Why being first MATTERS ... 


   

( click - patent portfolio on linkedin  )

 
continued ...

People and Planet before profit ( www.BTeam.org ) 

As our planet is reaching the tipping point Richard Branson's www.Bteam.org aptly asserts we must place People and Planet before ( along side ) profit. Since the wealfare of planet relies on people, doing right ought always be the driving force behind the who; what, when, where, and why we choose a person; place, thing or ideology. Actions behind those answers define the fundamental fine line between collaboration or collusion. One creates solutions and the other tears them down. Like it or not as inhabitants on this planet, we're all on the same team, hence some tough decsions to make ... first relentlesly weeding out corruption  no matter what the cost. click Ratan Tata - BTEAM leader

THE CHALLENGE OF  ''CHANGE''

Since "first impressions likewise matter"  and fleets have for decades been inundated with all too many "snake oil solutions" renoun for falsifying perofrmance claims, being first in the world to engineer holes into a mudflap, ( allowing air & spray to flow through ) ... its no wonder; given the understandable skeptical end user audience we were appealing to from fleets to mom/pop broker owners, that fleets understandably told us years ago to ''show us what OEM's think.''  Beside their fundamental interest in staying ahead of the curve, OEM's are not only already equiped with the TIME, TALENT & TREASURES, but more crutially resourced with the worlds finest TEST tracks, WINDtunnel & CFD facilities to comprehensively validate any such claims.

Fleets spoke, we listend. This meant Vortex's strategy was to continue reaching out to all major Truck trailer OEM's and convince them on a shoe string budget, that ''mudflaps with holes'' were no ''snake oil'', and worthy of validation consideration. In a world which, understandably, by nature resists change ... even for engineers ...the fact that they had just witnessed mudflaps engineered with holes that allow air and grime to flow through the mudflap for the first time ever, litteraly turning ''convention'' on its head, we knew we were in for a challenge. 

It became obvious that persuing a strategic partnership with an OEM, who by default of the ''spirit of competition'', had a vested interest in being ''first'' to not only expedite validation but also implement any such proven technologies, would work best for all stake holders not least the enduser ( Mama and papa's /tax payers representing 80% of trucking already maxed out by super fleet competition'' ). We also recognised OEM's, by default of their pre-exisitng collaborative ties to industry/Gov't organisations the likes of ATA/TMC/NHTSA/NACFE/EPA [commissioned to aquiring & desiminating such technologicly advanced solutions/information], had to become our primary focus if fleet/broker owners [ likewise under resourced - even the largest fleets in North America -  that is before Stimulus who've always likewise heavily relied upon (trusted) such parties to furnish the benefits of any such ''low'' cost high yeilding ROI's ] ever stood a chance to not only exponentialy benefit from a reduction in their overall cost of ownership but continue building on their respective Safety & Sustainability core values and scores which benefit society as a whole. 


THE SOLUTION :  SAFTEY FIRST,  PERFORMACE (ROI) SECOND

Being first meant we had the home advantage of engineering the flap so it would not only "LOOK" & "BE" STEALTH but formost ''PROTECT'' ! We knew we had to furnish anyone “just looking” at it for the very 1st time, with the inherent ability to not only calcualte the common sense the need for ''downward facing'' viens/vents ) and "GET" that it was "SAFE" but instinctively "KNOW" it would protect those traveling around their rigs. Be they Semi's hauling 5th wheels, or pickups hauling their towables; from boats, seadoos, and sleds to all manner of utility livestock trailers, no matter what the terrain ( Think Alaskan dirt roads ) demonstrating ''total protection'' was essential... recognising that anything less,  not only risked our one chance opportunities to create a lasting "game changing" 1st impression but risked loosing what mattered most - INTEGRITY

