When it comes to motorcycle-specific bags and backpacks, the motorcycle industry has a limited number of players.
Kriega is by far the 800 lbs gorilla in the space, but Oregon-upstart Velomacchi has been making waves as well with its offerings. There is a good chance you have seen one of these brand’s packs out in the wild.
Both brands offer great pieces, but what makes Kriega and Velomacchi both stand out is that they have created unique harnessing systems that are designed around the requirements that come with riding a motorcycle at-speed and while wearing motorcycle apparel.
And now, it seems Triumph wants in on that action, as the British brand has released on its UK website a set of bags that look very, very familiar. Is imitation the highest form of flattery? Or, is it bad for business for all the parties involved?
Looking at the side-by-side photos above, one can see some pretty obvious similarities in Triumph’s designs to what Kriega and Velomacchi have produced, especially when it comes to Velomacchi’s strap and chest-latch system, and Kriega’s dome-syled cross-pack zipper.
The similarities between the Velomacchi design and Triumph’s backpack are perhaps the most egregious, as they include the same placement of a medical cross on the right shoulder, vertically tilted branding on the left shoulder, and the single aluminum roundel clasp at the center, which has become a key element to Velomacchi’s backpack products.
The designs and similarities in the Triumph products are so stark, it is hard to imagine how they came to exist independent from the work done by Kriega and Velomacchi.
The internet would seem to agree, as the comments on Velomacchi’s instagram post about this issue are full of ire, not only from angry Velomacchi fans, but also a plethora of the industry’s more influential minds.
My own quick legal analysis is that I am not sure that Triumph would be found in violation of any intellectual property laws on this one. But that’s not really where the analysis should sto.
Without diving deep into the nuances of copyright, trademark, and patent law, and some of the exceptions made for trade dress, as they pertain to the making of backpacks and apparel, let me just say that copying designs and patterns is a huge issue right now for the fashion industry as whole.
However, the legal letter of the law shouldn’t be the guiding light here. Whatever the case might be legally speaking with Triumph, ethically it doesn’t take a philosophy student to realize what is right and wrong in this situation.
If that argument doesn’t sway the mind, consider that Triumph has the privilege of being one of the leading motorcycle brands in the world.
Hinckley has built their brand around being a premium British marque, but the act of copying the unique ideas of other smaller brands in the industry is the antithesis of what the Triumph brand should stand for in motorcycling.
It is a toxic act, not only to fragile ecosystem that is motorcycle-related entrepreneurship, but also continuing actions like the ones we see here can quickly undermine the years of work that it took to build the Triumph brand name to mean what it means today.