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Inspiration

Profoto Claims Godox V1 Design Is An A1 Knockoff

By Sean Lewis on March 15th 2019

For those who were hoping to get their hands on the new Godox V1, you might have to look elsewhere for your lighting solutions. At least, that is if Profoto’s recent allegations effectively block the release of the V1.

As initially reported in Fotosidian, a Swedish photo publication, Profoto has accused Godox of patent infringement, claiming the V1 design is no more than a blatant bootleg of Profoto’s popular A1 flash unit. From a design perspective, there’s no question that the V1 outwardly resembles the A1. Both units include a round head, a magnetic mount for attaching modifiers, a Fresnel lens, and LED modeling lights.

Although he says he has let similar infringements slide in the past, Profoto CEO Anders Hedebark told Fotosidian that he feels the infringement cannot be overlooked in this instance:

It has happened before. We have been copied and then we have sometimes acted and sometimes let it be, but we have never seen such a blatant copy before … It feels like we have an obligation to act.

Fotosidian notes that Profoto invests heavily in research and development, committing 10 percent of their sales to product development. According to Hedebark, “There are few manufacturing companies that reach this level.”

This time around, the Profoto team plans to protect their investment. In addition to going after Godox, Profoto plans to take legal action against other parties involved with the production or distribution of the V1. According to Fotosidian, “Traders, manufacturers, landlords and importers risk suing if they market Godox V1.”

To their loyal fanbase, Godox is known to provide affordable, decent quality lighting alternatives to the more expensive name brands like Profoto and Broncolor. Some of their more popular products include the AD600Pro and the AD200. Whether or not they’re comparable in quality to the pricier brands, however, has been the subject of much debate. Regardless, it looks like their releases will likely be more closely monitored by their competitors from here out.

According to Hedebark, “Profoto is establishing an office in China that will, among other things, monitor what is happening in the Chinese photo industry.”

 

What are your thoughts on the design of the Godox V1? Is it too close for comfort when compared to the A1?

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About

Sean fell into photography while teaching for a non-profit. What started as a minor task – documenting guest speakers and classroom activities – grew into a major obsession, and eventually led to a position shooting with Lin & Jirsa. Nowadays, at SLR Lounge, Sean’s work as a marketing associate merges his interest in the fields of photography and education.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jared Ribic

    This will be interesting as Godox created a round head for the AD200 about a year ago along with magnetic modifiers.  Now building that round head into a speedlite becomes a problem somehow.

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  2. Matthew Saville

    This has been happening in the tech industry for decades now. It’s the ugly side of a global economy, and so much outsourced overseas manufacturing.

    Even if you don’t outsource your manufacturing, at this point the outsourced MFG industry is so massive, there are factories out there just waiting to reverse-engineer your products and reproduce them for pennies.

    We should have seen this coming, after so many generations of flash/lighting equipment from companies like Yongnuo, and the many others who have either blatantly ripped off the designs of a name-brand flash, or just roughly approximated their own versions of the basic design.

    If there were a stronger international court of copyright law, then this would be much easier to control, however, there just isn’t. The global economy is just so massive, and it’s charging ahead at full speed; we may not be able to undo what we’ve already begun. People want everything dirt-cheap, and they just don’t understand that the innovation which originated such technology didn’t come cheap.

    If we don’t try harder to protect intellectual property and copyrights, we will poison the marketplace for such high-caliber products like Profoto. Eventually, it will be 99% an ocean of cheap junk, and there may be nobody left to actually innovate good quality stuff.

    It might turn out OK for consumers themselves, because eventually the “cheap junk” companies usually start to produce half-decent products that last just barely long enough to be worth their price. A sad, sad compromise, but it’s better than nothing, And, in the meantime, we will have choked the life out of many name brands which stood for quality all along, and there will be even more truth to the saying, “They don’t make ’em like they used to…”

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  3. Jose Avila

    LOL good luck trying to sue someone in China. Copying competition is the norm over there.

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  4. Jared Gant

    Has Profoto outlined their specific patent infringement claims?

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    • Sean Lewis

      Hey Jared, According to the Fotosidian article (which had to be translated from Swedish), Profoto has filed for “a total of seven patents for the design and seven design protections for the design” for the A1. It doesn’t really go into detail beyond that regarding the patent infringement claims.

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    • Ren Driver

      From what I’ve read on other articles in regards to this, they expect the suite to fail on Profoto’s side as the A1 shares a large amount of design qualities from another flash that is 10 or so years older.  At worse case scenario the suit could cause the patents to get invalidated.

      I kinda see this as profoto has started to see godox as a threat in terms of competitive market since many even professional photographers are bringing up the godox strobes are running as well as the profoto lights(and even in some situations they find the godox better) for often a quarter of the price.

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