The company founder said "I am a big believer in free speech and welcome any form of constructive criticism."
Behringer outlined his position in a letter sent to CDM and published in the Music Tribe Academy Facebook group. After saying "we don’t have any problem with people criticizing us," he goes on to insinuate that the defamatory language used by the Chinese website Midifan "has a highly different sensitivity and legality" in Chinese culture.
"We sent the owner of the publishing site a Cease-and-Desist letter, but he was never sued as wrongly reported," he continues. "We have since spoken with the publisher and they have promised to remove the offensive language and refrain from posting such slur in the future. We consider this case to be resolved and he also has standing invitation to visit us." In spite of factory employees going on strike over concerns about worker welfare and safety, Behringer says his firm was named "No 1 most employee caring company" in Zhongshan, the region where his manufacturing plant is located.
Regarding the Dave Smith Instruments case, Behringer said: "It is important to understand that this is not a legal action against a mere individual but a representative of a competitor. Any such false and disparaging comments made by DSI's employee are damaging and inappropriate in a highly competitive market such as ours." After defending his interpretation of intellectual property law, he adds: "Lawsuits are often used as 'guerilla tactics' and (are) especially common in the US where legal fees are sky high and each party has to pay its own fees regardless of the outcome of the case. This, along with the fact that IP litigation is often used as a tool to push a competitor out of business, are reasons why there are so many cases in this area of law." Dave Smith Instruments is currently seeking damages from Behringer based on these grounds.
Behringer goes on to raise the concept of reverse engineering in defence of his company's tactic of closely recreating products from other manufacturers: "One needs to be clear about the distinction between blatantly copying someone else's product and the principle of reverse engineering. Copying a product 1:1 is clearly illegal, however reverse engineering is something that takes place every day and is accepted as part of a product development process known as benchmarking."
He later admits to having "been sued several times" but says the company hasn't lost a case since a suit from Aphex 30 years ago. "In our first two decades, most of our products were designed to follow market leaders with similar features and appearance, at a lower cost. This value proposition upset many of our competitors while at the same time earning us a huge fan base among customers. I fully understand that many of those competitors would be frustrated by our ability to deliver equivalent or better products at significantly lower prices and that is the source of much of the anger directed at us by them."
Read the full letter on CDM.