in this matter.

I will admit I'm a fan of some of SP's products. I've always been a fan of the Max Flow HPA system. It's maintenence-intensive, but it's a very good reg. The so-called "Smart Valve" is finally a reliable, rebuildable shutoff valve for CO2 tanks, which have always been troublesome.

I've also enjoyed owning and working on Shockers and Impulses, but I'll also be the first to admit there's some serious shortcomings with both designs.

But if this goes through, I will carefully hoard my current stable of electros, and I will run full tilt back to 'Cockers. I will not in any way, shape or form, if this suit passes, buy another SP product. No Freaks, no Maxes, no All-Americans. No Shockers, no Impulses, no RASE clothes. No grips, no valves, no drops, no nothing.

And I will recommend to all who will listen to do the same. The raw, naked greed boiling off SP is a spreading stain on the sport, and I'm afraid we're all going to get a little dirty.

Doc.
It is NPS that you have to wory about. Rumor is that Gino is thinking of just settling with Smart Parts on the gun issue paying the fee and going on.

You know why SP went after ICD first ? Small company, no big $$ behind them to keep paying the lawyer fees and hoping they would cave and make way for others to follow suit and just pay up to SP.

I personally find it hard that this patten ( or modification ) of it would stand up if fought in court. SP has lost all but 1 that was brought against ICD and that one as I recall is still pending.

Someone should get some indrustry people to post up on whats really going on. Maybe someone can shed some light on the realities of all this garbage.

-RM
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paul
paul

July 22nd, 2003, 4:19 am #7

I personally have been quietly boycotting Smart Parts for over two years now due to the disgusting practices and greedy actions that they espouse. The company reeks of corruption and they have offered virtually no products of value to the sport of paintball. They make a habit of selling low-grade equipment for premium prices by fooling the consumer into the belief that they offer something superior - not unlike Adam Gardner's former business practices, which got him in trouble once before.

I urge an immediate and total ban of all Smart Parts products, including those made by their subsidiary companies. Let them know we're tired of their bullshit, and that we won't put up with it any more.

CQ
well, now, atleast i have a reason to not buy any. i emailed every smart parts email address i could find today and told them that i wanted them to stop sending me catalogs because i was sure as hell that i would NEVER buy a smart parts product ever as of now. i then noted that i may have sent the email to the wrong place, but they should be ashamed for even being remotely connected to such a piece of trash company
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tom
tom

July 22nd, 2003, 4:25 am #8

In the early eighties, Bob Gurnsey passed up a chance to patent all paintball- the very idea of the game- since it would stifle the nascent sport and keep it from growing.

In the late eighties, Tippmann declines to patent the CO2 tank "pin valve", since doing so would prevent it's widespread use and adoption, and Tippmann knew it was far safer and more useful than any of the other cobbled options players were using.

A year or two later, Glenn Palmer passes up the chance to patent pneumatic automation- the method by which an Autococker, Typhoon and Blazer work. He wasn't interested in keeping a stranglehold on the idea, and wanted to see it used and improved.

In the very early nineties, FASTech declines to fight PMI over the stacked-valve blowback semiauto patent. This opens the door to low-cost semiautos, which by themselves are singularly responsible for a major percentage of paintball's growth through the ninties.

About that same time, Tom Kaye refuses to patent the regulated nitrogen system, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2. Without the HPA systems, our current high-speed, high-ROF markers and ultra-stable regulators simply wouldn't have worked.

And now, now we have Smart Parts. Smart Parts wants to patent the very idea of using electricity in any manner to fire a paintball.

What does this mean? Cash. Raw greed. Smart Parts is looking to literally corner the market. If the patent goes through as declared, every manufacturer that makes an electric or electronic paintball gun will have to pay SP royalties on each marker produced. Or pay a licensing fee, or whatever SP decides they want to do.

A thread over on Automags.Org hints that SP might ask a cool million bucks for the licensing fee, and $75 per unit on top of that.

Know what that means? That means the fees come from YOU, the player. Increased costs of manufacturing are always passed on to the consumer. If it costs more to make it, you'll pay more for it in the store.

Let's take an example: Let's say ICD estimates they'll sell 20,000 Bushmasters in the next couple of years. We know a Bushy costs about $400 now, give or take. That million-dollar fee adds $50 per unit right off the top, and another $75 means that, with ZERO other changes, the cost of a Bushmaster just went up $125.

How about $1,300 Angel Speeds? Or $1,800 IR3s. $500 E-Spyders. $1,900 Intimidators. $600 Black Draguns.

That $1,600 Lasoya Timmy? They're not gonna sell 20,000 of 'em. They might sell 400. That's $2,500 in licensing fees before you even buy the marker. Think that a $4,175 marker will be good for the sport?

