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Shoddy Knockoff Product

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"Just as I suspected! Totally legit looking stuff! Where are the human noses? The misspellings? The choking hazards?"
Strong Bad (complaining about knockoffs that aren't shoddy enough), Strong Bad Email #190 "licensed"

A Shoddy Knockoff Product is dolled up to look like a popular and/or quality product, but being dolled up is the only work that went into it. You'd be lucky if it even functioned at all.

These could very well be used as a target of Convenience Store Gift Shopping, especially if they resemble something that an unwitting/ignorant relative thinks the recipient likes.

The Evil Twin of the Well-Intentioned Replacement. While both tropes are about poorly made substitutes, that trope is with the genuine hope of making up for the thing being substituted. This trope is about just plain old ripping you off.

Compare Bland-Name Product (to show a popular product in a show without stepping on trademarks), The Mockbuster (the equivalent with works of art or entertainment), Unlicensed Game (an index of Shoddy Knockoff Video Games that have their own pages).

Contrast Follow the Leader (there is a clear influence, but it's not trying to make you think it's the actual work it's following), Serial Numbers Filed Off (it's almost the same thing as another, but at the very least changes anything copyrighted by someone else) and Effective Knockoff (when the knockoff is more competent than the original thing it's imitating). Bland-Name Product is when it looks like this in a fictional work, but doesn't come across as such. See also Prop.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kochikame: A chapter begins with a police officer showing his new Porsche to the main characters. They were skeptical about it costing only a million yen. It turns out be a Daihatsu with a Porsche exterior. They went to the dealer, who happens to sell faux high-value cars with economy car interiors using names such as, "Porschu", "Furrari", and "BNW".
  • One episode of Sgt. Frog had Keroro hoping to get his hands on an old knock-off Gundam model kit called "Dangale" ("Gundumm Action Robot Team" in the Funimation dub). Dangale is actually based on a real-life line of Gundam knock-offs called Gangale, or Gungal. As with Dangale in the show, Gungal models are actually sought after collector's items because they're so rare.
  • In one chapter of Alyosha!, Alyosha seemingly wins a PS3 at a carnival game and gives it to her friend Ryunosuke. Upon closer examination, he discovers it's a "P53", a Chinese knockoff with 53 games built into the console.
  • This is one of the running gags associated with both China and Hong Kong in Hetalia: Axis Powers.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Pokémon: The Original Series: In the episode "Fortune Hunters", Cassidy and Butch counterfeited an actual Pokémon fortune telling book and apparently did such a poor job of copying it that many Pokémon types fortunes in the counterfeit book don't match with the real one.
    • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl:
      • Team Rocket takes advantage of the Pokétch craze by churning out counterfeit Pokétches, which turn out to have mind control properties over the town's Pokémon. Dawn gets a real Pokétch at the end of the episode.
      • This wasn't even the first time they tried their hand at counterfeiting. A previous episode had them making fake gym badges out of bottle caps.
  • In One Piece, SMILES are somewhere between this and a Flawed Prototype. The intent was to create an artificial replica of the Zoan category Devil Fruits that could be mass produced. What they got was a knock-off where 90% of the fruits give you no powers and curse you with Super Drowning Skills and an inability to express any emotion bar smiles and laughter. As for the "successful" 10%? They get you to roll on a Superpower Russian Roulette where your results are "watered-down version of Zoan animorphism", "a permanent animalistic mutation that grants you useful powers", "a permanent animalistic mutation that grants you powers — but not the Required Secondary Powers", "a permanent animalistic mutation that is useless and/or disfiguring", and "permanently gaining a sapient animal as either a conjoined twin or a limb replacement". Whilst some truly fortunate SMILE users do get useful mutations or shifting abilities that can be useful, even the so-called successes are largely deformed and/or useless.
  • The Millennium vampires in Hellsing can do a decent impression of a vampire to an untrained person: they have Super-Strength enough to wield heavy weapons one-handed, are sturdy enough to shrug off small arms, can turn humans into zombified minions by biting them, and frequently possess extra powers like Super-Speed or magical gifts. But the "true" vampires we see are on another level. Alucard is obviously not normal for a vampire, but even the far younger Seras was visibly stronger than Millennium vampires when she was just a fledgling, and when she became full-blooded, she was able to lift multi-ton war vehicles, create shadowy appendages, and regenerate from massive injuries, treating them as practically a nuisance. Towards the end of the series, it's revealed that they're based on an attempt to recreate Mina Harker based on her corpse—meaning they're not even based on an actual vampire. They're a bad copy of a bad copy.

    Asian Animation 
  • Space Thunder Kids and its source material (some of which was also dubbed by Joseph Lai's production company, badly), rips off everything from assorted anime to TRON. Basically, Lai managed to take a bunch of knockoffs and make them even shoddier.
  • Miracle Star is an infamous Chinese bootleg of The Amazing World of Gumball made to sell a brand of goat's milk (hence why the show's Watterson family equivalent is a family of goats). It goes beyond a typical mockbuster by copying not only the art style and several characters, but duplicating entire scenes with (slightly different) new characters traced over with slightly choppier animation. It also has poor lip-syncing and such blatant copycat characters as a Bobert who looks more like Bender. While the original show's creator found this quite amusing, Gumball eventually made a rather searing parody of Miracle Star in an episode called "The Copycats".

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Fate of the Clans: It's revealed that Servants are inferior copies of who they're supposed to be, each possessing only a fraction of their full power. This is due to the Holy Grail not having the Authority to summon a full Heroic Spirit (Alaya, who created the Throne of Heroes for defending humanity, has the Authority for it). But even being weakened, Servants are still much more powerful than humans, including the Kings.
  • In What If Goku Married Bulma?, the heroes decide to trick Frieza by having Porunga make a set of fake Dragon Balls. These are depicted as "Dorgon Bolls" with off-center stars.

  • The Asylum, makers of Mockbusters like Transmorphers and I Am Omega. Oh, and Sharknado.
  • Parodied in Coming to America, in which Mr. McDowell lives in perpetual terror of the McDonald's lawyers coming down on him for his fast-food restaurant McDowell's, which — aside from a few cosmetic changes — is a blatant McDonald's rip-off.
  • In Serendipity, Sara and Eve are vacationing in New York and spot a stall selling knock-off handbags and wallets. Eve is thrilled to buy a "Prado" purse. Sara is quick to remind her that at least her fake actually says "Prada" on it.
  • The Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies, being edits of old, previously non-ninja films with a few scenes of what are sometimes the most ridiculous looking "ninjas" ever seen. And all to cash in on the craze for ninja movies at the time.
  • In the 2019 Kim Possible Live-Action Adaptation, Drakken takes one look at the power source Shego had purchased for him online, declares it to be a "cheap knockoff", and tells her to go get the real thing.

