Taking production of your product abroad can be a challenging task. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome. You have to find a place to have your product manufactured. You have to overcome communication barriers, and most importantly you have to protect your intellectual property and product. For some the fear of their idea or product being stolen may keep them from going overseas to produce their product. This means that they could be losing out on profits because overseas production in a place like China would be cheaper than their current arrangement. Using the following tips will help reduce the fear in having your product produced elsewhere, and help raise your profits while keeping your intellectual property safe.
- Research the Manufacturer.
Finding a reliable manufacturer is an important step when having your product made overseas. You want to take steps to make sure the company is who they say they are. You can do this in a few ways. The first way is make sure the factory is legally license in the country they are located. You can look up this information online or by contacting the government to make sure the factory has the proper documentation on file. By ensuring they are documented correctly it increases the chance of them being an honest manufacturer.
Another way to insure that the company is an honest reliable one is by doing research and finding out who else they produce products for. If you find a factory that is willing to produce your product that other large companies use, then it is a really good chance that your product and intellectual property will be protected. Using a factory that produces products for Walmart or Kroger means that they have a good reputation in the business world and it takes time for a manufacturer to build reputation. Also, a good factory knows once their reputation is ruined that it is over, so if they are producing for big companies, then they will want to keep their reputation intact and won’t steal your product or ideas.
- Have Nondisclosure Agreement Signed
Proper documentation is very important when moving manufacturing overseas. You want to make sure that both you and the factory are on the same page. When placing your order and agreeing to a contract with the factory make sure to include a nondisclosure agreement. This means that they cannot talk about your product or trade secrets with others. Also, you can make sure that only certain people at the factory know how to do certain steps. This means not one person is making all the product. This type of protection can come in handy if your product is a food product. You can have one section mix one part of the ingredients and a different stage where the rest are mixed. That way not one single person knows everything about how your product is made.
By having a nondisclosure agreement in place it also makes it easier to go after the manufacturer if violation occur. If a knock off of your product ends up on the market, then you know who to go after and it allows for more legal grounds to prosecute. By choosing a good factory and having them willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement this shouldn’t happen, but it is better to cover all the tracks you can.
- Patent your Product.
Patents can be hard to get because your product has to be completely unique to get a patent. Due to this fact you may only be able to get a patent on part of your product. You have to research and find how your product stands out from the rest. However, patents can be more for just the product, they can also be for how the product is made or how it is used. Anything unique about your product can potentially get a patent. Patents however don’t last forever. They are only good for a certain period of time and they don’t keep someone from slightly changing your product to avoid patent violation.
Patents can also take a long time to get. Even though patents are not full proof, they are still an important thing to get to protect your product as much as possible. It is like the nondisclosure agreement. By having a patent it gives you grounds for a lawsuit if issues come up, but hopefully they don’t come up.
- Copy Write what you can.
Copy writes are similar to patents, but are more for text. Things like your packaging or logo can be copy written. This is important because your brand and packaging is a major part of your product. Since there are a lot of similar products on the market you have to make sure yours stands out. One of the easiest ways to stand out is through your packaging and branding. This makes these things essential parts of your product and intellectual property, so be sure to have copy writes on them so people can’t legally copy them.
- Protect your Computer
Lastly you not only need to protect your product when you are at the manufacturing stage, but you also need to protect it before you get to that stage. If people know you have been applying for patents or looking for a manufactures, then they may try to hack into your computer and beat you to getting a patent. This means you want to have security systems in place on your network to keep outside people out. You also want to follow common sense on what emails you open so you don’t get attacked by phishing or malware. Keeping your files safe and out of other people’s hands is another key step in keeping your product safe.
Intellectual Property Protection isn’t hard.
Following these simple steps will go a long way in keeping your product safe. The main ones are keep your files protected so people can’t get your ideas before they are on the market, and research your manufactures completely before trusting them with information. As long as you choose a legal factory that is willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement they will most likely be honest. Picking a factory that produces for other larger companies ensures this even more. If something does go wrong though, then make sure to have all the patents and copy writes you can so you can have some legal room to fight.
Sarah Kaiser is a digital marketing manager at Casino Global Sourcing, the sourcing division of a French retailer Groupe Casino. Godirek.com is the product catalog of Casino Global Sourcing, which offers helps and tips from product sourcing, cost saving to sales boosting for Amazon third party sellers . She’s a fan of water sports and has studied business management in France. Her works have been published on dozens of websites and blogs.