But, of course, SP will have $450 Impulses and $750 Shockers.

This, boys and girls, is what's known as a Monopoly. Ask Bill Gates and the US Justice Department- and Apple Computers- if a Monopoly is a good thing.

Our carefree honeymoon is over. The days of altruistic industry greats willing to make a small sacrifice for the good of the sport, are over. Randy Kamiya used to write about small inter-industry squabbles, and his analogy was, rather than try and stab somebody in the back for a bigger share of the pie, let's work to make a bigger pie.

This is no longer good enough for Smart Parts. They want a bigger pie, and more of it. Electros are the fastest-growing segment of the sport right now, mainly thanks to the recent advent of the low-cost "sear tripper" electro-blowbacks. For the first time, a player can buy a pretty decent electro for a pretty decent price, and actually have a good marker.

Is SP looking at that, seeing the dropoff in Shocker sales- their self-described "flagship" marker- and sales of their Impulse- which is commonly considered a midrange electro which needs several upgrades, such and an LPR, to be tournament ready- being undercut by the Bushmaster, the Defiant, even the Intimidator, as well as the fleets of entry-level sear-trippers?

Are they looking at that, and deciding they want a bigger slice of the pie? What other explanation can there be?

Will Smart Parts be magnanimous and only charge a very small token royalty? History says otherwise- remember, after all, that SP is the company that sold two versions of the Shocker, one the standard semiauto, the other a full-auto. All the circuit boards were exactly the same, the full-auto ones just had a small microswitch soldered to preexisting contacts. For that switch, the player paid a hundred dollars or more extra.

This is the same company that drilled a hole in a plastic Armson elbow ($3 retail) stuck a length of pneumatics hose in it and called it an "Air Assist", which retailed at $35.

This is the company that deliberately used a unique barrel thread on the Shocker in order to sell more barrels. When they brough the Impulse out, it had yet another barrel thread, incompatible with anything else.

In order to sell more barrels.

I, for one, would not count on Smart Parts' charity in this matter.

I will admit I'm a fan of some of SP's products. I've always been a fan of the Max Flow HPA system. It's maintenence-intensive, but it's a very good reg. The so-called "Smart Valve" is finally a reliable, rebuildable shutoff valve for CO2 tanks, which have always been troublesome.

I've also enjoyed owning and working on Shockers and Impulses, but I'll also be the first to admit there's some serious shortcomings with both designs.

But if this goes through, I will carefully hoard my current stable of electros, and I will run full tilt back to 'Cockers. I will not in any way, shape or form, if this suit passes, buy another SP product. No Freaks, no Maxes, no All-Americans. No Shockers, no Impulses, no RASE clothes. No grips, no valves, no drops, no nothing.

And I will recommend to all who will listen to do the same. The raw, naked greed boiling off SP is a spreading stain on the sport, and I'm afraid we're all going to get a little dirty.

Doc.
I am selling my freak kit and moving on. From this day forward I shall not reccomend a smart parts product and when someone tries to sell me one they will be spat on. I have no tolerence for a company like this. They are putting them selves before the sport. That alone changed my mind about smart parts. If the suit goes through or not I am still done. They are intentionally hindering production and developement of technology to better themselves. It would be like henry ford patenting the assembly line. Wright brothers patenting flight. They move on this the sport will grind to a stop. No new technology. Higher prices. This is bullshit and I am honestly pissed about it. SP has done one thing good for the sport. Marketed the hell of some products the stole. This mainsteamed the idea of the electro, the barrel kit and low pressure. I liked some of their products at one point but no longer will i buy. I don't care if i have to spend an extra 150 to buy 8 barrels. If it keeps me from the freak i am happy. SP has pulled the wool over our eyes for the last time. Now my personal mission to keep anyone and everyone from buying a SP product. Greed and corruption ended many great empires. Someone just called Smart Parts' number.
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Desmond Jones
Desmond Jones

July 22nd, 2003, 4:35 am #9

In the early eighties, Bob Gurnsey passed up a chance to patent all paintball- the very idea of the game- since it would stifle the nascent sport and keep it from growing.

In the late eighties, Tippmann declines to patent the CO2 tank "pin valve", since doing so would prevent it's widespread use and adoption, and Tippmann knew it was far safer and more useful than any of the other cobbled options players were using.

A year or two later, Glenn Palmer passes up the chance to patent pneumatic automation- the method by which an Autococker, Typhoon and Blazer work. He wasn't interested in keeping a stranglehold on the idea, and wanted to see it used and improved.

In the very early nineties, FASTech declines to fight PMI over the stacked-valve blowback semiauto patent. This opens the door to low-cost semiautos, which by themselves are singularly responsible for a major percentage of paintball's growth through the ninties.

