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  1. #21
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    There have been a few Kickstarter projects that have failed or been ruined because they got involved in the cutthroat industry of Chinese manufacturing. They have a good idea, but no way to make it so they try to farm it out to a Chinese company who immediately begins copying it and marketing it as their own.

    Another incident I have seen is that the Chinese company sees that the Kickstarter is doing really well and demands double the money to make the item even though they already have an agreement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAMasochism View Post
    Another incident I have seen is that the Chinese company sees that the Kickstarter is doing really well and demands double the money to make the item even though they already have an agreement.
    Reminds me of Leapfrog freight forwarders in Charlotte, North Carolina. We prepaid cash money $16,000 for a shipment, they "forgot" to send the ocean bill of lading even though we asked several times, when the shipment arrived oh gosh ! They needed another $3500 ! The trucking company had to tarp the machines !

    Of course they conveniently forgot to mention this until the shipment was at the port and we were liable for demurrage - which ended up costing another $10,000 by the time all was said and done.

    What was her excuse ? "We need to make a profit, you know." This from the president of the company, Amy Pugh-Parris, who is, in short, a thief.

    You don't want to get me started on ripoff US companies. For every China story, I can hand you back a US one, bigger and worser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    What was her excuse ? "We need to make a profit, you know." This from the president of the company, Amy Pugh-Parris, who is, in short, a thief.
    When you google that broad, she's got more AKAs than Carter's got liver pills.

    Got her own "university" going too.

    http://www.leapfrogllc.com/wp-conten...RT-SEMINAR.pdf

    Wonder what other con artist she picked up that idea from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by metlmunchr View Post
    When you google that broad, she's got more AKAs than Carter's got liver pills.
    We had used them before but just for documents. I guess there's no big money to be made in that, so they were honest

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    I wonder how much protection a patent really offers anyway. I have a ridiculously simple idea for a hand-tool that I can't believe doesn't exist already. One big fear before I even get out of the gate, is getting ripped off before wheels get off the ground. That naturally leads one to think of patenting the idea, but such is a big hill to climb for a cash-strapped 'inventor' like myself in this case.

    I suppose staying off kick-starter would be prudent. (Was never an intention anyway...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    I wonder how much protection a patent really offers anyway.
    Previous life (around yr 2000) I did a whole bunch of golf putter designs that were all based around a theme (adjustable heel/toe weighting system).
    The guy that I was working for spent a fortune getting some patents that covered UK and the USA and I believe Europe (can't remember now) but was told many times not to bother with China because if they want to, they'll just copy because they don't care.
    And then how much money have you got to TRY to stop them...
    So I was left thinking that unless you are a big corporation, you're wasting your time going this route.

    BUT, what we also did (talking UK) was have something called "Design Registration" where we registered the "shape" of the product.
    So a couple of views (including an isometric) of each product showed what we're making crystal clear.
    We did this, and it was ridiculously cheap so money well spent.
    And again by memory, the purpose was that it is a date/stamped official document, so if anyone else ever started subsequently making, at least you have legal recourse to go at them for copying.
    What that really means in todays litigious world, I don't now know though...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    I wonder how much protection a patent really offers anyway. I have a ridiculously simple idea for a hand-tool that I can't believe doesn't exist already. One big fear before I even get out of the gate, is getting ripped off before wheels get off the ground. That naturally leads one to think of patenting the idea, but such is a big hill to climb for a cash-strapped 'inventor' like myself in this case.

    I suppose staying off kick-starter would be prudent. (Was never an intention anyway...)
    One thing that many inventors don't want to hear is that ideas are dime a dozen. Researching existing patents and crafting an application, as well as pony up money for further R&D while making a big bet with money is where the real expense is. Give me a bottle of vodka or two, few of my comrades can come with ideas as fast as someone can write them down. Making something that's commercially profitable is another ball of wax.

    I am dissapointed with the current culture/mentality that everything must be made in China to be successful. Japan is just a stone throw away from the slave factories, but there are many things that they choose to do domestically and have quiet a bit of small manufacturing shops and small businesses.