Think about this ... the fact that none of the immitators ever considered, nor would even attempt to offer their design as either an auto protection accessory nor RV Marine tow guard /trailer protection as we have with downward facing vents - engineered to protect any such vehicles and their towables from the otherwise associated serious discharge problem all such ''open faced vents'' presents from the    sand blasting tar staining, paint peeling road-grime kicked up by spinning tires and thereby discharged straight through ( as confirmed by knock off's own video's , yet all claim otherwise) not only otherwise exponentially assaulting a vehicles paint, but also any towables they'd otherewise be hauling ( campers, boats, sleds, ATV haulers - ) ... defeating the primary purpose of traditional mudflaps and tow guards...AS SUCH... knowing they couldn't fool the average joe pickup enthusiast, what could ever have given Knock off (K.O) imitators the remotest confidence, they could smoke screen Vetran Fleet maintanence managers & OEM engineers,  (who've been trained and are paid to recognise anything that might logicly, not least remotley, compromise protection and safety to those traveling around 18 spinning wheels carrying 80,000 lbs worth of cargo, kicking up 1 ton of spray per hour riddled with; paint pealing, tar staining roadgrime straight through said 500 plus RPM's ''per wheel''  on to following traffic  ) into beleiving any such designs - fuel savings or not - would be considered permissible for highway use ?


Vortex have become the #1 selling mudflap for the Game Changing Baja ready SVT F150 Ford Raptor for an equally epic reason … Not only popular for their high perofrmance race ready air extractored stealthy looks, but above all are renown for their "vehicle protection" tanslating into ''people protection'', be it for an Xtreme Rally Pro racing through the sand dunes of Baja/Mexico, or average raptor enthusiast navigating the; tar staining, gravel, salt ridden, ice riddled roads of Alaska confidently hauling all manner of towables fitted with our pickup truck towguard application with years testimonials to show for it. 

Having introduced this technology primarily on the premise of improving road safety 28 years ago, given the recent discovery of monumental Fuel Savings ( only made possible via recent super computer tech ) our technology now represents ( at today's fuel prices )  a $500- $1000 staggering Fuel savings/truck/year ! Couple that with the fact that, after 5 years of Supertruck validation, OEM's have confirmed vented mudflaps reduce aerodynamic drag. Given recent implementation of the first & second rounds of the first ever HD DOT/EPA fuel economy legislation, targeted primarily at OEM's,  ( the Feds' have incentivised via stimulus including some Large fleets and NGO's to collaboration including ATA) to both innovate & implement advanced aero and powertrain tech or face  ( OE's ) face steep consequences for non compliance. With a 40% adoption rate (NACFE  Report pgs 12, 17, 25,26  '' vented mudflaps'' ) of the top 10 American fleets, its now clear to industry that traditional mudflaps are no longer an option. 

... likewise after 28 years of perservering through the initial, understandable, skeptasism associated with game changers, once it became clear to the OEM's who we'd been collaborating with all these years, that our technology did what we've been declaring it did, realizing a $billion aerodynamic mudflap revolution was about to break loose, its no wonder that a raft of ''imitators'' have surfaced who couldn't resist the temptation to ''follow our lead''. Not suprising, many of those iether had pre-existing or geographic relationships with such fleets & OEM's, and hence - when you follow the money - became empowered to exponentialy exploit the technology we've always owned blocking IP rights to. Especialy since they would, by default of such relationships, benefit from the multiple $millions in Gov't stimulus earmarked for some of the worlds largest fleets and their preffered OEM's including the leading industry organisations to co-develop & validate various areodynamic technologies that yield such staggaring ROI's as aerodynamic mudflaps.


Proof of the pudding is such imitators had equal opportunity to lead all these years - any time before our inception or priveledged stimulus programs ( either by way of patents or by commercialisation ) but did neither, since they couldn't ...  as we hadn't birthed the idea yet. They had no way of knowing it even concievable.

Its been said time has a way of proving integrity .. history has spoken.

Leaders Lead and Followers Follow -   Steve Tobak  


Utility Patents are crafted to protect both the most logical; "usefulness/function" as well as the ''design solution'' .   This is where being first really matters ... 

Being first was so crucial in empowering Vortex with the freedom to engineer the vents ( holes ) the most practical and logical way... the way even those that followed would have engineered it had they been blessed with the same "flash of Genius" Albert Z. Morin, my late step father, achieved 28 years earlier incorporating a series of purposed 3D overlapping horizontal louveres/vents forming "air intake" and "exhaust" ports - acting like one way "condensing" valves - first harnessing, then channeling air & spray riddled with road-grime, through the flap and "downward" back to the road where it came from, again ''contrary to claims of imitators, '' performing as the aero mudflap should.

