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How to stop the copying

James Thomson /

A common question from my clients who have their product manufactured overseas is “how do I stop my manufacturer from making a lower quality version of my product and selling it off as their own?” My answer?

There is no concrete answer, because if someone really wants to copy they will always try. But you need deterrents.

Here are a few tips.

  • Get a written manufacturer’s agreement clearly stipulating that the intellectual property in the design of the product, specifications and trademarks belong to you and if they use it for a purpose other than manufacturing your product, they will be in breach of your agreement.
  • Make your agreement an exclusive one – that the manufacturer will only manufacture this product for you and no one else.
  • Consider having different components of your product manufactured by different factories and then assembled by a different one. This is less cost effective but ensures that no one has access to all aspects of the production process and therefore the final product.
  • Trademark your name, logo and consider trade marking the shape of your product or even the shape of the tag on your product.
  • Try to incorporate your trademarks on the actual product by way of tags, embossing, engraving so that even if someone copied the design they cannot copy a registered trademark without the risk of being prosecuted. The consumer will continue to view your product as the original one. I used the example of Boori cots with a client the other day who manufactures nursery products. I know a Boori cot straight away by the brass badge on it showing the Boori trademark, even though there are a number of Boori rip offs on the market.

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