Yes, the kawi guys can tell the difference between the oem ones and the aftermarket ones. Now you can send your oem one in and have it rebuilt and it would be very close to the aftermarket one and then it would be hard to tell as it would be very close to the aftermarket model. The oem ones though on average suck if they ever should be needed or you want to dial in the settings on it.
On the oem ones there is an open bleed hole for the oil to bypass through so even all the way closed oil can get through. This makes it super hard to dial in to where you want it as well. On the aftermarket ones when it's closed it's 100% closed. For the track the oem ones suck horribly and are not recommend by Ohlins even. You don't have true resistance with that open bleed hole. For the street it may be okay depending on how you ride, but there is a huge difference between the two in terms of performance. The outside looks of them doesn't matter or affect performance. It's the internal valving, bleed holes, and set up that make the damper.
Now granted, with proper set up rarely do you need a damper. I've only had headshake a few times out of the thousands of miles i've ridden. With proper set up they are rarely needed, but it's like a helmet...when you need it...you really need it. I've had and oem damper do very little to stop headshake before. I didn't get it super bad due to the damper, but it still shook the front end much worse then i've ever had with an aftermarket ohlins or scott's product
In fact I've never had one issue when running the Ohlins or Scott's.
im not missing the point, look for instance if the ohlins damper has change for the lst 7-10 years at all??? it is the very same style and body... very minor adjustments if any so to say that they're "better" because they're being mass produced in smaller quantities isnt saying that the product should be better!
remember that not only do they have the same body & style for all bikes the only thing that changes is the mounting points but other than that, you couldnt tell the damper from my old 2009 aprilia rsv from any 2005 kawasaki 10zxr!!!
can you possibly tell the difference from a off the shelf ohlins damper and a "mass production" one???