It seems that Thermaltake, once one of the world’s leading chassis designers, might have run out of their own original ideas for high-end computer cases. Overclock.net forum users began to jibe Thermaltake on their Facebook page after their Computex 2015 booth played host to a number of new chassis designs, some of which appear to be modeled on popular designs from companies like Fractal Design or Caselabs. While this isn’t illegal by any means, it does mean that Thermaltake is hoping to snag sales from PC owners who can’t afford the original, more expensive versions.
It seems that more than one case on Thermaltake’s stand was an almost exact copy of other chassis. The company’s new Suppressor F51 appears to be modeled on the Fractal Design R5, and even matches up with similar-looking case feet as well as the front door design. The design is just slightly different enough for it not to be an exact copy, but its pretty clear where the inspiration came from.
Another example is two designs from Caselabs, the TH10 and the Merli SM8, which do share an overall design and some exact replicas of certain parts of the design, like the swinging door from the TH10 and the Merlin Pedestal, which can be moved to the top or bottom of the case.
Responding to the accusations that they stole designs from other companies, Thermaltake case designer Shannon Robb told visitors to their Facebook page that the designs were “inspired” by the work of others in the industry.
“First off anyone who has seen these cases, they are in no way as far as fitment and functionality a copy of anything. The scalability and modularity are simply awesome. As far as exterior appearance, we chose a design that ideally fit everything we wanted to accomplish with the design and similar with the panel grille designs. Its only partially about appearance and more about what will provide best airflow without sacrificing panel integrity and rigidity.
Lastly, do remember that as a chassis manufacturer we all make cases and if you remember we all used to have beige boxes, its not about copying anything its about what makes the best fit for the design you are trying to accomplish.
We are pushing the limits on many things as far as performance and feature sets and im glad you think our chassis is so awesome, because if you really like it that much you will like the price even better!”
In a statement posted on Facebook, CaseLabs vice president Kevin Keating thanked the work of their fans and expressed appreciation of the loyalty users on the Overclock.net forums showed. He also outlined the sequence of events that lead up to the chassis designs being copied. Keating publicly shames Robb in his statement, and calls out both Robb and Thermaltake on their behaviour.
“For all who have read this, thank you for taking the time. We have worked tirelessly on our designs and can’t just sit back while people rip us off. I am asking everyone to share this post. Please, it needs to be done or businesses like Thermaltake will continue to taint the industry with rip-off products. To all of you who noticed the stolen concepts and took the time to tell us, thank you your support means the world to us.”