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Why is the 21mm Tele Vue Ethos so expensive?

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#101 Starman1

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:47 PM

"TeleVue decided that patenting their design didn't serve them well, and it looks like their subsequent approach worked well for them."

"Trying to defend a patent against a Chinese company is very expensive and an exercise in futility."

Neither of these statements make a lick of sense IMO. First, Televue went to the trouble of getting Nagler patents yet elected NOT to enforce them against Meade.

Not really. What TeleVue had was a design patent, and Meade changed the internals just enough to get around the patent, such as separating a singlet lens into a doublet and narrowing the field of view.

The logical conclusion is that Televue thought it would lose such a suit. Reasons one loses a patent suit are numerous, but the big two are (a) your patent is valid but not infringed by the other guy's design or (B) your patent is invalid. Because Televue rolled over and showed its belly to Meade we'll never know for sure why it gave Meade a "pass" but concluding that Meade somehow did something wrong is ridiculous.

The reason was (a) and Meade did purposely have the TeleVue eyepieces copied. I know that for a fact.

It is just as likely, given these facts, that Televue's patent was weak or Meade design innovative enough over Televues that Televue had no case.

Well, it was a little different, and suing would have cost the fledgling company a lot of money it didn't have, and the case might have been lost. At the time, Meade was the 300-lb gorilla in the astro world.

Second, clearly the approach hasn't worked so well for them. ES is a vicious competitor. Each sale made by ES is a sale lost by Televue or pretty nearly. From an economic perspective, failing to exclude ES from the 100-degree game is something of a disaster IMO.

Perhaps, in one perspective. In another, they aren't the same customer. There are visible differences. People buy the Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic even though it is only slightly better than much cheaper offerings. The same is true of TeleVue. I'm the classic example--show me the 100 degree eyepiece that is superior to TeleVue and I'll buy it, even if it costs twice what TeleVue costs.

With respect to enforcing a patent against a Chinese company, it's no harder than enforcing a patent against an American company, frankly, so long as that Chinese company depends on the US and treaty-partner markets for selling the infringing article. It doesn't take seizure and destruction of too many shipping containers full of costly-to-make optics to make infringement unattractive economically. If you hold a patent, you are not "defending". You are enforcing it. The guy you're suing is defending. The US has jurisdiction over ES and JOC because ES is based here and JOC is doing substantial business and therefore has substantial contacts with the US. The benefit of a patent really isn't collection of money damages but rather the ability to exclude a competitor from prime markets.

Good luck with that. I worked for over 30 years in an industry rife with patent and trademark violations, yet not one case in 100 actually went as far as a seizure of product, let alone a litigation. Why? Because the profit margin wasn't high enough to support a suit. And here's the kicker: the margin in that business was 2.5-3X as high as the astronomy business.

Again, it's just as likely that Televue didn't obtain an Ethos patent because it couldn't (i.e., the invention was not sufficiently innovative over past designs to warrant a patent) as it is likely that they had worries about being able to effectively use it to exclude aggressive competition.
Regards,
Jim

Perhaps. More likely, the ability to reverse-engineer an exact copy would have been easier if the patent design and materials list had been published. And the cost of gaining a patent is very high, now. I just tried to trademark my company's name and the costs were more than I could afford. And patents are WAY more expensive because they involve
lots of search and investigation time. And if you KNOW something will be quickly copied, but you think the market for the product is smallish, you'll try to get to market first and get the lion's share of the sales before the copies appear. And perhaps that philosophy has some validity, given that 5 of the focal lengths have yet to be copied, and one of the competitor's products had its price cut in half.

#102 faackanders2

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

Buy the ES 9-14-20 100 degree set for less than the Ethos 21 and be done with it! :grin:


Very nice! :waytogo:

But you have three 14mm eyepieces? :shocked:


14mm were the widest TFOV 1.25" eyepeieces ES made, I got them also (but wished they would have had 16mm or 18mm 1.25" 82 AFOV instead. I also have a Meade 14mm 82 AFOV which would have been too heavy to get a second one for my binoviewers. Normally I try not to duplicate power nor AFOV but lightweight eyepieces for binoviewers were the exception.

#103 FishInPercolator

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

sheesh... I could not have anticipated this...

