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MultiCam consistently tests better than other camouflage patterns on the market and has been a favorite of military professionals for years now.
So why not select MultiCam as the official Army pattern?
All signs point to financial reasons.
In a statement to Military.com, Caleb Crye, owner of Crye Precision, says he believes the Army was hesitant to pay the "printing fees" associated with the pattern.
Crye also says that Army officials tried to buy the rights to MultiCam but rejected Crye's figure of $25 million.
Allegedly, Crye Precision took the position that it owns the patent to OCP (Scorpion W2); the pattern was originally developed by the company in 2002 as part of the Army initiative known as Objective Force Warrior.
The original Scorpion patent issued in 2004 indicates that the patent was issued to Caleb Crye.
When MultiCam was recommissioned for use by the Army
in 2010, 11 printers were granted limited-use licenses from Crye
to print the pattern.
While the stipulations of these licenses are confidential, it's suspected that these contracts require that the printer does not print patterns that are visually similar to MultiCam.
If this is the case, it would legally bind printers from printing the almost identical OCP.
There is speculation that printing mills might be paying a royalty fee to Crye
for printing OCP under government-awarded contracts in order to appease the company and avoid any legal trouble.
If this is true, these under-the-table royalty fees would only offer a solution regarding fabric printed under a government contract for official field wear.
If the government were to issue a commercial license for OCP, it's possible this solution would not stand, and Crye
could potentially take legal action.
While a small royalty fee could appease Crye
financially regarding fabric under contract, they would stand to lose a lot more if OCP were to become available commercially.
If the pattern were commercially available, it would become a major competitor to Crye's popular MultiCam pattern.
Because the two patterns are so similar, it doesn't seem likely that both patterns would be successful on the commercial market.
MultiCam is already easily recognizable and well-received in the market place.
It makes sense to assume the brand wouldn't want any competition for the pattern.
Despite that amendment, evidence suggests the Army
never possessed the rights to use or alter the pattern.
Soldier Systems posted the original proposal from Crye to Natick, the military research complex responsible for research and development of combat effectiveness, for work on the Scorpion project as a part of the Objective Force Warrior Program.
In the proposal, Crye
mentions multiple projects (including camouflage technologies) the brand had already been working on.
Crye created Scorpion under a military contract, potentially forfeiting all intellectual rights to the pattern.
In order to capitalize on the hard work put into developing Scorpion
made small adjustments to the pattern for trademark purposes to create MultiCam.
â€˜Into the Breachâ€™ by: Caleb Crye | Justin R. Durban
'Into the Breach' by: Caleb Crye
Directed by: Caleb Crye
Caleb Crye, Crye, Crye Precision, Memorial Day, Military, short film.
Army officials even tried to buy ...
Army officials even tried to buy the rights to MultiCam but rejected Crye's figure of $25 million, according to Caleb Crye, owner of Crye Precision.
Army officials also balked at paying for "printing fees" the company receives on MultiCam - a small figure that amounts to about one percent of the 20 percent price hike uniform companies want to charge the Army for MultiCam, according to Crye.
In addition to Crye
, the other finalists in the Army's Phase IV camouflage testing included ADS Inc.
, teamed with Hyperstealth, Inc.; Brookwood Companies Inc.; and Kryptek Inc.
And, ironically, in March 2013 the Army
decided to drop the fifth finalist - a government pattern developed at the Army's
Natick Soldier Systems Center.
The pattern, known as Scorpion, was too similar to one of the industry submissions, Army officials said.
It's similar to MultiCam because Crye
developed the pattern with the Army
for its Objective Force Warrior program in 2012.
later made small adjustments to the pattern for trademark purposes and called it MultiCam.
We received this memo directly from ...
We received this memo directly from Caleb Crye, executive director of Crye Precision and the designer of MultiCam.
Anyway you look at it, Crye
hasn't said or done anything critical of the Army's effort.
Revealing the price of MultiCam
without any context seems like a way to color opinion and portray Crye
as a greedy contractor that is trying to cash in at the nation's expense.
was advised by PM-CIE
leadership via teleconference on May 1, 2013 that its submission had won the final program phase of the camouflage improvement effort, and that a formal announcement would be forthcoming.
Following the notification about winning phase IV from PM-CIE, Crye assumed that the Army would continue to take advantage of the already well-established manufacturing base for MultiCam® raw materials and end items, as it had been doing for years, as the Army does not currently license MultiCam® from Crye Precision, nor does it pay Crye Precision for its use.
Instead, Army representatives approached Crye
to discuss the market's pricing of MultiCam® gear (such as uniforms) and told Crye
that it would have to deliver "significant cost savings".
does not supply the Army's uniforms, Crye
informed the Army that it, just like any other supplier deep in the supply chain, has no visibility on or ability to mandate the prices the government is charged by any of the uniform or gear makers.
agreed to do its part in the only way it could, which was by reducing already nominal fees it receives from its licensed fabric printers.
Significantly, those fees represent only a very small part of the end-item cost and are deeply embedded in the supply chain (just as a fiber manufacturer or a dye provider is, for example.) Crye
asked for nothing in return for offering this fee reduction.
Crye's proposal, which offered the Army a path to achieve immediate cost savings, was rejected outright by the Army.
During negotiations with Crye
, in October of 2013, the Army released a Justification and Approval (J&A) that it planned to issue MultiCam® as the Army's "principle camouflage pattern".
Continuing its efforts to reduce costs to the Army and in an attempt to eliminate the Army's concerns that MultiCam® was more expensive than UCP, Crye
submitted several formal proposals which proved that the Army could procure MultiCam® gear at prices within 1% of UCP gear.
Crye's proposals additionally showed that this could be accomplished with no upfront cost to the Army.
The Army rejected all of Crye's proposals and did not present any counter proposals, effectively saying that a proven increase in Soldier survivability was not worth a price difference of less than 1%.
The Army then requested that Crye
provide a buyout price for MultiCam®.
advised the Army that a full buyout of MultiCam® was unnecessary, pointing to the fact that MultiCam® was readily available for competitive purchase and that the Army could simply continue its use of MultiCam® service-wide, with no new costs to the Army.
In addition, Crye
pointed out that this course of action would require Crye
to cede quality and brand control to the Army, effectively undermining Crye's
commercial market permanently.
As such, this option would have required the buyout price to include the entire lifetime value of the MultiCam® brand, and would have been prohibitively expensive.
declined to provide a buyout figure, which would have to be well into the tens of millions of dollars, because it was likely that any figure presented by Crye
could be used out of context to misrepresent and mischaracterize Crye.
It was only after continued requests from the Army, coupled with an acknowledgement from the Army that it fully understood that the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars, and a promise that all information would be kept in strictest confidence, that Crye
then agreed to provide a full valuation for the MultiCam® brand, along with a deeply discounted price to the Army for the buyout being requested.
predicted, and despite the Army's assurances to the contrary, Crye's offer was rejected outright by the Army.
No official counter offers to any of Crye's proposals were ever provided to Crye by the Army.
Confidential information provided by Crye
to the Army has been released out of context, in a manner that misrepresents Crye
as having been unwilling to negotiate with the Army and help it find the cost savings it indicated was its goal.
Crye Precision founders Caleb ...
Crye Precision founders Caleb Crye and Gregg Thompson, graduated from Cooper Union's School of Art in '97 and Albert Nerken School of Engineering graduate in '00.