LAS VEGAS – The competitive nature of SHOT Show is always exciting to behold, but sometimes – it can get a little nasty.
Maxpedition launched a new fixed-blade knife line at the opening of SHOT Show 2014, touching off a dispute between Maxpedition owner Tim Tang and Kevin McClung, who makes Mad Dog Knives.
So it turns out Tang’s new line of inexpensive fixed-blade knives and sheaths, made with tool steel and glass reinforced handles, looks a lot like McClung’s expensive Mad Dog Knives and sheaths.
So much so that McClung wasted no time accusing Tang of copying his designs in the comments section of a Jan. 14 KitUp!, post.
“Tim Tang/Maxpedition has OBVIOUSLY ripped off my sheath designs, as well as many of my trademarked/copyrighted design features on the knives. The assertion that "Tang also designed a universal Kydex sheath for each blade size" is total baloney, as these are BLATANT RIPOFFS of my own sheath designs. His previous use of my name and registered trademarks in his advertising of his knife line is uncompensated and unlawful. Timmy has some explaining to do. His "Passion" is evidently making poor copies of better men's work. That's called PLAGIARISM.”
I spoke with Tang after the dispute emerged, and he looked a bit rattled over it.
“I don’t want a personal war over this,” said Tang, who admitted that his knives are very similar to Mad Dog Knives. “I really like Mad Dog knives so in part, our knives were inspired by that, but at the same time, we made a lot of changes to make it a completely different product. … There is no trademark or patent infringement on a legal standpoint.
Tang’s company, Maxpedition, has a reputation for making extremely-rugged, tactical shoulder bags, pouches and packs. He has dabbled in a few folding knife designs, nothing as extensive as the fixed-blade knives he unveiled this year.
The new line featured short clip, long clip, fish belly, and tanto blade styles, made from hard-chrome finished D2 steel.
Large models featured 6.25 inch blades that are .22 of an inch thick. Medium models had 5.5 inch blades that are .188 thick. And small models had 4.75 inch blades that are .15 of an inch thick.
There was also kydex sheath for each blade size.
Tang told me he has dropped the entire project, an endeavor that cost him more than $100,000.
“I am actually close family friends with [McClung], so I don’t want to burn that bridge,” Tang said.
The real loser in all of this is most likely the consumer. I am certainly not going to say Tang’s knives were the exact same quality as Mad Dog Knives – most of which range between $700 and $1,300 each. But they sure looked like damn nice knives that were going to cost $100 to $120 each.