Consumer products made in China are the lifeblood of many US retailers. Chinese suppliers adapt to meet the demand, making a trade-off between quality and price. Some of the highest quality consumer products, like leading smartphones, are assembled in China. There are also some very poor quality products that rip off customers.

Some retailers, like the mobile camera accessory retailer Photojojo Inc., take things a step further. They support dishonest manufacturers who steal intellectual property. This type of behavior is not only unethical but also bad for the US economy because it hurts innovation.

Retailers have responsibility for products they import. Consider a recent example where Photojojo Inc. began importing the “Smartphone Spy Lens”. This iPhone camera lens accessory competes with the HiLO Lens. Photojojo Inc. expressed interest in distributing the HiLO Lens, which is a high quality right angle lens for iPhone. Photojojo Inc. later decided to import a Chinese knock-off that is not a lens but is a lot cheaper.

Before going into more detail, we want to be clear, we don’t encourage or want people spying with the HiLO Lens. We developed a quality product to help people get more creative camera angles. Providing a function like a swivel screen, seen on many digital cameras.

The product packaging for Photojojo Inc.’s “Smartphone Spy Lens” used copyrighted images from the HiLO Lens on the product packaging. The photos even show the HiLO Lens iPhone lens being used!

We asked Photojojo Inc. many times to stop selling the copyright infringing packaging. Photojojo Inc. replied “…we have new packaging coming. It’s unreasonable that you ask us to remove the product from the site in the meantime.”

This behavior is unacceptable, it is bad enough having Chinese manufacturers stealing our property. Photojojo Inc’s CEO Amit Gupta chose to sell that stolen property when they knew it was stolen.

This story highlights an ongoing issue of the rich get richer by exporting jobs to developing countries which abuse the environment and intellectual property rights. There is room for everyone on a level playing field but retailers that behave like Photojojo Inc. do not deserve our trust. Please don’t support this type of two faced behavior.