After discovering holes were indeed rudimentary to solving "side spray" , as much as we knew it was a significant quantum step forward back then, we also knew solving the crutial issue of "rear spray" was equally critical, which led to the only reigning logical solution as you see today in our current design which, if I may reiterate, likewise continues to remain under protection by our portfolio of blocking Utility IP's.

Having discovered the obvious - through pure logic, even to the untrained eye - that any mudflap with holes, apart from pinholes will reduce drag and reduce sidespray ( just couldn't quantify it back then) and since traditional mudflaps were mandated for the express purpose of protecting those following directly behind a rig, Albert knew having dibs through 7 international (more expensive) ''utility patents'' vs design patents -which ''embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the invention'' doesn't limit the invention to ''one'' design so as to cover any such future knock off designs ( aka Mudflaps with; holes, vents, louveres, slat..). That said, with patents in place, knowing of the many alternatives including those that followed, knowing he had to pick one, and knowing he had no chance of compromising the intended use of the traditoinal mudlfap, it became clear to Albert that the most logicial dynamic for a flap to be ''entirely'' effective, would be that the design must be engineered with downward facing vents/viens to ''actually steer'', spray back to the road. (vs ''just saying'' they do).

 Albert, [also Inventor of the worlds first purpose built stationary and mobile US3619918  (USpto(830788 CDNpto) snow melters ] knew that any mudflap design, without 3D downward facing vents compromised the intended use of the ''traditional mudflap'' , ought logicly have been ''ruled'' out particularly by DOT - as ought such knock offs ''designs'' which evidently followed. 

Saftey is always 1st and ROI/Cost of Ownership comes in a resounding second. Albert knew, , if DOT would eventualy discover, just putting holes in a flap, would't protect then it couldn't,  shouldn't, nor logicly wouldn't ever be sold. Thats why he chose a design that could accomplish both. One ,

 

Worth reapeating, unpacked  with a slightly different perspective ...With no means of protecting a vehicles fenders or rocker pannels, and consiquently not a chance of entering the automotive market, meant any ''would be morally deficient imitators'' - naively motivated by the old ''adage'' better to beg forgivness than ask permission'', underestimating the ''intelligence'' and ''moral foundation'' the rest of the world abides by, naively figured as long as they can keep them from looking identical, they could ''mitigate'' any concerns future ''collaborators'' might have , even about the potential of ever being implicated for ''collusional'' behavior ( that only serves to ''empower more knockoff technology) was enough to risk ''knowingly'' violating our blocking ''Utility'' IP's .  Yet, suprisingly, they've been smart enough to ''full stop'' any any consideration of entering the pickup truck protection (car care acessory) business, or risk not only loosing enormous integrity by average car enthusiasts who'd laugh them out of business even for '' merly thinking that they'd ever consider installing anything that resembles or was coined ''fly swatter'', on their rides, when its so obvious, such designs are impossible to direct spray down, hence protect their $20-$70 k plus rides. Really ? .. using their own footage... Try ''this'' ( Vortex clip, click)  with any traditional mudflap, particularly those that resemble a ''Fly Swatter'' (click) . Only to test properly, place the measuring tray instead (vs that which is demonstrated in this video)  ''behind'' on the ''logo side'' (''windshield view'') of the flap where engineers ought ''always'' have placed by ''default'' based on ''pure logic'' ... Exactly !! Had they included Vortex, they'd have discovered ... ours would accumulate the most spray as it should... the rest will be history

Instead of caving into ''aniquated '' already established European spray suppression legislation, that was based on traditoinal 1950's mudflap technology ( to their credit, the only thing they knew at the time) such ''inside the box'' thinking which not only pandered to the ''standard' of the day back in the 80's but still does today now forced other imitators wanting to sell in the UK to build redundant grooves or grass like fingers which only serve to capture even more water which ( looked good as a display but) in the real world - with spinning tires at speed- only serve to recurculate even more ''unwanted'' spray between the tire and fender, just so they could pass the UK test.