  • In Ben and Me, after Amos' alterations to the latest Poor Richard's Almanac cause a number of ships to run aground and nearly result in a riot, Ben points out that the almanac clearly isn't an authentic one. He claims it's a hoax and urges his customers to insist on the genuine article in the future.
  • In the Kamikaze Girls novel, the protagonist's father sells knock-offs like "Versach" and "Univerkal Stadium" products, and at one point she mocks him (in the narration, not to his face) for thinking that changing the brand name slightly will keep him from getting in trouble for it (which he does). Her daughter follows his steps to buy more lolita dresses and accessories.
  • In The Da Vinci Code, this is used to avoid blowing a cover. A rich guy pretends to be a blue collar driver, but forgets to take his Rolex off. When a cop points it out, he says it was a cheap Fauxlex piece of shit he got off the street.
  • A Surfeit Of Guns, by historical whodunnit writer P.F. Chisholm, plays on the historical example of Ulfbehrt/Ulfbert (see Military, below). The King of Scotland has been scammed by a German armourer promising the best quality pistols and muskets for his army. These are sold on the basis of having been created by the best gunsmith in Germany, who has signed every weapon with his name. But the name on the guns is mis-spelt, which alerts the hero to the scam. At first inclined to let the Scots find out the hard way, the (English) Border Warden, Sir Robert Carey, is prodded into action when the defective weapons are smuggled to the English side, and start blowing up in the hands of English users...
  • In the world of Fate/Apocrypha, after the theft of the Greater Grail, Darnic spread word of the mechanics behind it, prompting the start of a slew of Subcategory Holy Grail Wars, none of which were remotely close to the true power of the Grail. None have managed to summon more than five Servants at a time, and at least one Subcategory Lesser Grail detonated.
    • In Fate/strange Fake, Lord El-Melloi II concludes the ringleaders behind the True and False Holy Grail Wars in Snowfield want to do this, cheapening the miracle of the Third Magic into mere magecraft by mass-producing Holy Grail Wars.
  • In Full Metal Panic! Another, the Soviet Union produces a scaled-back export version of the Shadow Arm Slave, dubbed the "Monkey Model" (see Military below).
  • In the Discworld tie-in Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, when discussing the real order of precedence at parties, "Someone who has brought a whole bottle of whisky with a name you recognise" is followed by "Someone who has brought a whole bottle of whisky with a name you recognise, but which, on closer inspection, is spelled wrong (this is definitely a sign you shouldn't spill any on the carpet)".
  • The protagonist of the Shivers (M. D. Spenser) novel Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum has a father who is so cheap that he only buys these, with named examples being Darbies, Stony WalkKids, and Game Guys (which have a game called The Luigi Brothers.)
  • Parodied repeatedly in the tie-in books to The Colbert Report, I Am America (And So Can You!) and its sequel, America Again; the former has a warning on the back full of badly-mangled English implying the book is a knockoff from "Glorious Peoples Republic of China"; the latter has a supposed warning stating that if the gold leaf had rubbed off the ink, which was replaced by cadmium and you need to call a HAZMAT team. The latter also has a bit involving "The Jorker, archenemy of Bantma", which are apparently the Chinese knockoffs of The Joker and Batman.
  • Toy Academy: Played for Laughs. Commander Hedgehog, the leader of Toy Academy, is a high-quality action figure made of the finest plastic, and he has jointed hands and a variety of accessories. One other character is a bootleg Commander Hedgehog toy named Commandant Hedgepig, although he's simply called "Bootleg" most of the time. He's made of a cheaper plastic, and his hands are molded rather than articulated, so he's stuck holding a plunger and a frying pan in contrast to Hedgehog's cool space weapons. However, it's later Played for Drama when Bootleg attempts to Kill and Replace Commander Hedgehog as leader of the school. It seems that Bootleg is envious of him.

    Live Action TV 
  • All in the Family: In the 1973 episode "Hot Watch", Archie buys a designer Omega watch from a street salesman for $25, a great bargain for a watch that might be worth $300. Designer watch? Omega? A bargain? Nope – it's a cheap, poorly made watch that breaks within minutes, but Archie – and Mike, who is concerned that the watch might have been stolen – don't find out the truth until a jeweler points out that the watch is actually an Onega.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: When the squad is invited to a party at Holt's house, they all bring a bottle of the same cheap wine. Upon reading the label, Kevin notices that it's actually not wine, but "Wine Drink".
  • In Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Detective Goren is trying (as usual) to force a confession out of a killer and needs to force him to admit that his father wanted little if anything to do with him. To do this, he exploits his fondness for finely, immaculately detailed scale model cars (for which the suspect had spent a considerable amount). The trope applies when Goren shows him the kit of a car his father did buy as a gift: a cheap dime-store model that was meant more for children and novice model-kit builders. Goren informs the suspect that the gift wasn't given out of the goodness of his father's heart, but to get him to shut up and go away.
  • In the short-lived sitcom DAG, someone tried to get an Armani suit, but couldn't afford it. A friend promised him a suit just as good, but got an A!mani suit, and it was nothing like the suit he saw in the store.
  • On Cheers, Norm's favorite low-price restaurant sold things which were nearly meat, like "Beff" and "Loobster." (Episode 3-19, "Behind Every Great Man".)
  • One episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp expands on a clip from The Apprentice in which Alan Sugar talks about his "Kelvin Kleins" by mentioning all the other hokey gear he buys (he's rich because he buys these cheap knockoffs), including Knikey trainers and Christine Deeyor perfume.
  • The "Blockblister" sketch in The Amanda Show. A video store operated by Italian immigrants who sell poor quality videos being homemade spoofs of Hollywood films (Austin Powders, Wizard of Voz) with them acting in it.
    Father: This movie better!
    Whole Family: Much better!
  • On the Columbo, a key piece of evidence is sometimes a cheap knockoff wristwatch being planted by the Murderer of the Week. In "Death Hits the Jackpot", the watch was actually bought by the victim Fred when he sold the authentic original (a gift from the killer, Leon) for rent money. However, when Leon plants Fred's body in his bathtub to make it look like he accidentally slipped and drowned, the cheaper watch catches Columbo's attention because it's not waterproof, raising the question of why Fred would take a bath with it.