    The patent system is pretty much outdated now. It's heavily weighted towards big money who out litigate you that black is actually white. That and the fact that USPTO has been issuing increasing number of patents for something that they should not, i.e. not being able to perform their job and purpose in the first place.

    As to the "iris" idea, that's your camera's iris already well known, but simply repurposed to be used instead of a compass. I bet those guys have never seen one. Everything new is well forgotten old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _boris_ View Post
    Japan is just a stone throw away from the slave factories, but there are many things that they choose to do domestically and have quiet a bit of small manufacturing shops and small businesses.
    Japan and China both do a lot to protect their businesses from foreign countries. China makes US companies partner with a Chinese firm to do business there. Japan does the same thing. US is a free for all. A great book on the history of CNC machines and it also covers this practice with Japan:

    When the machine stopped: A cautionary tale from industrial America

    Yamazaki (Mazak) was partner to a US company Burgmaster. Note, Mazak was not just a sales office in Japan. They made machines and would go onto to outdo their partner handily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _boris_ View Post
    One thing that many inventors don't want to hear is that ideas are dime a dozen. Researching existing patents and crafting an application, as well as pony up money for further R&D while making a big bet with money is where the real expense is. Give me a bottle of vodka or two, few of my comrades can come with ideas as fast as someone can write them down. Making something that's commercially profitable is another ball of wax.
    Understood, and agree. Which is why someone with a reasonably marketable idea like mine, would be hesitant to get started - knowing the possibility of getting copied in today's global "information age" is a clear & present danger. "Insuring" your idea with a patent sounds good - until it's time to pay for the patent - and everything else, up front that is...

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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmosK View Post
    China makes US companies partner with a Chinese firm to do business there.
    This part is not correct. You can be a WOFE if you want -- Wholly-Owned Foreign Enterprise.

    The bigger guys seem to do that, but the smaller ones are all entranced by some shit they read while waiting in the dentist's office. "You need Chinese managers ! They know how the system works !

    So the fools hire dishonest people, the ones who have the best line of blarney, and the result is predictable.

    Believing what the "experts" on China write is a sure road to disaster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    This part is not correct.
    Maybe there are some other ways too, but it seems a major mechanism of ripping on US IP currently.

    "In some sectors, Beijing will only let foreign firms operate through joint ventures in which Chinese partners have the majority stake. "

    How China gets what it wants from American companies

    I spent a few seconds googling for that result. I'm sure there are tons more.

    I'm not an expert nor do I want to be on China. I remember at my first real job, back when outsourcing to China was in it's prime, they send a complete product to them to build (previously had just send components). Software guys were running the project. China firmly asked that they send the source code (product had IR send receive tech). After some wimpy wobbling, they caved and sent it. Barf

    About the kickstarter per OP. I wonder if they actually sent China the solid files to get quotes that were then turned into knockoffs. That would be funny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmosK View Post
    "In some sectors, Beijing will only let foreign firms operate through joint ventures in which Chinese partners have the majority stake. "
    Mostly banking, I think. Manufacturers are welcome to be wholly independent. Some do, others go for the carrots.

    They used VW as an example in that story - well, VW had a deal with Shanghai that if they built a plant in Jiading (it's a suburb), all the Shanghai taxicabs would be new VW's. Doesn't sound like much until you know that Shanghai has 20 million people and taxis were more common than private cars then. Maybe still are. VW made so much money that they gave 17 months salary to their employees for a bonus one year. I don't think they are bitching. I think they are pretty happy with how things worked out.

    How China gets what it wants from American companies

    Sure but ... if a guy walks in my door and says, "Do you want to build silencers ? I'll give you $100 apiece" and I do it, then I shouldn't bitch and moan when they put me in jail. No one makes these companies sell their souls. They do it for a nickel. If you really don't want to manufacture in China, then don't go there.

    btw, the Germans tend to not make those deals, and they still have a big presence in China. Japanese, too. I have no idea why US companies are so stupid.

