Yekutiel Sherman, an Israeli entrepreneur has recently become a victim of China’s copycat products. Before he was even ready to launch "Stikbox", a smart phone case that unfolds into a selfie stick, numerous vendors across China were found to be selling copy products,
These Chinese companies were following the same design Sherman brainstormed and came up with himself. Where Sherman’s expected retail price was at $47.41, these copycat products were selling for as low as $10. Amazingly, some vendors even went far as to stealing the original “Stikbox” name. Sherman believes the copy products were produced at breakneck speed, after he released a professional promo video, displaying a couple taking the perfect picture with the smart phone cover, selfie stick in front of the Eiffel Tower.
China had spied and stolen his idea before he could even find a factory for selling his product; the copycat vendors had beaten him to the punch. Reviewers were furious as to Sherman’s pricing over the product.
Since President Trump has put Chinese trade practices in the spotlight, Chinese companies are becoming more aggressive in attacking US innovators. World Patent Marketing is moving quicker than ever to launch products. We are assisting inventors with filing provisional patent applications on their own in 24 hours and trying to get their products on the market within 90 days. We are at war and we have to respond swiftly.
This Chinese innovation war has brought awareness into a serious issue in idea-generation and manufacturing. Copycat production has resulted in many start ups getting bankrupt or worse out of business. Vendors in China are on the constant lookout for smart ideas. Once they find one, they can easily transform the idea into a physical product that can be commoditized quickly, as cheap labor is quite abundant and factories can be setup in makeshift buildings.
These China knockoffs are available in many different varieties and can affect both: small and large-scale businesses. In some cases, factories in China will be creating products that in terms of appearance resemble prominent brands. Of course, the quality is a differentiating factor between the feel of a real iPhone and an Android phone with a stamped-on Apple logo, but a fake Gucci bag can be passed off as the real thing by many uninformed storefronts and online shops.
Sometimes, as with the case of the Stikbox, a product designing team might out about a new product, figure out how it’s made using the latest computerized technologies, and start manufacturing near-identical products. There are certain legal precautions businesses can take for preventing their products from being copied. They can apply for design and utility patents for a product that’s valid in the China and US, or anywhere they hope to sell.
Other options include signing “NNN agreements” with potential Chinese partners. This contract prevents partner factories from “non-circumvention” (inking a partnership and selling extra units), “non-use” (using the intellectual property after first view), and “non-disclosure” (sharing it with others). Business must even focus on creating products with groundbreaking features/designs that are almost impossible to copy from the get-go.
The rules of the game are changing. It isn't enough to be creative. It isn't enough to be an innovator. If you want to compete against China, you have to be a warrior!