  • In one episode of CSI: NY Stella berates a criminal selling knock-off Rolexes that had Rolex spelled with "two Ls and a Z"...right outside the Crime Lab, no less.
  • NCIS: Tony buys an iPod for $30. Kate spots that it's actually an L-pod and has nothing inside the casing.
  • In an episode of Spin City, noted cheapskate Paul gives Claudia a "Rolex" as a gift:
    Claudia: Honey, why is Rolex spelled with three Xs?
  • The SerfBoard in the The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Man Who Never Was", a shoddy laptop computer whose maker attempted to sell it with the help of alien-slave-controlled hypnotic technology.
  • There is a skit on This Hour Has 22 Minutes called "Dollarama Cooking" (after a real-life Canadian dollar store chain) where the meal is prepared with "Faux-tatoes" from "Prince Edgar Isle" and the pan handle breaks before anything is put onto the pan. Ironically, the real Dollarama sells brand-name food products in addition to their in-house brand.
  • "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan": Randy Disher proudly shows off the new watch he bought from a guy who knew a guy. When Sharona dismisses it as junk, he insists that it can give him the time in multiple time zones. "It's 5:30 here, in Denver, it's 3:30, Los Angeles, 12:17; and in Paris, France... time has stopped."
  • Several of Jinnai Tomonori's comedy sketches start with him buying one of these products, such as a "Santendo Desu" because the Nintendo DS was sold out at his local store, or an airplane ticket on "JOS" instead of JAL. JOS, by the way, stands for "Jiko Ooikedo Shinpaisuruna", which is Japanese for "we have lots of accidents but don't worry".
  • Generally subverted in White Collar since Neal is a great forger and he goes to great lengths to make sure that his forgeries are not shoddy and can easily pass off as the real thing. In one episode he has to intentionally make a lesser quality forgery because he needs the FBI to think that the painting has always been a fake and the original was destroyed during World War 2. In another episode a gangster intends to sell knockoffs of rare high priced whiskey and Neal goes undercover as a shady brewer who uses artificial food flavoring to make cheap whiskey taste like the real thing.
  • On the early Saturday Night Live sketch "Consumer Probe", Dan Aykroyd played a sleazy toy businessman named Irwin Mainway, who was shown trying to defend his company's dangerous products. One episode focused on his company's Halloween costumes, which jumped aboard the latest fads with horrendous products such as "The Invisible Pedestrian" (an all-black outfit and ski-mask. "NOT FOR BLIND KIDS"), and "Johnny Human Torch" (a bunch of oil-soaked rags stapled to a shirt and a lighter).
  • In the "You Better Shop Around" episode of Married... with Children, Peg orders Al to go and buy an air conditioner to deal with a heat wave they are experiencing.
    Peg: You can get one of the knock-off products, like our Fridgi-door refridgerator, R-C—Hey TV...
    Al: My beauti-fool wife.
  • One episode of The Goldbergs has Adam take care of a Cabbage Patch Kid as part of a class assignment. Unfortunately, his mom accidentally causes it to be snatched by a dog while taking it to the park for a walk, forcing her to buy one on the black market as those dolls are so popular that they're hard to find in stores. The doll is revealed to be a hideously-faced "Lettuce Crop Child".
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the eponymous protagonist tries to materialize some roller blades after her aunts won't buy her ones. When she does, they turn out to be knockoffs. She is then told that rules of magic forbid wizards and witches to use their powers to create original-branded products. This is seen later again, when she's babysitting a kid and invites her boyfriend, so she makes some snacks and soft drinks appear and her boyfriend is mystified by his "Popsi" can, and "Hey, Over Here!" instead of Yoo-hoo.
  • In an episode of Yes, Dear, it's mentioned that the engagement ring Jimmy gave to Christine was a very obvious fake. For one thing, the "diamond" was full of black spots, which Jimmy claimed was because it was a rare and valuable "Leopard Diamond". This results in a Brick Joke when, in The Tag of the episode, Jimmy is watching a home shopping channel and they are actually selling a Leopard Diamond. He calls Christine into the room, but after the channel mentions the (very high) price, he quickly calls out again: "Never mind!"
  • Seinfeld: In "The Chicken Roaster", Elaine buys George a (genuine) $8,000 sable hat on the company's account. After George promptly loses it, she has to quickly find a replacement to avoid getting in trouble with the company accountant, and resorts to getting one from Bob Sacamano for $50. It turns out to be made from nutria:
    Elaine: That's, um, a kind of sable.
    Ipswich: No, it's a kind of rat.
    Elaine: That's a rat hat?
    Ipswich: And a poorly-made one, even by rat hat standards.
  • On Better Call Saul, the signature con of Jimmy and his buddy Marco back in the day involved Marco pretending to be passed out drunk in an alley. When Jimmy came by with the mark, he'd convince them to steal Marco's wallet. Meanwhile, Jimmy would "discover" the nice Rolex watch Marco is wearing and take it for himself. The point is for the mark to offer up the wallet plus some of their own money in exchange for the supposedly much more valuable Rolex, which is really just a cheap knockoff.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Played for laughs. Ray ends up working at "UpSwipez," a dating app that is exactly the same as Tinder except you swipe up and down instead of right and left. The founder insists that it's far more intuitive. It's treated as a shameless, low-quality ripoff... but everyone grudgingly admits that it is more intuitive.
  • In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Tyriq and Jazz are at odds over a Noodle Incident— Jazz sold Tyriq a fake watch, and Tyriq in turn paid with a fake $20 bill. Will tells them they each should've known better, as the watch had a two-hour warranty, while the "Jackson on the 20 ain't Jermaine."
  • Kamen Rider Drive: Roidmude 027 tries to sell fake versions of Televi-Kun called Tevile-Kun. On the inside is crudely drawn images of Shadow Moon made in crayon.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One particular The Boondocks story arc involved Granddad getting Huey a "Phony Funstation" as a present. He then tries to justify it by saying it came with a free griddle.
  • Dilbert mocks this with ripoff products like "Wibsters Dictionary".
  • Roger in FoxTrot frequently gets nailed by this. During the digital pets craze, his daughter Paige wanted a Tamagotchi. He thought a Tamagrouchy was close enough. It wasn't.
    Roger: The guy told me they were the same thing.
    Paige: Daddy, Tamagotchis are cute! They hatch out of eggs and sleep and play and eat and grow! This thing's just plain nasty.
    Roger: Paige, give it a chance! You've only had it one day!
    Tamagrouchy: Yeah, listen to baldy.

