What a rip off!

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They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, does that include blatantly ripping off another person or companies ideas? Take, for instance, VideoTestDrive.com. They were first to market back in 2000 with an idea to do test drives of cars and post the video on the web. Now, San Jose Mercury News is doing a similar project. They have even gone so far as to use the name Video Test Drive for their product.Original Video Test Drive

http://services.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/291722323

Copycat Video Test Drive

http://services.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/987453615

So, the question is, what do you do when someone rips off your idea? What if they go so far as to completely copycat your idea? Do you release the hounds on them? Do you go down to their office and pay them a special visit? Do you blog about it?Personally, I’m no fan of lawyers, and I think that people sue each other with way to much frequency. So, I would just make sure everyone I know finds out about it to do a better job then the imitator. After all, I’m first to market with the idea. I have the advantage. Granted, the imitator does have the advantage of being able to see what I’m doing and make any corrections he thinks might improve the product. However, as the first mover, I hopefully have a larger audience already built up and a better reputation then the young and brash upstart.Finally, I would reevaluate my marketing position. I would redouble my efforts to get the word out about my product/service and drive traffic to my site. I would make sure that my name is the one people think of first (even if the other guy is using the exact same name which in this example he is) so they come to me and not him.

So, what would you do? Share your thoughts in the comments. Tell us what happened when someone ripped off your idea. Any advice for someone in this position? Share that as well!