Despite the odds, where even Monsento back in the 80's (one of the largest companies in the world ) discovered how cost prohibitive fighting legislation would be and eventually sold to symplastics which then sold to Rochling noted above  ) we always, maiintained that by staying the course, forces grater than oursleve, beyond our control, would eventualy prevail in our favor. After 28 years, it seems like edison, our light bulb moment has arrived. 

Its become rather evident, none have ''ever'' compared with Vortex, cause they'd discovered themselv that downward facing vents is the only way the mudflap can work ( That is to both protect and deflect ) . The fact they fight over each others ''spray efficiency'' while not even demonstrating ours even exists ought speak volumes. Yet they're smart enough to know had they ingored those instincts by launching including downward facing vents - the only way to protect a vehicle - in the car segment they'd not only eventualy face IP litigation right away ( being identical ) and consiquential public shame, but find themselves slapped with lawsuites from folks who's expensive vehicles they ''failed'' to protect. Such, prudence (in this instance only) ought serve as further proof that copycats even know themselves their products can't protect vehicles - let alone those that travel behind them. 


That in mind,  apart from implications for ignoring our blocking patents, what seems to defie such logic, is how ''immitators'' managed to convince such key players in the trucking industry to accept the view  ''as long as such immitations didn't look the same and at least 
addressed the issue of sidespray & drag '' [ that which we'd originaly discovered any mudflap with holes would do - which is why we elected for Utility IP's for a technology with downward facing vents that didn't compromise the intended use of the traditional mudflap, keeping salt ridden, paint pealing, tar staining roadgrime from damaging following vehicles in the first place ] , it was OK to turn a blind eye to the most  fundamental rear” spray (protection/safetyconundrum that even we ,28 years ago, were  compelled to first solve , "before" ever considering a launch to market. Again ... such ought to likewise speak volumes.


Put yet another way ...Through years of reaching out to manufacturing and marketing, until such an insane ROI was discovered by industry that mudflaps with holes saved so much fuel, the billion dollar question for me is how it has been possible for imitators designs - ''without'' downward facing ventsto have even been considered - designs which indeed - for the afformentioned reasons, compromise the intended use of said traditional mudflaps, which was the very reason we engineered our technology with prominantly angled downward facing veins, ( acting as a one way valve) as our first choice vs any other, so as to effectively and efficiently steer such air mixed with spray & grime ''back down'' to the road where it came from instead of directly back to the windshields of those following as any ''fly swatter'' would, performing as any Rig would do ''without'' mudflaps. 

 

Further perplexing is it seems they've managed to pull the wool over industries eyes while posing themselves to be ''the'' original /genuine aerodynamic mudflap spray suppressant solution, not only deceiving themselves but those who've invested in them, all of whom have pressuposed that riding on our idea has been ''all good'' just because they shaped & numbered the holes differently, ( without purposed 3Ddownward facing vents ) ignoring the substantial years of sacrifices ( financial and otherwise ) we'd made just to introduce to market. To add insult to injury, not dissimilar to the challenges of aero sideskirts, we'd already been swimming against the daunting tide of time & change, decades before before these companies were even born, first to not only obtain ''Utility patents'', encorporating the broad scope and nature of the technolgy, ( be they holes that are... Horizontal, Octagonal, Verticel, Perpendicular or any combination thereoff ) but also through the daunting task of commercialising the worlds first aerodynamic mudflap. 


All else said, we trust you’ll not only appreciate and respect our IP's, but also the innovative spirit of Albert Z Morin himself who after experiencing the epiphany he had for the aerodynamic mudflap™ (porous mudflaps - ''with'' downward facing vents dared to dream he could inspire others to likewise inspire hope and belief in a force far greater than ourselves who would be driving it. Not however; without substantial risk, investment & relentless perserverance, to leave a legacy of lasting change. 


Worth reiterating is that i
ntegrity is something which can only be earned over time. We trust our history, which pre-dates by decade/s before any such imitators ( mudflaps with holes ''without'' downward facing vents ) new what an aerodynamic mudflap was, ought to (again) speak volumes about the integrity of the Technology & Vortex as a company.

