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Counterfeits PR


For immediate release.

Contacts: Rod Bremer, Lindsey Phelps, 1-800-891-3100 or 503-685-5015

Fax: 503-682-9680 E-mail:

Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A.— January 15, 2009

Beware of counterfeit knives bearing the Columbia River Knife & Tool®

(CRKT®) trademark.

As a manufacturer of quality knives and tools, Columbia River Knife & Tool® (CRKT®)

has worked hard over the past 15 years to build a brand recognized for quality and value.

Our knives are sold throughout the world, and have received many accolades from

international knife expositions and magazines.

The downside of this success is that our products, like those of Rolex® and Microsoft®,

are now being counterfeited by unknown and unauthorized companies which we believe

to be in China. Many of these knives are sold on web sites at ridiculously low prices,

although we have also found blatant knockoffs being retailed in Iraq and other countries.

The counterfeiting is taking two forms.

Cheap copies of actual CRKT designs. Some rip-off artists are making cheap copies

of popular CRKT designs. These copies look similar to our products, but are usually

shoddily made using inferior steels, coatings and handle materials. They illegally feature

the CRKT logo and markings.

When viewed on a low-resolution web site image, these knives can’t be distinguished

from the real thing. However, when handled and compared to a real CRKT knife, their

lack of quality, poor assembly, and inferior folding and locking action is obvious. The

buyer will also notice lesser edge-holding ability after a little use.

Unrelated designs with the CRKT logo. A visit to the Chinese eBay web site will

reveal an array of strange and inferior knife designs which have never been produced by

CRKT, but which display the CRKT logo prominently. Again, this is a violation of

international trademark law. Similar rip-offs are originating in South Africa.

Worse from our point of view, is the suggestion that we would design and manufacture

such junk products. We have taken pride that CRKT products are designed by some of

the world’s leading custom knifemakers and industrial designers. So these knockoffs are

doubly insulting to our brand name: both poor in quality and poor in design.

A knockoff comparison. We received a memo, and later the counterfeit M16®-14SF

knife and packaging (photo shown on our web site, purchased by Lt. Col.

Scott V., stationed with coalition troops in Iraq. He stated, “Thank you for your interest,

and the time you have spent in dealing with the suspected counterfeit knife I purchased in

Iraq. I have enjoyed my time as a knife detective and hope that this whole process can in

some way help CRKT. I have enjoyed your knives for years and will continue to do so in

the future.”


The knife/package he forwarded was illegal and deceptive in almost every measurable

way, including.

• A poorly reproduced “CRKT” clampack package with name, trademark, artwork

copyright and country of origin violations, complete with a duplicated UPC code. Plastic

and printing quality was far lower than a genuine CRKT clampack.

The knife itself is deficient in almost every visible and measurable way.

• Poor lockup. The counterfeit locking liner allows vertical play. It closes with a

“clunk” instead of the crisp “snap” of the genuine product.

• Different pivot screw. It is flat, not checkered like the original.

• Shoddy substitute thumb studs. The knockoff thumb studs are misaligned and loose.

They are not checkered for grip.

• Crude rip-off of patented LAWKS® mechanism. The counterfeit uses an illegal copy

of the Lake And Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS®) mechanism which is covered by U.S.

patent 5,596,808. The sample’s actuating lever is badly bent. In contrast, genuine CRKT

M16-14SF models come with our patented AutoLAWKS™ safety which is marked with a

red dot and automatically converts the folder into a strong, rigid knife when opened and


• Fraudulent claim of “four-way clip” on package. The genuine M16-14SF comes with

two clips, a Torx® tool, extra screws and tapped holes to allow tip-up or tip-down carry,

left or right, to suit military needs (not intended for tip-up in-pocket carry). The

counterfeit comes with one clip, and non-tapped holes, designed to mimic the look of the

original. But four-way carry is not an option.

• Under weight and dimensions. The counterfeit knife is slightly shorter, has thinner

aluminum scales and weighs only 5.2 ounces. There is considerable compression flex in

the frame with hand pressure. The genuine M16-14SF weighs 5.4 ounces, and its heavier

6061 T6 aluminum scales yield virtually no flex from hand pressure.

• Visibly crude blade grind. The counterfeit blade grind is noticeably different from

the genuine M16-14SF designed by Kit Carson. The counterfeit blade also shows pitting

and grind marks.