:doah: :doah: :doah:

#104 faackanders2

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:54 PM

...Personally, I'd cut Televue and ES both some slack in this regard. After all, Televue *could* have patented the Ethos and then excluded ES from the US and other markets covered by US patent treaty. Perhaps the cost of obtaining and then enforcing a patent was more than the cost of losing some sales to ES for its similar design. :shrug:

...

- Jim


+1, but the cost of lost sales was probably more than what the cost of the patent would have been (especialy if they won a big lawsuit). But then I would have fewer eyepieces or eyepiece options.

#105 faackanders2

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:15 PM

...
To some, this will still seem distasteful. I equate it to using generic pharmaceuticals. In fact, generic pharmaceuticals are even worse, because they are *exact* copies of the original proprietary molecule. And pharma companies only effectively get 7-12 years of patent protection because they must apply for protection before clinical trials, which can "burn" up to a decade of the protection even before FDA approval is granted.


Patents were never intended to provide an unlimited monopoly, just to provide protection for a limited time so inventors could recoupe their cost of development etc (which is significantly more than reverse engineering); otherwise businesses wouldn't stand a chance.

There are many cases where the first inventor went out of the business becuae they felt it was too costly, and competitors picked up where they left off.

#106 faackanders2

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:24 PM

Jon,

".... I can afford to take the high road."


This is pretty condescending, are you saying that all of us that buy ES are taking the "low road"

You don't even own Ethos, so why attack those that buy ES 100?

And while I love TV Eyepieces, I see no 120* or 25MM Ethos. I guess those are ok? Are where they copied also?


+1. But if he hasn't acted/purchased his opinion hasn't helped TV that much. Put your money where your mouth is, and then your opinion counts more (especially to TV).

#107 FishInPercolator

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:29 PM

Thanks guys for all your input... I just purchased the 21mm TV for my Galileoscope with a 10% discount! :whee:

#108 faackanders2

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

Thanks guys for all your input... I just purchased the 21mm TV for my Galileoscope with a 10% discount! :whee:


You could also get a 3" 100 AFOV for you galileoscope, but you would need to get a larger focuser and some counter weight. :lol: :roflmao:

#109 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:30 PM


+1. But if he hasn't acted/purchased his opinion hasn't helped TV that much. Put your money where your mouth is, and then your opinion counts more (especially to TV).



I have put "my money where my mouth is." I own a set of 8 Nagler eyepieces ranging from the 31mm to the 3.5mm as well as a couple Panoptics and three Widefields. They are all fine eyepieces in their own right and I enjoy observing with them. I have also put "my money where my mouth is" by choosing not to take advantage of those low, low ES sale prices... It was tempting.

Regarding the purchase of the 21mm Ethos, at this time, it's just not of interest. I am not one of those guys who has to have the latest and greatest eyepiece... I have all the equipment I need.

Jon Isaacs

#110 cukleti

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:32 PM

I asked this question to myself many many times. Best way I understood is this..a Nissan GTR can beat more than 90% of sport cars. Including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, R8, Bentley etc. its an excellent car, However, at the end or the day, I want my *BLEEP* in a Bentley or Lamborghini

I had the ES 9, 14, and 20mm 100 degree eyepieces. Absolutely outstanding. It wasn't until I saw M13 and thought..WOW what a difference. By difference I don't mean jaw dropping day and night, but enough to say, yes the Ethos is better. I found that the sky was darker, and the objects I looked at, had excellent contrast differentials.

You really have to look for the differences. The 13 ethos is cool cause it can do both 1.25 and 2".

In terms of the price..well in reality, a Porsche costs 150k ( for a good one)..and a Bentley costs?

That's my point

Also, the 21mm is better than the ES 25mm

#111 amicus sidera

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:13 AM

hfjacinto wrote:

The Naglers filled a need that was started by John Dobson, without his Dob design the world now would be filled with long focal length scopes.


Somehow, I don't think so... ;)


Jarrod wrote:

What f/4 telescopes existed in 1988?


Edmund Scientific offered two f/4 reflectors on GE mounts: a 4-1/4" and a 6". These were first offered in 1979 and were available throughout the 1980's. I'm fairly certain that there were instruments from other manufacturers available in this focal ratio during this period.