Developmental, validation, and commercialization of any "new technology" for even the largest companies is a heavy lift, let alone an "Average Joe" start up as Vortex. Most of those
imititors, amung them co-collaborators - some of whom - by default of thier having been 1st called on by Vortex decades earlier - even irrespective of their foreknowledge that we own/ed the IP's to this tech, still couldn't resist the temptation of going it alone. As such have ridden on our backs ever since while ''seemingly'' accusing each other of  ''knocking'' each others products off. 

This link, which ignores Vortex in thier comparative tests, applies an airflow test which, if anything, not only helps confirm that ''any'' flap with holes reduces drag, but in thier use of a tray filled with water (  by observation of ''nil'' ripples) to their own shagrin actually confirms that their own product,   without downward facing vents demonstrates '' nill airflow  ripples /hence grime'' directed back to the road surface where it belongs but instead shows air/spray/grime flowing, but albeit flowing straight back into the windshields of following drivers ...  As I shared earlier, let logic prevail. Spray riddled with Road grime, especially when introducing holes in a mudflap, is supposed to be steered back with downward facing vents to the pavement/hence the more ripples or air/spray being blown on the tray, the better ! Better yet, if you really want to simulate spray at speed and spinning tires, you need high power spray which covers both airflow and spray . The tray however ought not only be wider, ( to measure ''least'' volume of sidespray) but be divided proportionately with 50% on the tire side and the other 50% on the logo side - which best reveals optimum spray efficiency. That which ends up with the least high pressure spray, in the tire side, and most spray in the ''logo side of the flap'' tray, including least in out outer side section ... wins. 

 If they're brave enough to face those results, given the introduction of the ''www'' and ''google'' which leaves any such ''entitlement minded imitators'' without excuse to continue to ''collectively'' denying Vortex is the original, not least ever existed, and given the power brokering players involved since the get go, who've stuck their heads in the sand to politicly stonewall us,  so much so - it boders on ''collusion'', make no mistake, with history behind us, and social media ahead of us, its easy for anyone to discover we're indeed the original and ''know'' our intentions have always been to put people and planet along side of profit so we could make the kind of ''global difference'' our founder Albert Morin, likewise fought so hard to do.

With the world now recognising such supicious peculiarities/behavior, may I suggest, next time you perform a comparative aerodynamic mudflap test that you include Vortex esecialy if you've already read this, so you can in good conciance know we've formaly ''asked'' to be included in all aerodynamic mudflap activities. For the time being, we'll let the public, empowered by social media, be the judge of the obvious nonsense thats been going on. In our quest to inspire other average joes to keep dreaming big, despite all odds, for anyone who agree's, please - in solidarity - ''like us'' on facebook or blog in your blogs like nothing else matters shout out that, justice matters ... and that you too are passionate about putting ''PEOPLE'' ( social justice ) and ''PLANET'' (environmental justice) first, alongside of ''PROFIT'' - Sir Richard Bransons BTEAM  (click) well worth the read/participation. Justice is the water that makes hope float ! 

Simply put, patent issue's aside... the way we see it .... if just by looking at it, logic tells you any such imitation products couldn't possibly "protect" a car or pick-up nor its towables (tow guards) from sand blasting, salt spraying, tar ridden road-grime ... the next logical questions that scream to be asked is not only .... why would anyone consider it fit for use on a Commercial Truck or Trailer in an industry that is primarily focused on ensuring "safety first" with the express purpose of protecting "people" ? , but moreover given we entered the market at a mere $32/PAIR and such immitors cost upwards of 2-3 times our price, how and what could have motivated any World Class Safety conscious OEM, fleet, or Industry org for that matter to have ever considered implementing any such (K.O) imitators in the first place, particularly those we first reached out to, ingnoring the sacrifices we made to introduce this technology, who've always known we own the blocking IP to this tech ?

As exclusive owner of the safest, most spray suppressant, fuel saving C02 reducing mudflap in the world, being first indeed matters !   



                                                               
                                    
( click - patent portfolio on linkedin  )

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