  • Done by Stern Pinball as a test run to their own Batman pinball game; two years after its release, Stern came out with a small number of "Standard Model" tables for sale exclusively through CostCo, knocking $700 off the price and stripping out several major playfield elements in the process.
  • Stern did something similar with Iron Man a few months later, selling "Iron Man Classic" tables that removed several components and used a cheaper cabinet for $1,700 less than the original's price.
  • Apparently Stern was pleased with the results, as in 2012 they unveiled "The Pin" line of consumer-oriented bargain tables, sharing a common cabinet and playfield design. Transformers: The Pin was released in 2012, while The Avengers: The Pin came out in 2013. Compared to the originals, "The Pin" games are limited to two players, have a lighter plastic backbox, removed the dot-matrix display, changed the playfield and rules, and omit the music and sound effects. Needless to say, many pinball players consider them Shoddy Knockoffs of the originals.

  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Limerick", Martin buys what he thinks is a genuine Patek Philippe watch from a shady salesman in Hong Kong. He eventually discovers that he was tricked into buying a Shoddy Knockoff. (The clue is when it plays the theme from The Simpsons as an alarm.)

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Peter Kay makes a whole routine about growing up in a British/Irish family that had to count the pennies. A favourite stand-up sketch is called Why Do Mums Buy Crap Coke? and relates his childhood angst that when at the supermarket, his mother would always avoid brand-name Coca-Cola and even Pepsi, despite her son and daughter vocally protesting, and she would always buy own-label or inferior brands like the loathed Rola-Cola, on the grounds these were a fifth of the price and she wasn't made of money.
    But they're CRAP, mum!
  • Similarly, Tim Hawkins has a routine about his mother buying only generic label products, like Toasted Holes (instead of Cheerios) and Beef Assistant (instead of Hamburger Helper).
  • Mitch Hedberg had a routine where he claimed that Mr. Pibb (made by Coca-Cola) was a "bullshit replica" of Dr. Pepper because the latter had a doctorate.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Discworld Roleplaying Game adventure Watch Academy VI: Hogswatchnight, the hot Hogswatch toy in Ankh-Morpork this year is a biothaumic monstrosity called a Burfy. The players are encouraged to think CMOT Dibbler is involved, when actually he's trying to make knockoff Burfies.
  • Knockoffs for trading card games like Pokémon, YuGiOh, and Magic: The Gathering are entirely too common. The knockoffs often have odd errors in the info printed on them, or are missing special touches like holograms, foil, or shininess on cards that are supposed to have them. And then there are the hilarious ones with "Blind Idiot" Translation character names and in the case of attempts to capitalize on the Pokémon GO craze, straight up mobile game screenshots that aren’t actually even playable as any kind of game.
  • Rapidity, a knock-off of Beyblades. Made by a Chinese bootleg toy manufacturer, Hongyi. The alloy used in metal parts leaks acidic fumes if heated even slightly, like being left in a car or even a sunny windowsill on a hot day. Beyond that, all metal and plastic parts are much harder and more brittle, leading to possible breakage and resulting in injury. They also seem to be the primary source of "brandless" metal face bolts and tips during the Metal Saga era, which also were sharp edged and ill-fitting, meaning they could damage legitimate parts as well.
    • Slightly subverted for the subsequent bootleg company SB's line of dirt-cheap Beyblade Burst knockoff toys. While the sets come with miscolored parts/parts that were not as advertised on the box, reviewers have claimed the knockoffs were near identical to the actual toys (such as knockoffs of rubber parts actually being made out of a similar rubber), the only difference being their Beyblades are ever-so-slightly lighter in weight. Another thing worth noting is how fast they produce their knockoffs, with new products released just within weeks of the original item's release.
  • BattleTech multiple in-universes examples:
    • The Inner Sphere-built Rakshasa Humongous Mecha is an inferior copy of the Clan-built Timber Wolf / Mad Cat. While the Rakshasa is actually a competent 'mech in its own right, the clumsy-looking clone pales in comparison to the high-tech Timber Wolf, which carries significantly more firepower, runs cooler in combat, and is more durable, earning the Rakshasa an (often undeserved) bad reputation.
    • Similar to the situation with the Timber Wolf and Rakshasa comes the Inner Sphere Battle Armor Suit, a knockoff of the Clan Elemental Battle Armor. The Inner Sphere Battle Armor Suit is less durable and carries less firepower than the Elemental, but it did have one advantage- it was relatively cheap to produce, making it a popular seller among Inner Sphere factions before they switched over to producing more specialized and effective Battle Armor.
    • Downplayed with the Mad Dog, a Smoke Jaguar-made knockoff of the Timber Wolf. Built around the same basic concept and carrying the same primary weapons, the Mad Dog isn't as good as the Timber Wolf (it's fifteen tonnes lighter and has much less armour and not as many heat sinks), but it fulfills roughly the same role at two thirds the price and — crucially — the Jaguars liberally gave away the production rights, unlike the Wolves who maintained a monopoly and only had a single factory producing the Timber Wolf. The 'knockoff' thus became a Clan workhorse and near omnipresent in all Clan armies, while the original remained an Awesome, but Impractical symbol of Wolf superiority.
    • Manufacturers in the Draconis Combine was also infamous for this when the Inner Sphere began to produce OmniMechs of their own. The controversy came about when they sold OmniMechs that could only use pods that were sold by said manufacturers to other nations, while models that were compatible with salvaged Clan equipment were exclusive to their home nation. The manufacturer's excuse was that they were still working out the bugs in the pod interface, but the Clan-compatible 'Mechs were out at around the same time. Manufacturers in the Free Worlds League (The only other nation at the time to be working on Omnitech) proceeded to return the favor, selling Omni versions of less popular 'Mechs like the Blackjack or Firestarter, also with the same compatibility issue, although the Omni versions were still relatively decent units.
    • During the Jihad, the Word of Blake dusted off the remaining intact old plans from the Star League's Space Defense System, but only managed to make a somewhat inferior copy in the form of the Casper II and Casper III systems. Still quite deadly, but nowhere near as good as the original SDS.
  • There's a bootleg of Blokus called The strategy game for the whole family (the original game's tagline). The game itself is fine; the manual, not so much.
  • Vampire: Undeath, a ripoff of Vampire: The Masquerade which contained many poorly thought-out rules and Rouge Angles of Satin. After a scathing review of it hit RPGNet forums, the ensuing consequences included a very long thread detailing it and other proposed games by its creator Mykal Lakim, Lakim angrily denying accusations of plaigirism (along with threats of a Frivolous Lawsuit) and the threat of a not-so-frivolous lawsuit by White Wolf.

    Web Animation 
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: The Dark Fate is an infamous Russian bootleg of Five Nights at Freddy's: The Stories and to some extent Five Nights at Freddy's: Forgotten Events. It goes beyond a typical mockbuster by copying not only the characters, but duplicating entire scenes with (slightly different) new characters. It also has such blatant copycat characters.
  • Homestar Runner mocked this in the Strong Bad Email "licensed", in which Strong Bad has officially unlicensed Strong Bad merchandise, and objects to Bubs selling legit-looking "unlicensed unlicensed" merchandise. The unlicensed unlicensed merch Bubs sells doesn't seem shoddy at first glance, but includes a pinata that turns out to be full of broken glass instead of candy.
  • Karekore the Half Blood: A middle-aged man named Yasuda decided to create a YouTube channel copying the Karekore. He hired a black man and a model as stand-ins for Cidy and Hisame. Hisame showed him the knockoff channel but Kage didn't care. The channel eventually lost popularity due to people getting tired of their repetive content. As a result, the two people Yasuda hired left him.
  • The Stupid Adventures of Taco-Man has an episode which revolves around Taco-Man taking out a poorly drawn counterpart of his known as Toco-Man.
  • MobéBuds could be considered one for Happy Tree Friends. It's pretty much the same thing (down to episodes being shot scene-for-scene), but with cell phones. In London. Aside from also copying characters from other works, the most different thing about it would probably be Wikky, the show's version of Flippy; but the only reason why he's different is that he rips off Flippy's schtick but not his entire character, therefore making him a major case of Fridge Logic due to Wikky lacking an obvious reason for his behavior.
  • Wolfoo is a Vietnamese YouTube Kids' Channel knockoff of Peppa Pig that rakes in millions of views on YouTube. It has a similar animation style and even reuses sound effects. It also has rather questionable content for a kids' cartoon. Entertainment One is even suing the company behind Wolfoo.


