"How do I stop people from
copying my product?"
That's a question we often
hear from our clients.
The fear of getting copied
is so great, that we see many people not taking steps to make their
product in the first place, because they're so convinced it will be
Accept the things you can't change
Imitation is impossible to stop, and that's a fact we all
have to accept.
Legal options such as copyrights, patents and
trademarks can halt the blatant replication, but unless you are a
global player, then the financial resources needed for this can be
crippling - and it still doesn't guarantee you will shut down the
Even if you do manage to stop someone from copying your design,
another will quickly rise to take its place.
Now this sounds quite depressing doesn't it?
However, you can take small steps that don't cost a lot of money
to minimize the imitating, and still ensure your brand will create
a loyal and supportive following.
Tighten your supplier / factory base
You can't monitor the whole world, but you can monitor your
suppliers. And when it comes to imitation, they are the ones that
you want to be most concerned with.
Somebody making cheap "knock-offs" is one thing, but if your
factory starts selling your items "out the back door" then that is
a major cause for concern.
One way to try and limit this, is to ensure that the quantity
you order is the quantity you actually receive.
If the amount has more than 3% difference, then you may have a
Monitoring this is made even more difficult if you allow them to
order the "raw materials".
Our recommendation is that you control the purchase of fabric,
labels, tags, trims and accessories to ensure that you don't
Order just enough for the production quantity you plan to
produce. You can even request vendors to blind ship the materials,
so that the final supplier does not know their origin.
Be unique with your branding
We have many clients who have their labels and tags dyed to a
unique and specific colour.
This means that these items are not readily available in the
markets or general supply lines, making them harder to copy.
Even a simple white colour can be bleached in a certain way to
make it almost impossible to copy with any certainty. This is a
very simple and effective way to dissuade people who want to copy
You can create a special font. It may be a mix of various fonts,
but don't pick standard ARIAL. You are just inviting trouble.
Alternatively, purchase an expensive font that is much harder for
the fakers to find.
Break up production
If you are manufacturing different items, it can be useful to
break up production so that no one supplier has enough information
to produce your goods.
Say your product has three main components - A, B, and C. You
would intentionally produce each of these components with separate
suppliers, and then ship A, B and C to a fourth party (D) to
Component D doesn't have specs or instructions to make any of
the individual parts, and the suppliers making A, B, and C don't
even know that the other exists!
You can even take it one step further by packaging or labelling
your goods at a separate location (E).
While the E supplier could potentially siphon off the finished
product, you would have an exact count of the quantity shipped to
them and could ensure that this same quantity was shipped out.
Develop your own identity
The best and most lasting way to prevent copying and rise above
the competition is to develop a rock-solid brand identity.
This will encourage customers to seek out the 'real thing'
instead of accepting a substitute.
Your customer service strategy is a big part of this, especially
for those with products that require education and maintenance.
People can easily copy a physical item or function, but they
will have a much harder time replicating an entire brand identity.
Building a rich, strong brand is the best long-term strategy for
combating imitation and knock-offs in the marketplace.
Image Labels Systems can ensure that your tags and labelling
needs are produced 100% accurately, and to exacting standards.
We have the reputation and integrity to do all we can to protect
your brand from the scurrilous copy merchants.
If you would like to know more about our services, or how we can
help protect you and your brand, contact us today.