According to the AP, police and customs officials raided the booths of many exhibitors at Germany’s CeBiT consumer electronics conference, seizing 68 boxes of knock-off gadgets, documents, and more, including phones, mp3 players, GPS units, and digital pictures frames. A good chunk of the exhibitors were from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and are being accused patent violations.
Small booths full of cheap, Chinese (or at least Chinese-made) gear is a hallmark of these big trade shows, where vendors make business deals with…someone. I’m actually not sure who makes the purchases for these sorts of items or where they end up, but I suppose even small electronics crap vendors have to buy their goods from somewhere.
I feel sorry for the patent violators, mostly. Do people really mistake the cheap copies for the more expensive and (usually) more polished original products? I suspect my level of sympathy for them is predicated by how much I enjoy walking through those back halls at trade shows, talking to the energetic barkers, and marveling at how often the cloned devices miss the mark (as well as the ones that occasionally improve someone else’s design).