    Web Original 
  • Stuart Ashen specializes in reviewing cheap knock-off products; usually game consoles and toys. The most famous being the POP Stations: A series of cheap and unplayable LCD handheld games made to look like existing video game consoles. A number of the links on this page lead directly to his reviews of how shoddy these knockoffs really are. He has also branched out to fake cellphones and the occasional fake toy.
  • Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media occasionally reviews knock-off toys and merchandise in his videos. In this video in particular, he reviews a bunch of iPod knockoffs and his friendly demeanor slowly dissolves to be replaced with disappointment and confusion that such things are allowed to exist.
  • JonTron spent one video reviewing Disney Bootleg games, culminating in an entire website of shoddily made (and sometimes horrifying) Frozen (2013) flash games.
  • leokimvideo often reviews cheap knock-off (or as he calls them, "Dark Side") toys based on various children's franchises such as Thomas & Friends, Angry Birds and Despicable Me. To ensure no child ever plays with them, not only does he show why these toys are inferior and dangerous, but he often ends up destroying them as well. His favorite method seems to be fitting small bombs in them, but he has also been known to smash them up with a hammer, set them on fire, put them in a blender, or even put them in a wood crusher.
  • Phelous started his own series of videos called "Bootleg Zones" with The Phayllus where he reviews bootleg action figures. Downplayed by the second episode, where it is clear that the show extends to reviewing bootleg products that are of decent quality almost matching (or in some aspects succeeding) the originals. Part of the rating system used for the reviews is how well they fare as a substitute for the originals.
    • Inverted with "Miraculous Merchandise Zone" with Phelous, which he notes is "the bootleg of Bootleg Zones", in that it mainly deals with genuine official merchandise. It even got its own purple backdrop from the second episode onward, to better distinguish itself from Bootleg Zone's orange background.
  • Chadtronic has made several videos about knock-off toys and objects. These have featured everything from bootleg Pokémon toys (many of which are very Off-Model and do nothing but light up), bootleg Furby toys, fake/bootleg Pokémon cards (which, Chad notes, seemed to experience a resurgence in the wake of Pokémon GO, as this is what many of the ones in that particular video were themed after), and even a small unofficial bumper car toy with Mario in it.
  • Robert Cop The Movie! - The Furniture of Law Enforcement — edited by Tipoc — is a parody movie trailer of the Robert Cop knockoff toy (itself a knockoff of RoboCop). Ultraman footage is spliced in with Ultraman himself playing Robert Cop, and WALL•E takeing the place of RoboCain and getting equipped with a heavy machine gun. The Terminator is also thrown in, with the "Dead or alive, I'll be back." tagline.
  • Sonic Gear, a fan site dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise, has a section dedicated to Sonic bootlegs, including games, plush, clothing, and home decor. Some are creepy, while some are bland and some are hilarious to look at.
  • Space Hamster has done several videos on bootleg video games, including Super Mario Bros. games for the Sega Genesis. Humorously, one of the three happens to be a reskin of a game that was itself a bootleg of a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers game. He also tackles Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Star Wars, and Harry Potter bootlegs in later videos.
  • Tropedia and AllTheTropes may look like shoddy knock-offs of TV Tropes, but they really aren't; they're actually quite different and cover different subjects.
  • Reddit has a thread dedicated to this trope: /r/crappyoffbrands.
  • Jobby the Hong found that the Figma Snow Miku he ordered ended up being one, as evidenced by how many of its joints were broken straight out of the package.
  • Red Bard has several videos dedicated to bootleg anime merchandise.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield", Homer goes to a discount electronics store:
      Homer: Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
      Bart: Don't be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.
      Homer: Hey, I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there's Magnetbox, and Sorny!
    • Springfield Elementary at one time served "Malk" instead of milk. ("Now with Vitamin R!")
    • Superintendent Chalmers takes his "coffee-flavored Beverine" "grey with Creamium".
  • Family Guy
    • The show references the Lego/Mega Bloks example:
    Peter: You got Legos? Aw, sweet! Lois only buys me Mega Bloks.
    Lois: They're the same thing, Peter.
    Peter: You know what, Lois? They are not the same thing. And the sooner you get that through your thick skull, the sooner we can get this marriage back on track.
    • And then there's the store brand imitation Frosted Flakes featuring Terry the Tiger.
    Terry the Tiger: They'rrrrrrrrrrrrre food!
  • Lampshaded in Futurama, when Fry is duped by a back alley organ trader who tries to convince him that Z-Ray eyes are even better than X-Ray eyes.
  • Martini in Olive, the Other Reindeer sells knockoff Rolexxx watches. Olive was suspicious about it at first, but ended up buying one of these anyway, with predictable results. The Big Ben is also a Rolexxx.
    Olive: I didn't know Rolex had three X's.
  • One episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat featured a Corrupt Corporate Executive who sold cheap knockoffs of Felix's magic bag. At first, the only noticeable difference was that the copies were black where the original is yellow and vice-versa. However, they used cheap materials to replace expensive ones because the boss said the customers would never know and to replace materials the spies failed to identify while analyzing the original bag because nobody would care. Despite knowing the knockoffs would be dangerous, they mass-produced the black bags.
  • An episode of The Powerpuff Girls was about bootleg versions of the girls.
  • An episode of Arthur featured a product called Woogles, which you could squeeze, stretch, bounce, and customize. Woogles had a cheap knockoff called Poogles, which looked like a potato and couldn't do anything.
  • Garfield and Friends had "The Genuine Article", where there is a knockoff Garfield named Gabriel. Even the names of the characters are similar! For example, Odie is now Ollie.
    • The newspaper comic would (much later) introduce a one-shot character by the name of "Grafield".
      Garfield: Call our lawyer.
  • In South Park, a game at a Crappy Carnival offers Terrance and Phillip dolls as prizes, which Kyle desperately tries to win. After making A Simple Plan to raise $5,000 to spend on the game, he finally gets his hands on some, only for them to turn out to be crude fakes which fall apart easily.
  • In Zootopia, the movies being sold by Duke Weaselton are labeled "pre-theatrical release", "completely authentic", and "non-infringing entertainment". He's got Wranglednote , Wreck-It Rhino note , Meowana, and Pig Hero 6. He's even got movies that hadn't come out yet, like Girafficnote , and Floatzen 2.
  • Robot Chicken had the World War Z parody sketch "World War B (as in blocks)", which was one big parody of the various LEGO imitators that arose from its patent having expired. The survivors were LEGO minifigures and the zombies were Kre-O.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has the "Game Child", a shoddy knockoff of the Game Boy which was made in "Chainor". Also parodied in "The Copycats", which (rather aggressively) pokes fun at Miracle Star, an actual Chinese knockoff of Gumball mentioned elsewhere on this page.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans Go!, the Titans other than Robin are turned into collectible figures and he has to hunt them down. He orders Raven from an online store, only to receive a bootleg who repeatedly mangles her Magical Incantation while the real Raven was in the possession of the Monster of the Week.
  • The first episode of Dilbert had a Scrabble Babble bit and Dilbert took a look at the dictionary, which was full of random misspellings and even missing words; when Dilbert wonders "What kinda stupid dictionary is this?" he turns it over — "Wibster's?!" Naturally, this was a product of Dilbert's company.
  • Video Brinquedo is a Brazilian company notorious for making cheap knock offs of popular animated movies. Some of their widely known ones are Western Animation/Ratatoing, The Little Panda Fighter and The Little Cars. The animation and plots are definitely inferior to the real things.

  • A group on Flickr titled Fake Products: Mutant Knockoffs is entirely dedicated to collecting photographic evidence of these sorts of imitations. Some of them are quite hilarious. Even more at The Chinese Copy Pool.
  • Tumblr once featured a list (now defunct) of humorous My Little Pony, The Avengers, and Justice League of America knockoffs. Changes include Mr. Incredible and Shrek as being part of a Justice League knockoff; ponies with gigantic heads; and Batman being referred to as "Morgan Freeman."
  • During The Apartheid Era, South Africa was isolated from the western world by sanctions and embargoes. These applied strongly in the entertainment world, meaning film and TV production staff were also strongly discouraged from working for South African producers who were left trying to get the same technical effects as best they could. It's obvious, watching the puppet/marionette children's show Die Liewe Heksie that the technical production staff were heavily influenced by Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation, and were seeking to copy it as best they could. The puppets have SM-style features built into them - animated mouths for speech, etc, eyes capable of movement and tears, etc. But the local imitation doesn't quite match the original inspiration in terms of technical competence. Good try, though.
    • It is fair to say that in the second series, the quality of the production, sets, and puppets exponentially improves, as might be expected from creative talent who have by then had a lot of experience.
  • Prongles are a knock-off of Pringles potato crisps, with an extreme sports-loving warthog mascot and a suspiciously similar slogan ("Once You Pop... That's Great!"), cooked up by the creators of Cards Against Humanity as a promotional gimmick.
  • There's a picture showing Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger on one side, and Frosty Corn Flakes with Generic Tiger on the other. Tony says, "They're GRRRREAT!". 'My dude on the right': "They aight. You hungry, ain't you?"
  • Hockey writer Sean McIndoe decided to do an "Off-Brand All-Stars" team (article paywalled) where everyone sounds like a much better NHL star. Three downright had the same names (Taylor Hall, Jack Hughes, Erik Karlsson), but all the other players fit this trope very well: Wayne Grotski, Conor McDavitt, Nobby Clark, Michel Dion, Alec Ovenden, Stephane Richer, Joe Sacco, Guy Larose, Louis Robitaille, Pavel Burger, Billy Orr, Bryan Leitch, Bob Blake, Dunc Wilson, Gary Murphy, Martin Brochu and Roy Patrick.