    Musk is full of shit. The goobermint is a pain in the ass for everybody, not just foreign companies. He has no clue how all of China works, so he's shocked, shocked I tell you ! that it isn't like the US. Hey Elon ! Look around you. See all them slanty eyes ? Black hair ? You're not in Kansas anymore, Elon ! duh ! Different rules !

    Maybe the CEO's don't give a damn, because they will be gone by the time anything bad happens ?

    Here's another example : SRAM needed a small quantity of springs for their highest-end shifter (the ones Greg Their Guy was using . 1,000 springs. Their buddy Taiwanian supplier gave them a price of $.90 per spring, a local Chicago company was $1.10. Chicago part was good for 100,000 cycles, Taiwanian one less than 10,000. So they bought from Taiwan to save, literally, $200 for a part that was one-tenth as good. This was their very very highest-end piece that onl the top top racers would ever see. And naturally they failed. Those guys don't talk, of course ... I mean, when you are about to win the Tour de France and your shifter blows up because some dork in Purchasing saved twenty cents, well, that's understandable ! no hard feelings !

    SRAM is a great example of US corporate leadership. They had factories successively in Ireland, Mexico, and China. Their factories in Ireland, Mexico, and China successively failed. They couldn't find their own ass with both hands in a dark room. The only reason they even exist is they won an "intellectual property" case against Shimano, otherwise they wouldn't have a dime. Morons.

    It's easy to blame China for the failures of US businesses but ... mmm ... seems like the US businessses can do a great job of failing all on their own

    I'm not an expert nor do I want to be on China. I remember at my first real job, back when outsourcing to China was in it's prime, they send a complete product to them to build (previously had just send components). Software guys were running the project. China firmly asked that they send the source code (product had IR send receive tech). After some wimpy wobbling, they caved and sent it. Barf
    Exactly. They didn't have to. If we are such suckers, well .... this isn't just China, btw. I once had a guy in SF pull the same trick. He ordered 100 sets of gears which I designed but he said "Hang onto the check, I'll make a deposit on Monday."

    What he did was take the sample parts to LA to get a lower price. Tuesday came, he was nowhere to be found, the bank said it was good so I deposited the check. He was incensed and screamed bloody murder

    My attorney saved my ass; according to the commercial code after getting a purchase order you are entitled to the profit you would have made, no matter what. So I kept the money. He's still selling those parts which would have been better for me, but some is better than nothing.

    btw, I never wailed "but those are my intellectual property ! waaaah !" Products are just things. Anyone else could have figured out how to make them, too. You can't own ideas. The hard part in making money is figuring out how to get people to buy yours instead of Joe Schmoe's down the street. Even people who can't make stuff can think up "products". Making it and selling it and collecting the money is the part that counts.

    China did not invent this kind of thing. You better watch your ass doing business in the US as well. There is no "right" to the "intellectual property" of some mechanical thing. Good luck with that.

    About the kickstarter per OP. I wonder if they actually sent China the solid files to get quotes that were then turned into knockoffs. That would be funny.
    Kickstarter guys are mostly morons

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Mostly banking, I think. Manufacturers are welcome to be wholly independent. Some do, others go for the carrots.

    They used VW as an example in that story - well, VW had a deal with Shanghai that if they built a plant in Jiading (it's a suburb), all the Shanghai taxicabs would be new VW's. Doesn't sound like much until you know that Shanghai has 20 million people and taxis were more common than private cars then. Maybe still are. VW made so much money that they gave 17 months salary to their employees for a bonus one year. I don't think they are bitching. I think they are pretty happy with how things worked out.

    How China gets what it wants from American companies

    Sure but ... if a guy walks in my door and says, "Do you want to build silencers ? I'll give you $100 apiece" and I do it, then I shouldn't bitch and moan when they put me in jail. No one makes these companies sell their souls. They do it for a nickel. If you really don't want to manufacture in China, then don't go there.

    btw, the Germans tend to not make those deals, and they still have a big presence in China. Japanese, too. I have no idea why US companies are so stupid.

