iPhone 4 Cases: a Case of Case Confusion

I recently uploaded a new video on my YouTube channel, where I reviewed the newest case for the iPhone 4 from Case-Mate. The Hula case is a bumper style case that comes in a variety of colors and includes both front and back screen protection.  At the end of the video I also added a comparison video to a case offered by Scosche, the bandEDGE,  which happens to look almost identical.  While I was in NYC for the Pepcom event last week, I had a chance to preview the Hula case at Case-Mate’s booth and I remarked to the company how much it resembled the Scosche case.

This morning while browsing the forums over at Mac Rumors I came across a post by a reader on a new case from Griffin Technology called the Reveal Frame, and I could not help but notice the similarity (okay, the three look EXACTLY the same) between all three of these cases.  Here are the cases in question for comparison.

The Griffin Reveal Frame:

The Case-Mate Hula:

The Scosche bandEDGE:

Knock off cases are nothing new.  Take a trip to New York City’s China Town, and you’ll find a ton of Asian imported knock off cases.  Copies of Case-Mate, OtterBox, Incase etc. are nothing new, but they aren’t done by any brand I’ve ever heard of.  Usually they come in cheap, plastic bag packaging with no “extras.”  This marks the first time I can recall any of the “real” case companies releasing a design that so closely mirrors their competitor’s.

Price wise each is around the same.  The Case-Mate Hula is the cheapest at $19.99, and it includes a front and back screen protection kit.  The Scosche bandEDGE sells for $24.99 and also includes a similar protection kit.  The Griffin version is on sale now at Best Buy for $19.99 (will be $24.99), but it includes no protection kit.

As a consumer, I’m both disappointed and confused.  These are three of the biggest iPhone case and accessory manufacturers around.  Each has a long history of excellent customer service coupled with fresh and innovative designs.  What does it say about their brand if they are all selling the same EXACT product?  For what it’s worth, as far as I know the Scosche bandEDGE was released first, but I’m not sure that means much.  Are these companies simply grabbing a design from an original manufacturer who’s offering their design to any and all takers and then turning around and slapping their name on it?  Or are they honestly each coming up with original designs on their own, and this is just a huge coincidence?

Either way I remain a little disenchanted this morning …