    Real Life 

  • During the 1970s and 1980s, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars had other wannabe brands that almost (but not quite) resembled the original: Payless Shoe Stores had Pro Wings high-tops that (except for the heel patches) could be considered a low-budget version of Chuck Taylors. Kinney Shoes, a now-defunct shoe store chain, had Stadia hightops, which like Payless's Pro Wings hightops, had different heel patches. Both of these were made of canvas and had the same basic lace-up scheme. By contrast, modern dollar convenience stores (like Family Dollar, Dollar General, et al.) have inexpensive brands sold for about $10-$15 that have honeycomb soles instead of Converse's diamond patterned waffle soles and no heel patch emblems, not even coming close to resembling Converse high-tops.
  • During the 70s-80s and even to an extent today, the Fender Stratocaster was a victim of frequent awful duplicates and clones until Fender took matters into their own hands and began to produce Squier guitars, budget-priced Japanese-made Fender products.
  • Since third-world countries are a major trading partner of China, the quality of the knock off products has become something of a business model. There are several levels of quality, ranging from abysmal to almost as good as the real thing. There was a direct connection between the quality of the items and the affluence of the importer. In theory, this allows everyone to get a taste of the product, albeit in varying qualities. Compare that with original Western products that are good quality but often times over the price range of the average buyer in third world locales such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In Brazil and in China (see Engadget's Keepin' It Real Fake section), cheap knockoffs of smartphones are very common. They're also more common than you'd think in the US, especially in lower-income urban areas. Most of the times, they copy the iPhone, Nokia smartphones, or Android-based phones.
    • In China, there have even been companies set up that do nothing but copy name-brand phones. Underground "shanzhai" firms are known to be extremely proficient at copying the externals of Nokia phones and those of other manufacturers, although the internals and interface are often based on off-the-shelf parts. A well-publicised example of this is Goophone, who made headlines after suing Apple for allegedly "copying" their iPhone 5 clone, on the grounds that they released their version first.
  • Knockoff "Vintage" phonographs made in India/China are common on eBay/antique stores. Sometimes, they're correctly labeled and sold as replicas, but some sellers tend to attempt to pass them off as authentic Victor phonographs from the early 20th century. While they look real to the average person, experienced collectors can easily identify them as fakes by the shape of the box, materials used, and parts on the player.
  • Mike Mozart of Jeepers Media once reviewed a bunch of knockoff iPods. The reality of these things annoyed him a great deal. He strongly recommends the official iPods in this case.
  • The city of Kunming, China contains an almost perfect copy of an Apple Store. A few tiny tip-offs include displaying the name of the store (real stores just show the Apple logo) and the employees' name tags just simply saying "Staff" rather than their name. Amazingly enough, even the employees were fooled.
    • There's also 11 Furniture Store, a fake Ikea that copies almost everything about it, but the cafeteria serves traditional Chinese food instead of Swedish food. This is also located in Kunming.
  • With the return of the ceiling fan to popularity in the late 1970's-early 1980's, most quality models (such as this Hunter Original) were made in the USA, had long-lasting motors and parts, were relatively quiet, and could cost well over $250-300 new (roughly $1,000 on today's market). Enter the $29.95 offering from "Family Handyman" magazine, complete with the advertisement literally "daring you to tell us the difference"... well, listen for yourself... and enjoy the yellow plastic while you're at it.
    • Subverted with Classic Fan, Commander Electric, and a few other companies that made replicas of the Original, some of which used the same sort of oil bath motor as the real thing.
  • A Chinese company named Lifan used to make and sell "Hongda" motorcycles which were shoddy copies of Honda's models, until Honda sued and put a stop to it.
  • Many Japanese guitar companies started like this, Tokai still doing this as well, as Edwards (by ESP), but now only in Japan. For a long time no manufacturer was interested as their models was a letdown in quality (eg. bolt on neck instead of set neck, laminated wood instead of solid mahogany, hardware was made from pot metal), but at some time, they managed to make better guitars than eg. Gibson (inverted this trope), but still exact replicas. This resulted in lawsuits instantly and then, original models or No Export for You. The most famous was Ibanez, which itself ripped off a destroyed Spanish manufacturer's name.
  • Wired once reviewed the "HiPhone", a knockoff of the iPhone made in China. The reviewer said "It's called the HiPhone, I think, because you'd have to be high to actually buy it."
  • Believe it or not, there is a difference between a Real Genuine Nardi Steering Wheel, and an actual Nardi steering wheel.
    "Why would anyone buy one of these? Oh wait, 'cause they're cheap!"
  • In Belarus around 2010, one of the most popular television shows was The Theorists, where every single episode was a loosely translated episode of The Big Bang Theory, complete with expys of every single main character from the show. Chuck Lorre called out the series in a vanity card at the end of a Big Bang episode. Fortunately, before Warner Bros. had to sue, The Theorists ended when its stars walked off the job.
    • According to interviews with actors from The Theorists, they had no idea The Big Bang Theory existed or that their show was a direct clone of the hit American show.
  • In February 2014, a Burger King in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania came under scrutiny for selling food that was obviously not Burger King's — fries in Dixie cups, generic burgers in tinfoil, soft drinks in generic polystyrene cups, and generic brown paper bags. And they had apparently been doing this since November 2013. It turns out that it they had lost the rights to the Burger King franchise and were ostensibly "in transition" to becoming an independent restaurant, but not before ripping off literally hundreds of customers who thought they would be getting Whoppers and Tendercrisps. Four days later, the Burger King signs were taken down and the place was said to be closed. However, only a few days later, it was announced that a new franchise had bought the building and it was quickly reverted to a real Burger King.
  • Foodstuffs, even ordinary ones, can be faked. In China, there are fake foods. You can guess that some of these foods are Nausea Fuel and I Ate WHAT?! material.
  • One New British University has the chutzpah to style itself UCLAn, possibly in the vanishing hope Preston, Lancashirenote , will be confused, by those who failed geography, with the nicer bits of California. The very small inobtrusive "n" after the "UCLA" was the result of Our Lawyers Advised This Trope. It is possible that its savvier graduates might play this for all its worth on their CV's, hoping employers won't look at the small fine detail.
    • Another New British University, formerly the tech college serving Flintshire, wasn't so lucky. It tried to brand itself "Yale College", in honor of Elihu Yale, a Welshman from the area who lived in colonial New England for a while and became the main benefactor and namesake of Yale University in Connecticut. Yale University, which used to be called Yale College, and still uses the name for its undergraduate school, sued the Welsh school for trademark infringement. It ended in a settlement that specified that the Welsh school always had to brand itself as either Yale College Wrexham (in English), or Coleg Iâl (in Welsh). It eventually merged with other regional schools into Coleg Cambria, and the campus is now called Coleg Cambria-Yale.
    • This happens in Malaysia too. One college has the chutzpah to call itself M.I.T. Academy (no relation to the real MIT), nevermind that they’re more than 10,000 miles away from the real deal. Which is not helping the country’s already bad rep in regards to the consumption of counterfeit goods and piracy.
  • There’s a coffee shop at a street mall in Malaysia called “Coffee Stain”. Game Developer Coffee Stain Studios were alerted about it, but since they’re located in a different part of the world and are not in the same line of business, no action can be taken.
  • Sites like eBay and AliExpress have become the online version of selling knockoffs on the street. Since buyers depend on the photo of the item being accurate, sellers in China and Hong Kong mass produce fakes and sell them on the sites with the official pics used to trick unwary buyers. This, unfortunately, raises the price of the legitimate items as the companies try to make up for lost profit.
