Okay, the waiting for the big news is over. Given that April fools day is tomorrow, I feel like I need to point out that this is NOT an April Fools joke. This unfortunately is very real. What I am about to announce will be a troubling topic for some. I bring this up because I need to ask all of you to take a step back and think on this long enough to be respectful with your answers. That is not to say it is not open for debate or that you cannot speak your mind, merely do it respectfully please. I am going to give people as much leeway as possible with this topic, simply do not insult. We are all family here. I also will point out now that I in no way was contacted by anyone to write this post on their behalf or for the behalf of someone else.
Most of you have heard of Ripstop By the Roll, and know they are a US supplier of the cloths a lot of the cottage vendors use to making such a gear and also where the DIY folks within the community procure their materials, and even videos to help people with sewing abilities. The human behind the scenes there is named Kyle, and I can tell you while you are not able to have known his name, he is the biggest player in the bungalow market. Own a quilt that was not stimulated in China? Chance are the material came from him. Ridgeline organizers, stuff bags, bug nets …. More than likely, Kyle has had a hand in a part of your gear. He is what stimulates it possible for small vendors to order materials on a smaller scale. He is what has constructed it is feasible for DIY folks to order just enough material for a single project at reasonable costs. The icon in our community however, is now under attack, which could have a huge impact on this community … and to make things worse, the attack emanating from another iconic figure of our family. There is a disturbance in the force so to speak and all of you must be made aware of it.
Here is how important Kyle is to our community. If Kyle was not able to do what he does, our community would be a whole lot different. Imagine only being able to obtain the old olive-drab colour of cloth Hennessey is known for, or basic ripstop heavy material with only one weight rating. Heavier poly tarps instead of silpoly. DIY would be a thing of the past unless you wanted to pay a premium cost elsewhere. Cottage vendors, who provide us with the choices we have currently that allow us to all have the unique setups we take pride in will either have to go out of business because they cannot afford to buy the amounts of fabric to buy it direct from the manufacturer or buy the material at a premium price from a hammock producer that can, which will mean increased costs to you an me, their customers. Some it may mean merely offering a couple individual colours without the ability to customize any longer. As you can see here, Losing RSBTR would cause a HUGE impact in our community. There is absolutely no doubt about this fact. While what I described would be the worst-case scenario and what may happen with the information below may not be that severe, I did want to point out how bad this has the potential to be.
We all know how much we love our cottage vendors in this forum. They have treated their competitor with respect and even promoted some of their competition’s gear at times. They have collaborated in the past. New ideas for gear are just that a lot of times … notions that are allowed to be used by all vendors to make their own versions even. It has been a practice that has allowed us here at hammock forums to allow these vendors to show off their products, have a social media presence to help their business, and these people have become family to us. A plenty of us have even hung with these vendors and know them personally. That is the beauty of this community … we are all family. And like family, we come together when the community is danger or have to come to the aid of one of our own, which is what I am calling for in this post.
I say this with a heavy heart and knowing this will be heartbreaking for some. The entity that is suing Kyle is none other than DutchWare Gear …. Another icon in the business and someone who we have considered family in this forum for years. I personally have at least a thousand dollars’ worth of his gear, as do many of you reading this. Unfortunately, he is bringing a suit which can only be explained as a power grab. While I am sure this lawsuit, if won, would benefit him personally, it ironically would hurt each and everyone of his customers and be devastating to this community. I am going to outline the lawuit here as best I can without boring you guys too much, but as you will see, the reasons to bring this lawsuit have the appearance of something that can’t be described by much other than his efforts to corner the market. That is just my opinion, please form your own. I did ask Dutch for an explanation, and he declined to give me one a few months ago when I became aware of the suit. I did my due diligence to get as much datum as I could prior to this positions and thought about this post for a few months before induce the decision to share it with you. You can all go view the lawsuit yourselves, simply go to pacer.gov, scroll to the eastern Pennsylvania district courts and search for ” Dutch” to find it. This is especially hard as this involves two of our family members and is not an easy topic to bring up for discussion where that discussion will not violate our rules of conduct which is why I started the poll … I wanted to make sure this sort of thing is what our members wanted to read about if it were to become a reality, which it has.
The lawsuit has two particular complaints. The first is RSBTR’s use of the name of material “ROBIC”. According to Dutch’s asserts, Kyle should not be using the word because it is owned by a Korean vendor by the name of Hyosung. Dutch claims that Robic is a specific yarn that that company renders, and that since an exactly similar yarn was used to construct RSBTR’s ” Robic ” material, that they are misinforming the public. I want to first bring up this particular issue … Dutch has absolutely no claim to the word Robic, Hyosung in no way is suing RSBTR over it’s use, and in fact is working with Kyle in order to resolve the issue in an amicable matter. Dutch it seems, was made aware of the issue and decided to sue. Your guess as to why he is doing this is as good as mine, however one cannot overlook the glaring appearances of why he would do this. Was this in order to take advantage of this opportunity to hurt Kyle for his own personal gain? He is a third party to this completely, so this certainly seems most likely. I would love to hear an explanation otherwise by Dutch and welcome him to do so … I can only go by the information I have available to me.
The second objection is a similar one about HyperD fabric, which is a name Kyle owns. The grievance is that Kyle fabricates HyperD with the term “Ripstop” as a descriptor. Dutch asserts ripstop is a particular thread and Kyle does not use it. We all know that ripstop is a word we all use for hammock fabrics in general, but the claim here by Dutch is that this is a deceptive practise on Kyle’s part. Dutch himself has sold this textile from time to time. Without a doubt, it is one of the most popular textiles within the cottage vendor and DIY-made hammocks there is. There is no doubt either HyperD OR Robic did not live up to their claims … their claims to durability, stretch, and quality speak for themselves.