Jon Isaacs wrote:

In 1979, I think F/4 Newtonians were few and far between


Yes, likely few, but they were extant. See above.


As for the Meade/Nagler debate, my own experience at the time (late 1980's) was that almost every observer that I knew, or knew of, who owned a Nagler 13mm or 9mm proceeded to sell them off in favor of the Meade 14mm or 8.8mm UWA, once they viewed through them; notice that I wrote "observer", not "eyepiece collector" :grin:. I myself found them to be a superior design, although admittedly not by much.

The Ethos are assuredly fine oculars; are they worth their asking price? That is an entirely personal matter, to be decided by the dictates of one's pocketbook, observing requirements - and ego.

Fred

#112 t.r.

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:32 AM

Jon,

".... I can afford to take the high road."


This is pretty condescending, are you saying that all of us that buy ES are taking the "low road"

You don't even own Ethos, so why attack those that buy ES 100?

And while I love TV Eyepieces, I see no 120* or 25MM Ethos. I guess those are ok? Are where they copied also?


+1 :applause:

ES took the original Ethos design, and likely played with glass types, coatings, added waterproofing to develop a quality low cost alternative for those that cannot afford an Ethos. TV isn't marketing economy priced widefields. I fail to see why it is taking a low road to purchase from a company that is.

Dave


I'm 100% in agreement with Jon. Although apparently legal, I'm uncomfortable with ES's predatory behavior. Not to mention the behavior of their home country in general. There will be no ES in my equipment boxes. You are free to do as you want.

Mike


Ya know, this "High Road" argument would have more weight to me if TV didn't outsource their manufacturing and relied on American workers instead for production and kept all the money (taxation, fees, costs) here in the states.:smirk: As is, the "High Road" philosophy that TV is somehow superior is flawed. I love Uncle Al to death for what he has brought to the hobby and own many of his products, but he has gone the way of many businesses (overseas!) in order to maximize profit and reduce expenses. In fact, this probably eased the pirating of his designs. If anyone really wanted to take the "High Road" they should buy Brandons, Astro-Physics and TEC!!! :p Huh, what do ya know, I've purchased all three! :usa:

#113 ThreeD

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:22 AM

If anyone really wanted to take the "High Road" they should buy Brandons, Astro-Physics and TEC!!! :p Huh, what do ya know, I've purchased all three! :usa:

Wow, quite a US centric view there that does quite work for everyone here. While not everyone agrees with the intellectual property argument at least it works everywhere.

Furthermore, if we should only buy from those three companies then I would suggest the number of people with scopes would drop precipitously. I know I would be priced out of the hobby. Then again, you are entitled to your opinion.

#114 t.r.

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

Apparently, you didn't get the 'tongue in cheek" graemlin. I wasn't serious. The whole Brandon thing is a running joke here. I have no opinion about what people should or shouldn't buy, if it is legally available...it was others who brought this issue up. I simply challenge the "high road" mentality and don't buy into it.

#115 csrlice12

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:51 AM

Brandons.....Drink!

They are good eyepieces though.

#116 Teal'c

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:01 PM

Brandons.....Drink!

They are good eyepieces though.


I just couldn't warm up to these eyepieces. Maybe it was my scopes? maybe is was the atmosphere?.....or, maybe it was just me :shrug:

#117 csrlice12

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:46 PM

While the Pentax XWs are top of the line planetaries, I'm finding in my 102XLT, I prefer their lighter brothers, the Vixen NLVs, great eye relief AND great views.

#118 John Rhodes

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:12 PM

Ya know, this "High Road" argument would have more weight to me if TV didn't outsource their manufacturing and relied on American workers instead for production and kept all the money (taxation, fees, costs) here in the states.:smirk:


Well... true our eyepieces are assembled in Japan or Taiwan...to our design. BUT 100% inspection and any repair even for older units is done in New York.
And ALL our refractors are built in NY, including all machining only the glass comes from Japan.
All the employees of Tele Vue live in NY or very close, and I live near Los Angeles in a ranch style home on a high road. :lol:

#119 csrlice12

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:15 PM

Well, If Al or any of the other TV folk need a place to stay, I've got an extra room.......Besides, they're expensive because they're worth it........