  • Diploma mills often give themselves names that are almost-but-not-quite the same as prestigious schools. For bonus points, it's not terribly uncommon for them to have a mailing address in a town (or even just on a street) with the name of a different prestigious school, so you wind up with a "school" in a small town southeast of Wichita, KS named something like "Harvard Institute University of Oxford". It’s because of diploma mills like these that some employers and immigration procedures require that the transcript be submitted to a certification body to procure a letter that the certificate is legitimate, overall making things harder on people.
  • Replica cars are cars designed to look like more expensive models. While some are really close to the real deal, some are not...
  • There is a saying among Chinese folks about knock-off "brands": They're only using a fake name because they're not a good enough copy to use the actual name.
  • In the late 60s/early 70s, a recording outfit put out compilations of covers from an ensemble calling themselves the Sound Effects. Each cut was performed to sound like its original artist without actually doing so. The more discriminating buying public weren't fooled and this enterprise folded quickly. Even so, groups such as The Countdown Singers and The Hit Crew continue this scheme into the present day. In 2012, a knockoff of "Payphone" by Maroon 5 peaked at #9 on the UK Singles Chart before the real version was available for purchase.
  • This trope is how 70s leisure suits got their bad reputation, even before they were Condemned by History. After the success of Saturday Night Fever cheap imitations and shoddy knockoffs flooded the market, crowding out the legitimate brands. Then the Disco Backlash came into play, destroying any chance at a comeback.
  • "Zoot Suits" died out in a similar fashion. Though here, the knockoffs were spawned by wartime rationing of the materials (forcing cheaper materials to be used) and the killing blow was anti-Mexican racism.
  • Protegent Antivirus, a knockoff antivirus software that gets widely accused of being a virus. Notorious for their YouTube videos, all of which feature their mascot, Totally Not Whyatt, either rapping terribly or showing animated people the antivirus and what it does.
  • The "Olympia", also sold as "Canomatic", "Nikai", and other names that include the ones of serious camera makers is just a crappy plastic (film!) camera with the looks of a costly SLR one and often its price too- to use a chunk of lead to make it heavier is just the smallest issue. More info here. A digital equivalent to it is also not hard to find on Internet.
  • Unfortunately, SD cards (mainly online purchases) can be forged to imitate a larger capacity, so it is good practice to run new/used cards through Fake Flash Test or similar testing software to ensure that your data will be safe on the card(s). This is also the reason why data recovery facilities advise users to steer clear of promotional flash drives given away at conventions as they are a ticking time bomb—good luck trying to recover from one once they fail all of a sudden.
  • In a similar vein to the SD card example above, surplus units of older-generation Nvidia and AMD video cards such as the GeForce GTX 550 Ti or GTS 450 can be flashed with a hacked BIOS to make it appear as a newer-generation model, often reporting as a "1050 Ti" or something along those lines. While they do more or less work in some cases, they're mostly cut-price trash with (newer) games performing poorly if not crashing outright due to said hacked firmware.note  Unfortunately, sites like eBay have been flooded to the brim with these cards, and as what a YouTuber stated, it is just as unfortunate and disgusting that the ones selling them are preying on impressionable youths eager to play Fortnite on their budget gaming rigs. This may have also been one of the factors that led to GPU manufacturers locking down on BIOS modding, not to mention that it also led to an unfortunate side effect where the Nouveau open-source driver team is unable to implement certain features due to the video BIOS being so locked down tight.
  • Subverted with aftermarket clones of Harley-Davidson and Chevrolet engines as while they are effectively unauthorised reproductions of said motors, their quality and performance is either on par with the ones they're imitating, or better than the OEM offerings by more than a margin. Harley did sue at least two clone manufacturers in the 2000s for alleged patent infringement, but the practice still continues to this day, albeit with S&S having to use names vaguely reminiscent of the original Harley engines they were based of, such as the "T-Series" (no, not that T-Series) clone of the Twin Cam. One manufacturer did gain a dubious reputation though, specifically the RevTech line of crate engines and transmissions from Custom Chrome—their six-speed gearboxes were described by the late mechanical engineer and entrepreneur Alan Sputhe, also a purveyor of Harley reproduction engines, as "an engineering abomination". Many a horror story could be found on Harley-Davidson fan forums about its supposed unreliability, and some merely steer clear from them because they're not "American-made" (i.e. made in Korea), though some argued that their quality has improved somewhat over the years.
  • Shirley Temple's popularity led to both licensed merchandise and counterfeit goods featuring her likeness, such as "an army of unlicensed dolls, clothing and oddities came marching onstage" and even cigars with her face printed on the bands. While she was in retrospect appalled by the "elusive commercial scoundrels" unfairly cashing in on her childhood fame, she concluded that it made no financial sense to go after the counterfeiters considering the costs of litigation and the economy of the time.
  • A confectionery company in the Philippines called Columbia Food Products came up with their own malt drink named "Chocquick" in 2005. It wasn't before long that Nestle took notice and sued Columbia for trademark infringement, as the packaging bore a suspicious resemblance to Milo, most especially the green, gold and white colour scheme and the logo itself, though in the case of Chocquik Columbia used a Spencerian script similar to Columbia's corporate logo. Boxes of Chocquik were seized following a search warrant, though the case was eventually dismissed, concluding that "this jurisdiction finds that there is no probably cause that Columbia’s Chocquik products constitute an infringement on Nestle’s trademarks or an act of unfair competition" and Nestle didn't have any exclusive rights to the colour scheme used in Milo.
  • There exists a motorcycle brand in Angola named Keweseki, which is quite obviously a dig at the real Kawasaki. The bikes—some of them actually clones of the Honda CG 125—appear little more than rebranded Chinese motorcycles made by a certain OEM. Further driving the faux-Japanese branding home is the inscription "せんたんぎじ也つ" (translit. "Sentangijiyatsu") occasionally used on the logo, which looks vaguely Japanese but makes absolutely no sense to a Japanese speaker. The latter spawned a minor meme in Japan as bemused Japanese netizens and at least one television show commented on what amounts to a bizarre mangling of an established motorcycle brand.
  • After McDonald's pulled out of Russia due to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, a trademark was filed for "Uncle Vanya", a restaurant whose logo is just the Golden Arches on its side, modified to look like a Russian "В" (No word on whether they serve burgers on Chekhov's Bun). Another Russian McDonald's knockoff, "Vkusno & Tochka" ("Tasty & That's It"), which now occupies most of the restaurants McDonald's left behind, became infamous for serving buns with molds and rotten meat.
  • The American company Krool Toys has made homebrew Unlicensed Games for Game Boy, and also made a T-shirt with Doraemon characters on it. It is unknown if that T-shirt is actually unlicensed bootleg or not.
  • A small, private historically black college in Lynchburg, Virginia was founded in 1886 as the Lynchburg Baptist Seminary. After being called Virginia Seminary and College for a long time, in 1996 it changed its name to Virginia University of Lynchburg. For its sports teams, it's adopted the branding of "Virginia-Lynchburg", which rather unsubtly, and falsely, implies that it's a campus of the University of Virginia, and the school doesn't really go out of its way to discourage this misconception.
  • The Swiss-owned discount chain Dali gained a bit of notoriety in the Philippines—its initial target market—for thinly-veiled store-brand versions of household products popular in the country such as "Grandiosa" bread (a dig on the popular Gardenia loaf bread) and "Go Nutt" which is not quite Nutella.

