When I’m on the go I’m finding I have a tendency to want to carry more and more with me. Phone, wallet, phone battery and cable, external keyboard, meds, water, Kindle and so on. I can usually restrain myself to the bare minimum for quick trips but end up with a bag for anything over a few minutes. There’s always been clothing available with huge numbers of pockets from military style gear to fishing vests but getting the pockets without looking silly, ruining the cut or making it too heavy has always been the problem. I wanted to find a solution for this.
Being based in the UK this is where I started to hit controversy.
The first name that I thought of was SCOTTeVEST who I’ve heard advertising from. They were set up in 2000 and produce a range of clothes which have integrated pockets, ducts for cables and everything I was looking for. Perfect. Then I hit an issue. They’ve no UK site and while they ship internationally the cost and customs extra make a premium product already very expensive. Add in the fact that their returns policy starts when the product is shipped for 30 days only. If I got a jacket and it didn’t fit there would not be enough time to get it shipped back and returned.
So are there resellers in the UK? Not that I can find. I checked out Amazon and while so products are listed they are all out of stock with no indication as when it will be back in stock and with customer comments indicating they’ve been out of stock for months.
Amazon redirected me to a Scottish firm called AyeGear which seemed to solve the problem. Similar products available in the UK hitting all my requirements. Then a little more searching brought me to this page on the SCOTTeVest site and a quandary. In the 2012 page SCOTTeVEST claims that AyeGear’s are direct knock offs but don’t actually offer any specific patents or laws that AyeGear have violated. Fast forward a couple of years to 2014 and SCOTTeVEST seem to be trying to strike back by registering the AyeGear name as a trademark in China then trying to stop production of AyeGear.
So where does that leave us the consumer? All I was looking for was a way to take my tech with me without carrying a bag.
I can come to a couple of conclusions. AyeGear products do look similar to SCOTTeVEST ones and may well be inspired at least initially by them. But that doesn’t make them copies nor mean they break any law. SCOTTeVEST started complaining publicly in 2012 and if there was a legal problem I’m sure they would have litigated by now and I cannot find anything to suggest that they’ve done so.
As a consumer I am concerned by the ethics but I’m also concerned by my ability to get a product. SCOTTeVEST do not seem willing to serve me in a convenient way in the UK. AyeGear does and I’ll be looking for my jacket there.