About that same time, Tom Kaye refuses to patent the regulated nitrogen system, since he felt it was a superior power source over CO2. Without the HPA systems, our current high-speed, high-ROF markers and ultra-stable regulators simply wouldn't have worked.

And now, now we have Smart Parts. Smart Parts wants to patent the very idea of using electricity in any manner to fire a paintball.

What does this mean? Cash. Raw greed. Smart Parts is looking to literally corner the market. If the patent goes through as declared, every manufacturer that makes an electric or electronic paintball gun will have to pay SP royalties on each marker produced. Or pay a licensing fee, or whatever SP decides they want to do.

A thread over on Automags.Org hints that SP might ask a cool million bucks for the licensing fee, and $75 per unit on top of that.

Know what that means? That means the fees come from YOU, the player. Increased costs of manufacturing are always passed on to the consumer. If it costs more to make it, you'll pay more for it in the store.

Let's take an example: Let's say ICD estimates they'll sell 20,000 Bushmasters in the next couple of years. We know a Bushy costs about $400 now, give or take. That million-dollar fee adds $50 per unit right off the top, and another $75 means that, with ZERO other changes, the cost of a Bushmaster just went up $125.

How about $1,300 Angel Speeds? Or $1,800 IR3s. $500 E-Spyders. $1,900 Intimidators. $600 Black Draguns.

That $1,600 Lasoya Timmy? They're not gonna sell 20,000 of 'em. They might sell 400. That's $2,500 in licensing fees before you even buy the marker. Think that a $4,175 marker will be good for the sport?

But, of course, SP will have $450 Impulses and $750 Shockers.

This, boys and girls, is what's known as a Monopoly. Ask Bill Gates and the US Justice Department- and Apple Computers- if a Monopoly is a good thing.

Our carefree honeymoon is over. The days of altruistic industry greats willing to make a small sacrifice for the good of the sport, are over. Randy Kamiya used to write about small inter-industry squabbles, and his analogy was, rather than try and stab somebody in the back for a bigger share of the pie, let's work to make a bigger pie.

This is no longer good enough for Smart Parts. They want a bigger pie, and more of it. Electros are the fastest-growing segment of the sport right now, mainly thanks to the recent advent of the low-cost "sear tripper" electro-blowbacks. For the first time, a player can buy a pretty decent electro for a pretty decent price, and actually have a good marker.

Is SP looking at that, seeing the dropoff in Shocker sales- their self-described "flagship" marker- and sales of their Impulse- which is commonly considered a midrange electro which needs several upgrades, such and an LPR, to be tournament ready- being undercut by the Bushmaster, the Defiant, even the Intimidator, as well as the fleets of entry-level sear-trippers?

Are they looking at that, and deciding they want a bigger slice of the pie? What other explanation can there be?

Will Smart Parts be magnanimous and only charge a very small token royalty? History says otherwise- remember, after all, that SP is the company that sold two versions of the Shocker, one the standard semiauto, the other a full-auto. All the circuit boards were exactly the same, the full-auto ones just had a small microswitch soldered to preexisting contacts. For that switch, the player paid a hundred dollars or more extra.

This is the same company that drilled a hole in a plastic Armson elbow ($3 retail) stuck a length of pneumatics hose in it and called it an "Air Assist", which retailed at $35.

This is the company that deliberately used a unique barrel thread on the Shocker in order to sell more barrels. When they brough the Impulse out, it had yet another barrel thread, incompatible with anything else.

In order to sell more barrels.

I, for one, would not count on Smart Parts' charity in this matter.

I will admit I'm a fan of some of SP's products. I've always been a fan of the Max Flow HPA system. It's maintenence-intensive, but it's a very good reg. The so-called "Smart Valve" is finally a reliable, rebuildable shutoff valve for CO2 tanks, which have always been troublesome.

I've also enjoyed owning and working on Shockers and Impulses, but I'll also be the first to admit there's some serious shortcomings with both designs.

But if this goes through, I will carefully hoard my current stable of electros, and I will run full tilt back to 'Cockers. I will not in any way, shape or form, if this suit passes, buy another SP product. No Freaks, no Maxes, no All-Americans. No Shockers, no Impulses, no RASE clothes. No grips, no valves, no drops, no nothing.

And I will recommend to all who will listen to do the same. The raw, naked greed boiling off SP is a spreading stain on the sport, and I'm afraid we're all going to get a little dirty.

Doc.
Who's gonna make the first Boycott Smart Parts hopper stickers? We need them.
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Riddler
Riddler

July 22nd, 2003, 4:54 am #10

He had a batch of them done before the IAO... Here's mine:

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