  • The Soviet Union coined the term "Monkey Model" to describe a piece of military equipment that was significantly inferior to the original that it was based on but was much cheaper to build. The purpose of these simplified Monkey Models were to replace front-line stocks if a war went on for several weeks and for export to countries that wanted to buy Russian Military Equipment but were either too poor or of questionable intentions to be allowed use of the real stuff. For example, Iraq received "Monkey Model" T-72M, while Syria (considered a closer and more reliable ally despite adhering to a non-Marxist and Arab nationalist strain of socialism) received the T-72M1 which was significantly closer in capability to the USSR's own T-72A. This is a major part of why despite both nations using the "T-72" as their primary tank, Syrian tank divisions fared much better against Israel in the Arab-Israeli Wars than Iraqi tankers did against the United States in the Gulf War and Iraq War. (The other reason of course being that the Syrian Army also got Soviet training, while the Iraqi Army was more or less sold the tanks and told to have at it.)
    • Iraq took it a step further with their own T-72 copy, the Asad Babil (Lion of Babylon), which were of extremely variable quality. Some even were made out of mild steel instead of properly hardened armor! Others, probably assembled from spare parts that had previously been imported from Poland, were basically identical to a Soviet-made T-72M1 aside from adaptations to make the tracks less likely to be jammed up by sandstorms.
  • China has a reputation for doing exactly this with their military hardware, sometimes obtained legitimately—the Soviet Union donated a lot of plans and tooling in the 1950s and 60s- but frequently through reverse-engineering or industrial espionage.
    • Their Type 99 main battle tank is a derivative of the Russian T-72, which was incidentally the tank the People's Liberation Army thought they were most likely to be facing in the event of general war. (Communism was not one big happy family at the time, to say the least.)
    • Their latest attack helicopter, the Z-10 initially had parts from the Manguska and Euro-copter Tiger helicopters, and still bears a slight resemblance to the latter.
    • The Chinese bought the old aircraft carrier Varyag from the Russians and completed her for service as the Liaoning. The aircraft used? A carbon copy of the Su-33.
    • The Chengdu J-10 Měnglóng ("Vigorous Dragon") (entered service in 2006) is claimed by China to be a development of the 1975 prototype Chengdu J-9. But the J-10 is dramatically more advanced than the fairly primitive J-9 and only vaguely resembles it (in the sense that both are delta wing fighters with canards). On the other hand, the J-10 looks quite suspiciously similar to the IAI Lavi, a promising Israeli fighter prototype cancelled under political pressure from the US in 1987. As such it's suspected that China covertly purchased the Lavi blueprints and made their own version with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
    • This was already going on during the interwar period, as many metal fabricators were set to work making weapons for the various warlord factions, including this selection of pistols showcased by Forgotten Weapons. These weapons were based on known brands of self-loading pistols but clearly weren't, with quality ranging from plain crap to surprisingly good, but copied in form and not function, due the manufacturer simply being told to make copies of a gun and not knowing much about them. Some would reliably fire, but had all manner of secondary functions that were simply left as solid details with no moving parts, dead loose, or simply with no alignment at all. Particularly the rear sights were often marked with a series of nonsensical numbers due to the manufacturers not being able to read European languages, and just stamping on improper makers' marks, nonsense graduations and strings of total gibberish all over the item. Others, such as the National Revolutionary Army's German-derived Chiang Kai-shek and Hanyang 88 field rifles, were mass-produced at government-controlled arsenals with comparable quality to western firearms such as the Enfield.
  • The old Soviet Union wasn't above this sort of thing either, especially early on. A lot of its early tank designs were copied exactly from models that were either legitimately bought (albeit without licensing) or smuggled piece by piece into the country; the BT-2 tanks (predecessors to the famous T-34) were improved versions of the M1928 Christie Tank. Their early jet fighters were powered by close copies of Rolls Royce engines.note  Then there is the interesting case of the Tu-4, which was reverse-engineered from a handful of American Boeing B-29 bombers that were confiscated after making emergency landings in Russia during World War II.note  However, neither the engines, used to power the deadly MiG-15 fighter, nor the Tu-4 Bull, which was a major worry to the United States in the 1950s, could legitimately be described as "shoddy".
  • North Korea takes the cake in this area, since the Korean People's Army's equipment is generally a shoddy knock-off of shoddy knock-offs from China. The nec plus ultra of their copying has to be their Harbin H-5s. The Harbin H-5 is a Chinese knock-off of the Soviet Ilyushin Il-28, which had its first flight in 1950. The originals were powered by the RD-45, an unlicensed knock-off of the Rolls-Royce Nene, a British engine from 1944 (and which was quickly passed over in favor of the better Rolls-Royce Avon). This means North Korea flies airframes that are Chinese knock-offs of a six-decade old Soviet design, powered by North Korean knock-offs of Chinese knock-offs of Russian knock-offs of a British design that is over 70 years old. Glory to Kim Il-sung and Juche-Songun thought, eh?
    • If that doesn't make your head spin, then this probably will: North Korea's missile program is based on designs reverse-engineered from Egyptian, Syrian, and Chinese missiles, which came from the Soviet Union, which in turn were based on Nazi rockets. The designs of these missiles has since been exported to Iran and Pakistan, who then made their own knock-off missiles.
  • Iran produces knock-offs of Russian and Chinese military equipment, in addition to Western armaments that were present in the country prior to the Iranian Revolution. While they have no problems producing upgraded versions of most Cold War-era tanks and aircraft, they have considerable difficulties with replicating more sophisticated weapon systems: the American F-14 Tomcatnote  is one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in their inventory, yet it has proven almost impossible for them to reverse-engineer for the past forty years. This is particularly problematic, considering that the only source of spare parts for the aircraft comes from a country that is now their enemy.
  • The Israeli Aircraft Industries Nesher fighter was a knockoff of the French Dassault Mirage V, produced from stolen plans after France embargoed the sale of Mirage V aircraft to Israel. The IAI Kfir was a development of the Nesher with the addition of canards and a more powerful American General Electric J79 engine replacing the Nesher's SNECMA Atar.
  • Showing that military knockoffs are, in fact, Older Than Print: In Viking Age Europe, there was a famous swordsmith called Ulfberht (could be a monastery or a family of swordsmiths of this name, the historians aren't sure). The Ulfberht swords were famous for their quality and the special steel used in making them (very likely imported crucible steel); they bore the name of the smithy inlaid into the fuller in wrought iron as a brand. Such was the prestige of the name that disreputable smiths produced fake "Ulfberht" swords. The easiest ways to tell the fakes from the real deal is that the fakes often have misspelled inlaysnote  and tend to have fancier fittingsnote .
  • And even older. The Roman legions became shoddier versions of themselves several times: first, when they started issuing military equipment to the conscripts (before, every legionnaire had to buy his own on his own money; this immediately dropped the quality of Roman armor and helmets from "best your money can buy" to "manufactured by the lowest bidder"), then when they started recruiting non-citizens and granting citizenship for the service. The following barbarization of the legions drove shoddiness even further. This was in part mitigated by improving the weaponry, recruiting auxiliaries and increasing the numbers, but the quality or the recruits slowly dropped all through the Roman history.
  • As insurgent forces often times have to make due with whatever they can get their hands on, they're frequently equipped with weapons ranging from factory-made functional weapons to homemade duplicates of dubious quality. The most infamous of these are the Khyber Pass copies. As the name indicates, many originate from the Khyber Pass region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, although they aren't limited to this region. Like the Chinese knockoffs mentioned above, these range from copies that look as good as the real deal to vaguely gun-shaped lumps of metal, and are often made of everything from spare firearms parts to haphazardly put-together copies of actual firearms parts made out of whatever scrap metal their creator could get their hands on.
  • Like Khyber Pass, the city of Danao in Cebu, Philippines gained a notoriety for its cottage industry of backyard gunsmiths producing replicas of .38 caliber revolvers and Colt 1911s using scraps such as angle irons commonly used as construction materials. Despite appearing to be well made, with some examples even bearing markings taken from American firearms, they are otherwise reported to be of poor quality, lacking rifling and are deemed to be more dangerous to the shooter than their target, no thanks to the fact that these "paltik" guns as they are known locally are made using basic tools such as files and hacksaws, with checks for accuracy being rudimentary at best. A number of these guns are unfortunately been in use by street gangs and drug fiends in gang wars and drug deals, though according to local gunsmiths in Danao, despite their seedy reputation they had no other choice but to continue doing what they do best for decades as it helped them put food on their table, even if it meant either living under constant fear of police raids or the equally constant guilt of having someone killed using the firearms they made. There has been some efforts at legitimising the firearms industry in Danao, though, and one such gunsmith has petitioned Rodrigo Duterte—whose father's family is from Danao and whose cousin is currently serving as its mayor—to help legalise the gun-making industry in Danao and thus curb the spread of loose firearms through regulation.

Someone buy up, quick!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Shoddy Knockoff, Pop Station


Appple phones

In this parody of Spongebob where it takes place in China, Spongebob talks about the Appple phones that are clearly ripoffs of Apple.

How well does it match the trope?

3.79 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShoddyKnockoffProduct

Media sources: