Silver Lining: Knockoffs K.O. Crocs
Knockoffs can cause serious harm to the businesses of original, creative designers -- but it's an ill wind that blows no good.
Crocs (CROX) can blame the 94% drop in its stock price from a 52-week high of $75.21 to a low of $4.26 at least in part on illicit imitation. Bloomberg reports:
The widespread availability of both Crocs -- with their multiple holes and pliable texture -- and their imitators is one of the company's biggest problems, according to [retail analyst Keri] Spanbauer.
``It's not only that Crocs are everywhere,'' she said, ``the knock-offs are everywhere.''
While Crocs are protected by both utility and design patents, which the company has actively enforced, it appears that the copyists are winning by dint of sheer volume.
Could this news mean the demise of the company that induced countless Americans to appear in public wearing brightly colored, synthetic clown shoes? Does it portend a return to reasonably elegant, adult footwear? Will knockoffs kill Crocs?
As of this writing, the stock is selling at $4.31, a turning trendlet but nothing dispositive.
As we wait for a conclusive market correction, here's a quick look at the positions of our Commander in Chief and those who want his job:
Bush wears Crocs.
McCain admires Crocs.
Obama "will take away your Crocs."
Counterfeit Chic urges you to vote accordingly.