We could go on about inferior materials, construction, coatings and finishes on this

knockoff, but that is not our point. The counterfeit sample is a demonstrably inferior

product, cunningly designed to deceive the consumer.

More are out there. After first posting of the above web story, we received this email:

“I have never owned a CRKT knife, but have always heard about what great quality

knives they are. I recently was given an M16-14SF as a thank you from a US Soldier.

After just a couple uses, I noticed all of the screws starting to come loose on the knife. I

was about to send you a message asking if this is typical with your knives. Then I noticed

the counterfeit page, and discovered that this is a counterfeit. Hopefully when I get back,

I will be able to purchase an actual CRKT.” —Kenneth P., International Police Advisor,


Consumer awareness. How can the consumer know what is a genuine CRKT

product? After describing the M16® knockoff above, it is clear that the “knife pirates” are

good at deception. But the knife buyer can easily protect himself or herself by just

remembering a few important points.

• Buy from a reputable dealer. If you buy a CRKT product from a reputable retailer,

whether cutlery, sporting goods, hardware or department store, or a known internet


retailer, you can be sure that you are receiving a genuine product and that the retailer 

and CRKT will stand behind the product. 

   Your purchase of the new CRKT products will be covered by our appropriate

warranties, including our excellent Limited Lifetime Warranty on new knives.

• Consider the price. If a price for a new “CRKT product” seems to be too good to be

true, it probably is. Unlike some manufacturers, we set our Manufacturer’s Suggested

Retail Price (MSRP) recommendations at very competitive levels. So we don’t anticipate

that a quality CRKT product will require a much lower “street price” to be a great value.

If you see a new “CRKT product” on the web reduced from $79.99 to $19.99, an alarm

should go off. This is very likely a knockoff, and not a genuine CRKT product.

We know you will find some occasional used knife bargains on sites such as eBay and

Craigslist, but there is really no way to know how much use or abuse these knives have

received. So again, it is a matter of buyer beware. If you pay through an escrow service,

you may be able to return an unsatisfactory knife, but the CRKT Limited Lifetime

Warranty is valid only to the original owner.

Who is damaged by knife piracy? No one wins when a hidden factory overseas

decides to counterfeit a shoddy knife or tool product.

The manufacturer and the designer have their reputations and their brand name

damaged. The legitimate dealer loses sales to these much-lower-priced products. But the

consumer takes the most risk for several reasons.

First, the consumer takes the risk of serious product defects, and the possibility of

product failure and/or injury. The knockoff pirate company is not to be found to make

good on the failure, or even to be pursued for damage claims.

Second, the inferior quality of knockoffs usually results in poor performance, reduced

edge-holding ability and short product life. These are not the real CRKT knives and tools

that users tell us they cherish for years and years.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. As much as we all love a bargain, we

recommend that the consumer should shop carefully.

At conventional retailers, examine and compare the products you want to buy. This

gives you the ability to see finish colors and textures which vary somewhat, especially in

natural and swirled CPL materials. It gives the consumer a chance to check the action of

folding knives, the carry capabilities of sheaths, and the working ability of tools.

When buying via mail order or etailers, select those that have satisfaction-guaranteed

return policies. Then you can always return a knockoff product that doesn’t measure up

to genuine CRKT quality standards.

In both of the above cases, CRKT stands behinds the quality products we make. We,

in concert with other concerned manufacturers, are taking all possible legal measures to

put the knife and tool counterfeiters out of business, but this is an international problem

that is not going to be quickly resolved.

Remember that we don’t make the counterfeit junk that is out there in the dark

shadows of the marketplace. It is up to the consumer to do the research, compare

products, and be suspicious of any product priced “too good to be true.”



Columbia River Knife & Tool is dedicated to producing knives, tools, and accessories of

uncompromising quality and selling them at affordable prices. CRKT products are

distributed through specialty retail, sporting goods and cutlery stores that offer

customers knowledgeable service and are available from reputable web site purveyors.

For more information on counterfeiting of CRKT products call (503) 685-5015 or

(800) 891-3100 or fax (503) 682-9680, or write Columbia River Knife & Tool, 18348 SW

126th Place, Tualatin, OR 97062. Reach us via e-mail at Our web site is

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