18 March 2012
Spire comments on how Chinese counterfeiters still challenge US small businesses
U.S. small business SylvanSport recently learnt that their patented recreational camper trailer was being illegitimately produced and sold on a Chinese website. This case is an example of the “copycat” culture in China. Leon Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Spire Research and Consulting, was invited to share his insights on this phenomenon in an article in the newspaper USA Today.
According to Perera, it used to be commonplace that Chinese factories producing legitimate products for international brands would be used at night to make counterfeit goods. China has moved on from this situation and such blatant illegality is much more rare these days. International brand owners are also far more vigilant. However, what is still all too common in China is counterfeiters reverse engineering a product and fabricating copies for domestic sales or even export.
The severe “copycat” or counterfeit problem in China and other Asian nations creates the need for international firms to have an Intellectual Property Rights protection strategy.
For instance, this problem has left the promising U.S. start-up SylvanSport in a precarious position. Their business might plummet if distributors turn to the Wuyi Tiandi, their Chinese competitor.
Wuyi Tiandi received a patent on its camper in China in November even though SylvanSport received U.S. patents for its product between 2008 and 2010. The Chinese company is still able to sell its trailer everywhere else except for the USA.
The article concluded that U.S. small businesses ought to realize that U.S. patents and trademarks protect them only within the U.S. Companies should therefore file patents and trademarks in countries where their products will be made and sold.
Spire Research and Consulting is the leading research consultancy in global emerging markets. Spire's competitive advantage lies in its ability to deliver actionable intelligence on the external business environment in support of its clients’ strategic decision-making in marketing and business development. Spire's clients include 50 Global Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies in 15 countries. For more information, please visit www.spireresearch.com.