Jul 09, 2019 - 09:58 PM
Counterfeiting is so prevalent because counterfeiters are incredibly resourceful: there may ultimately be no way to completely prevent it. However, here are a few ways you can make it harder for someone to copy your product.
Manufacture Parts Separately
If you have the ability, consider getting each part manufactured in a separate location, and then putting them together yourself. Since you’ve been dropshipping, you might not be equipped for this option. However, this is one of the best ways to ensure that your prototypes will be hard (if not impossible) to steal. Even having each part manufactured separately, then having a different manufacturer assemble the final product, may help reduce theft.
Update Your NDAs
The NDAs typically used in this situation rarely cover what actually needs to be covered. The NDA that you’d use for something made in the U.S. isn’t the same as the one you should use for something made in China. The idea of a “non-disclosure/non-use/non-circumvention agreement” (described in detail here) can cover your bases more effectively, by specifically preventing manufacturers from sharing information with certain parties, and specifying that the manufacturer cannot use your information in a way outside of what you intended.
A traditional NDA will hold more weight if you decide to manufacture in the U.S. instead. Although this costs considerably more, “Made in the U.S.A.” can also be a selling point for many consumers, and can allow you to speed your processes up and deliver prototypes faster.
Set Your Product Apart in Other Ways
While you can reduce the risk of prototype theft, you can’t completely eliminate it. It might be valuable to think of other ways to set your product apart. For example, maybe you can offer super-fast and reliable shipping, excellent customer support, or a wonderful unboxing experience. While this won’t prevent every customer from buying the non-branded version, it may help some people stay loyal to you.
Keep in mind that products rarely get stolen while they’re still in the prototype phase. It’s likely not going to be until your sales start to take off that you’ll see duplicates of your products in places like Alibaba. Still, you are wise to tackle this potential problem early, and these ideas should help.