I am sure there are those that will disagree( mainly because of their dedication to Dutch and his products ), that Dutch is doing this only for personal gain. That is fine, I am not here to tell you what to think on that front. I can tell you however that this lawsuit is in no way good for this community. Nothing can come from this but having fewer options for us, including fabric choice, color, and even cottage vendor selections. But here is what I can tell you on why I have come to this conclusion.
It does appear to me that Dutch is suing for reasons very similar to practices he takes in his business on a daily basis. Everyone touts Dutch as this big discoverer of incredible products … a label he is more than happy to take credit for. Here is the thing … almost all of his products aren’t his inventions. All that titanium tarp and hammock bling? He did not invent it. He bought the rights to it. The inventor was Shane from BIAS Gear. You won’t find that datum anywhere on his site though. He has been okay employing other’s ideas for his personal gain as well. Take his chameleon hammock, which is his bread and butter of his business other than the titanium bling … this is idea is very similar to another conversion-style hammock on the market which has been around much longer than the chameleon has. He has since added many other options to it which are unique to his business, but the idea was not his. There was a period he was selling Lawson Chord, which he claimed was a Dutch-only product. This was not a dutch-only product, it was simply re-packaged as such. DIY webbing claimed as a dutch exclusive is false. Sovetl Rope Company builds it and sells it to other vendors. Dutcwhare pots- not his invention. They are Toaks titanium pots … he buys them from them, slaps his logo on them and sells them to you for a premium price because they say Dutch on them. Now, please don’t take this as me claiming Dutch should not do these practices … all the power to him. I am not complaining about him doing it .. I am complaining that he is using tactics that has given him the comfortable living he enjoys today and used them to attack others now. The ironic thing about this is, while he is attacking his competitor which is on the surface understandable, he is hurting his client base at the same time. This are subject to change our community for the worse, and I am hoping that Dutch simply has not thought of it like that instead of knowing this and doing it anyway. I would detest to believe Dutch would do that to us purposefully. Dutch, you cannot hide from this fact any longer. I am asking you personally, right here and right now publicly here in the forum to reconsider your options here. Come back to your family, we are stronger together. I believe you have underestimated how important it is to us hammock camping fanatics to have our own unique styles, options and ways of setting up our gear. Your lawsuit is an attack on that very important freedom to the hammock community. We hold that very dear to our hearts. I for one will stop buying your gear if you continue. If you fell this and come back to their own families, I will retract this post, write another praising your decision and immediately buy that new dog house you have for sale … love the idea of that. If not I will have a challenger create one to my exact specifications and continue to fight for my community.
To the members of the hammock community: I wonder if you are expecting me to ask you for anything in regard to this issue. Do we come together to fight this in some way? Are there things we can do as individuals to change any of this? The short answer is yes, there is plenty we can do to show that we would not like to see this happen. Do we stop giving our fund to person transgressing the code of the hammock bungalow vendors of reciprocal respect? Do we help to spread the word of the lawsuit to all other hammock camping related social media groups out there? Do we come to the aid of one of our own? Do we contact Dutch and let him know that we consider this an attack on our community and that we do not want to have someone monopolize our options and stifle our ability to be unique with our setups? Do we stop allowing him to advertise? Stop letting gear reviews posted here for his products? Stop letting his “ambassadors” from posting his equipment with Dutch hashtags? I am not ready to say yes to that, but they are all possibilities. It is things we should discuss as a community, and decide as a community, and is why I am posting this. Do we try to preserve what we have enjoyed for so long or do we allow one person to begin to power out some of our family’s businesses?
For those of you who feel like you are just one individual that has no power over any what is occurring, I offer you a couple of different sayings:” If you think you are too small to have in impact, try going to bed with a mosquito”- Anita Roddick.
” Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean”- Ryunosuke Satoro.
Response From Kyle Baker From the Hammock Forums Facebook page 😛 TAGEND
Hi. My name is Kyle Baker and I’m the Owner/ Founder of Ripstop by the Roll. I believe most people are aware after yesterday’s post that Dutchwaregear is attempting a lawsuit against our company. Inside that post, I said that I would follow-up with greater detail, so that’s what I intend to start doing here.
First, I want to say that I respect everyone’s right to an sentiment- even if we disagree. To that aim, I ask that any comments constructed here be respectful.
Regarding Devon’s post and the feelings on whether or not this issue should be brought to public illumination … If you’re of the opinion that this is a legal matter and that we should simply let special courts decide, I can understand that position. In today’s world, we are inundated with info at every turn. For many of you, this group represents a place to insulate yourself from that noise. It’s a haven to simply discuss hammock camping with like-minded folks and it should stay that way.
With that said , now that it’s out there, I appreciate your time and the chance to share my stance on a public forum as we’ve got nothing to hide.
First, I want to be clear in expressed the view that we did not choose this lawsuit. If you’ve never been party to a suit, let me share a candid guessed with you- IT SUCKS. No part of it is fun in any way, shape, or form.
On the financial side alone, to date it has expensed us over $20,000 to defend ourselves, with more bills coming in every day. This is money that could be spent on new products and innovations for this community. In addition to being able to fiscal stres, and perhaps more importantly, this lawsuit has caused an enormous amount of stress and nervousnes , not just for me, but for my family, our employees, and vendors that purchase from us.
Why the stress? Well, here’s a quick summing-up of what Dutch claims he is entitled to in this lawsuit 😛 TAGEND
All profit from every single yard of cloth sold by RBTR under HyperD or ROBIC brand names.
All profit from any finished product made out of fabric employing the HyperD or ROBIC brand names.