#120 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:05 PM

You're gonna go broke and have nothing dude! :roflmao:

#121 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:10 PM

Post deleted by Scott in NC

#122 Starman1

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:23 PM

Being a fan is not a pejorative.

I've owned several Vixen LVWs, Pentax XWs, Panoptics, Naglers, Ethos, Meade UWAs, Celestron Axiom LXs, etc, etc. over the years.
I've also had opportunity to use the ES 68s, 82s, 100s, and 120 in a variety of scopes. And the WO UWANs, and several other companies' ultrawide offerings.

And eyepieces from many other companies. Though I've only owned a little over 300 eyepieces, I've used, at one time or another, almost that many more from other companies.

And I, too, am a TeleVue fan.
Seriously, if some other company makes a better eyepiece in the apparent fields I prefer, I'll buy it.

That does not mean no other company makes a good eyepiece. Far from it, because there are a lot of nice eyepieces out there. And I'm glad there are. That there are a lot fewer of them now than 4 years ago is a sign of the times.

But I've come to rely on TeleVue for unsurpassed quality and performance.
And, at least in ultra-wide fields, I have not seen their equals (I admit, I have not used the Nikon NAV-HW eyepieces).

So I can say I am a fan. And I am a fan of some other companies, too. Their eyepieces don't fit my requirements, but that's OK. If I could say one thing based upon my experience it would be that if your only experience with eyepieces was with TeleVues, you haven't missed much.

#123 Alvin Huey

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:31 PM

Thats why I sold the few Delos I had, blatant clones of the XW :D
I'll get my coat :getem:


I'm sorry...but the Delos are NOT clones of the XWs...I know as I took my 6mm apart...and it is not even CLOSE to the XW. BTW, the Delos SMOKES the XW on deep sky objects...as the Delos already beats the Ethos...and the Ethos and XW are about the same, giving the Ethos the slightest edge.

Several other very experienced observed confirmed it with a couple large telescopes, not dinky little 6" apos.


My post was meant to be very much "tongue in cheek" Alvin, I'm fully aware they aren't clones ;)
I've owned the 6, 10 & most recently the14 Delos, and would agree with you, they are excellent eyepieces. I still prefer the XW's at the
sharp end though... :tonofbricks:


Ah. Sorry. :o

#124 GeneT

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:46 PM

Regarding the purchase of the 21mm Ethos, at this time, it's just not of interest. I am not one of those guys who has to have the latest and greatest eyepiece... I have all the equipment I need. Jon Isaacs


I was there too for about five years. Then the Delos came out, and I prefer them over the Radian, so I sold my Radians and replaced them with Delos equivalents. Then, I paid attention to some postings listing people's favorite eyepieces. The Pentax 5XO, 8 Brandon, TMB supermonos, ZAOs, Pentax Extra Wides, and more recently, the Ethos and Delos eyepieces. I had already ruled out the Ethos because of price, and that 100 AFOV was overkill. I picked up a used 5XO and 8 Brandon, and now realize why so many people love them. I have a TMB supermono on order and picked up a 9 HuTech. In short, I see why people like the small glass eyepieces. They fit in nicely with my other eyepieces.

However, I agree that there is a point where we should be satisfied with what we have. I also do not have to own the latest and greatest. I really do think I am through--for another several years. :grin:

#125 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:14 PM

As for the Meade/Nagler debate, my own experience at the time (late 1980's) was that almost every observer that I knew, or knew of, who owned a Nagler 13mm or 9mm proceeded to sell them off in favor of the Meade 14mm or 8.8mm UWA, once they viewed through them; notice that I wrote "observer", not "eyepiece collector" . I myself found them to be a superior design, although admittedly not by much.



I own the 14mm UWA which many believe is the best of the lot, I have owned the others excepting the 8.8mm, they are good eyepieces.. I also own the 12mm and 16mm Type 2 Naglers. The 14mm UWA is a wonderful eyepiece but for what ever reasons, I find myself using the Naglers while the UWAs sit in it's case.

It worth noting that the 9mm and the 13mm were the original type 1 Naglers. Type 1's showed "spherical aberration of the exit pupil." The Meade UWAs addressed this problem as did the type 2 Naglers so it was indeed the type 1 Naglers that were replaced.

Spherical aberration of the exit pupil

Jon






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