Tag Archives: lawsuit

Jayco Introduces the Hummingbird

Middlebury, Indiana based Jayco, Inc. has introduced a new product to their travel trailer line for 2017 called the Hummingbird. Currently there are three floorplans  for this new lightweight unit that, as you might guess with one look at it, will be in direct competition with Forest River’s R-pod and Winnebago’s Winnie Drop.

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The three floor plans will be the 2715 lbs Hummingbird 17FD:

hummingbird-17fd

 

The (weight TBD) Hummingbird 17RB:

hummingbird-17rb

 

And the 2910 lbs Hummingbird 17RK:

hummingbird-17rk

From the specs on the Jayco website, they’ll have 25 gallon tanks for fresh, gray, and black water with a 6-gallon gas/electric DSI water heater. Some of the usual modern day standards will include interior and exterior LED lighting, AM/FM/CD/DVD/Bluetooth stereo with speakers, black tank flush, power awning with LED lighting, 2.1-amp USB port in all models, solar ready, and 3 cu. ft. 2-way Norcold refrigerator just to name a few features.

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MSRP for these 20 footers will start out at just under $22,000, which should put them in the same price range as R-pods and Winnie Drops. And with Forest River’s lawsuit against Winnebago earlier this year regarding the similarities between the R-pod and Winnie Drop, don’t be surprised if we see similar action taken against Jayco, as has been the Forest River way starting out with the defunct Heartland mpg a few years back.

I checked out R-pod’s floor plans and sure enough, all three floor plans of the Hummingbird are floor plans that R-pod has:

The Hummingbird 17FD = R-pod RP-178

The Hummingbird 17RB = R-pod RP-180

The Hummingbird 17RK = R-pod RP-179

So I’m pretty sure we’ll see press releases by summer’s end pouring out of Forest River’s legal team. One possible saving grace from an exterior standpoint for the Hummingbird is the lower front end, where it has a concave look to it, similar to that of a late 1960’s era Shasta Loflyte.

loflyte

 

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Without seeing one in person, I have to say I really like the looks of the Hummingbird when compared to the R-pod and the Winnie Drop. The decal package on the Winnie Drop is a hot mess and the R-pod never really has done much for me aesthetically. And as a point of disclosure, I say this as an owner of a Forest River product and a stockholder in Winnebago.  And don’t forget, Jayco offers their 2-year warranty on these where the others are just 1-year.

You can find out more about the 2017 Jayco Hummingbird at their website at: http://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/2017-hummingbird/

 

(Hummingbird photos courtesy jayco.com)

 

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R-pod vs. Winnie Drop: Let the lawsuits begin!

In our “who didn’t see this coming” category, Forest River has filed a lawsuit against Winnebago Industries. The suit stems from Winnebago’s recent introduction of the Winnie Drop, which strikes a resemblance to Forest River’s 7 year old R-pod. DSC_0570

rpod

In a story published on January 16, 2016 in RV Business, Forest River filed suit in December “for trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition.” The term “trade dress” refers to the overall visual image.  “The use of our trademarks and trade dress by other manufacturers confuses and misleads consumers and cannot be tolerated. We do not initiate lawsuits without serious consideration”, Forest River General Manager Doug Gaeddert told RV Business. The article goes on to state that the R-pod “incorporates patent pending technology and copyright-protected floorplans.”

I’ll be watching this closely at it goes through the legal process. Forest River filed suit a few years ago for similar reasons against Heartland and their now defunct “mpg” trailer. Industry professionals I’ve talked to shake their heads when talking about trademarking an RV floorplan. If anyone has ever gone to an RV show, you all know everything is copied by everyone. I’ll make no bones about it, I’m no legal expert and I don’t have a clue where this lawsuit will go, but should Forest River be successful I’d be interested to know if a company like A-Liner has similar patents on their hard-sided A frame campers. They’ve been around the longest, but other companies have developed their own version….including Forest River’s Flagstaff.

39_ranger_DS_HDR flagstaff

My final take on this or any similar lawsuits involving RV companies is that it really does nothing to serve the consumer. If anything it eliminates what makes a product better: Competition. When you eliminate your competition because you have a legal machine like Forest River does, it eliminates the competition that forces you to come up with ideas that make your product better than the other guy. If there is no “other guy”, then your product gets stagnant, and quality and innovation exit the building.

I’ll update this story with future posts as additional news develops.

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