I have pretty much written all I care to on this topic, or certainly will have following this post. I had tried to avoid becoming entangled in this particular brier-patch, but events of the last week made it impossible to ignore. Read my prior posts (here & here) if you don’t know the background.
I reached out yesterday to both KAI and Microtech, seeking official statement on the defamation lawsuits filed by the latter. I received a polite “No Comment” from KAI, and this evening I received a phone call from Microtech counsel Daniel Lawson. I will detail our cordial conversation in a minute, but first here is a statement that was published to Microtech’s Facebook Page a couple of hours ago:
Freedom of Expression and Defamation
The First Amendment to the US Constitution provides that the government cannot censor speech, prevent people from peaceably gathering together, establish a religion, or prevent people from freely exercising religious beliefs.
This right to free speech entitles a person the freedom to form and express their own opinion, to the extent that they do not incite or cause harm to others in doing so.
A person has every right to call someone an asshole, or to publicly state that they don’t like a product. They’re entitled to say that it’s a bad product. These are all statements of opinion and are protected under the First Amendment.
Todd Hunt talks about his most famous knife, CRKT’s latest release in their Forged By War® program, UK cops face off against an otherworldly foe and more strange news in todays roundup.
I have a buddy who is an avid outdoorsman and knife enthusiast who lives in Michigan. He wasn’t closely following the effort to repeal Michigan’s ban on automatic knives, beyond our coverage here, because he honestly did not believe it would pass the Senate. Well…he was wrong. It did in fact pass the Senate, by a wide margin as it turned out. Now Knife Rights is asking for your help to get the bill out of the House Judiciary Committee and onto the full House.
From Knife Rights:
The Michigan Senate has passed Knife Rights’ Michigan Switchblade Ban Repeal bill, SB 245, by a vote of 109 – 36. Congratulations to our sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones, on getting it passed in the Senate. The bill has now moved over to the House where it has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
If you live, work or travel in Michigan, please contact the Judiciary Committee members TODAY and politely ask them to “please vote “YES” on SB 245.” That’s all you need to do, short and simple.
You can easily SEND AN EMAIL to all the members of the Committee using Knife Rights new Legislative Action Center: Click here to send emails to the CommitteeOr you can easily get the phone numbers to CALL all the members of the Committee using Knife Rights new Legislative Action Center: Click here for phone numbers for the Committee Members
Editors Note: This post has been updated following a phone conversation with Microtech counsel Daniel Lawson. Changes made are in bold and the original text remains in place with a “strikethrough”.
When I concluded my post last night with the semi-prophetic words “Stay tuned, this looks to be far from over”, I wasn’t postulating that I would have more to write about the Matrix/ZT 0777/Natrix dust-up and the Microtech lawsuit against Anthony Sculimbrene today.
This latest news began bubbling on BladeForums and Reddit in the past couple of days, and I received a tip this afternoon. Microtech and their lead designer Anthony Marfione have filed a lawsuit against KAI (parent company of ZT, Kershaw, and Shun) and their Social Media Manager Kale Beyer who, as Microtech refers to it – “uttered, published, and distributed defamatory statements as to Marfione”). I would simply call it sharing Anthony Sculimbrene’s piece “The Story behind the Greatest Knife of All-time” from Everyday Commentary on social media.
Or as Firefly puts it:
Surprising exactly no one with an ounce of common sense, despite efforts to remove blades from public hands through “bin campaigns” and a complicit media, knife crime in the UK has continued to rise, to the tune of 12,074 offenses in the 2016-2017 financial year, an increase of 24 percent. Continue Reading
I want to start by saying that I hate lawfare – the use of legal action to hamstring one’s rivals in court as opposed to letting the free market decide. I was critical of Cold Steel when they sued CRKT. I was extremely critical of Cold Steel sending Cease & Desist letters to knifemakers over the use of the ancient Japanese term “san-mai” steel (CS does have a trademark over a particularly stylized, all caps logo with 3 parallel lines saying “SAN MAI “).
For those unfamiliar, there has been a long-running feud between between Microtech and KAI (Kershaw/ZT/Shun) dating back to 2011 over the “uncanny resemblance” between the ZT 0777 (BLADE Show 2011 “Knife of the Year”) and the Microtech Matrix. In fact, Microtech admits that the Matrix was modeled on the 0777 as a result of a direct challenge from KAI representatives. The situation had calmed down as both knives were retired from their companies’ respective lineups, but flared up again this year when Kershaw released the Natrix at this year’s SHOT show – in what Microtech has called a football-style “late-hit”.
Now Microtech has sued blogger Anthony Sculimbrene of Everyday Commentary for defamation and related offenses over an article he wrote referring to the Natrix as “The Greatest Knife of All-time”, mostly due to its not-so-subtle multi-pronged dig at Microtech and designer Anthony Marfione. You can read the complete Microtech response to the Natrix here.