    Musk is full of shit. The goobermint is a pain in the ass for everybody, not just foreign companies. He has no clue how all of China works, so he's shocked, shocked I tell you ! that it isn't like the US. Hey Elon ! Look around you. See all them slanty eyes ? Black hair ? You're not in Kansas anymore, Elon ! duh ! Different rules !

    Maybe the CEO's don't give a damn, because they will be gone by the time anything bad happens ?

    Here's another example : SRAM needed a small quantity of springs for their highest-end shifter (the ones Greg Their Guy was using . 1,000 springs. Their buddy Taiwanian supplier gave them a price of $.90 per spring, a local Chicago company was $1.10. Chicago part was good for 100,000 cycles, Taiwanian one less than 10,000. So they bought from Taiwan to save, literally, $200 for a part that was one-tenth as good. This was their very very highest-end piece that onl the top top racers would ever see. And naturally they failed. Those guys don't talk, of course ... I mean, when you are about to win the Tour de France and your shifter blows up because some dork in Purchasing saved twenty cents, well, that's understandable ! no hard feelings !

    SRAM is a great example of US corporate leadership. They had factories successively in Ireland, Mexico, and China. Their factories in Ireland, Mexico, and China successively failed. They couldn't find their own ass with both hands in a dark room. The only reason they even exist is they won an "intellectual property" case against Shimano, otherwise they wouldn't have a dime. Morons.

    It's easy to blame China for the failures of US businesses but ... mmm ... seems like the US businessses can do a great job of failing all on their own


    Exactly. They didn't have to. If we are such suckers, well .... this isn't just China, btw. I once had a guy in SF pull the same trick. He ordered 100 sets of gears which I designed but he said "Hang onto the check, I'll make a deposit on Monday."

    What he did was take the sample parts to LA to get a lower price. Tuesday came, he was nowhere to be found, the bank said it was good so I deposited the check. He was incensed and screamed bloody murder

    My attorney saved my ass; according to the commercial code after getting a purchase order you are entitled to the profit you would have made, no matter what. So I kept the money. He's still selling those parts which would have been better for me, but some is better than nothing.

    btw, I never wailed "but those are my intellectual property ! waaaah !" Products are just things. Anyone else could have figured out how to make them, too. You can't own ideas. The hard part in making money is figuring out how to get people to buy yours instead of Joe Schmoe's down the street. Even people who can't make stuff can think up "products". Making it and selling it and collecting the money is the part that counts.

    China did not invent this kind of thing. You better watch your ass doing business in the US as well. There is no "right" to the "intellectual property" of some mechanical thing. Good luck with that.


    Kickstarter guys are mostly morons
    Do you know of precautions Americans can take to lessen the change that the Chinese would counterfeit a new product? Surely there must be ways to make the effort less attractive or to keep the attention off of something valuable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trueturning View Post
    Do you know of precautions Americans can take to lessen the change that the Chinese would counterfeit a new product? Surely there must be ways to make the effort less attractive or to keep the attention off of something valuable.
    This is an ancient question, long before it was the Chinese bogeyman. Back in olden tymes, other companies in the US would commonly copy your stuff and sell it. This is Life with a capital L. "Intellectual property" is nonsense.

    There were different strategies. The problem was marketing. If you were not fast enough and big enough, by the time your product got popular several other people had copied it, and probably made improvements. One approach was the patent but that's expensive and only works if you have enough money to drag "violators" of your black rectangle into court. Another was to get some large retailer to carry your product. Another was to outright sell it to a larger outfit or retailer. Sometimes your only choice is to sell it - if you are little and invent the hula-hoop, hitting it big is great but if you can only make fifty a day, you're screwed. By the time you make 200 Wham-o will have made 250,000.

    In short, if you are a little guy, life is tough. That's why niche products are so attractive to small companies. If there's not enough money in it the biggies will leave you alone - but you'll still have copycats. There's at least two posters here and I can think of more who have had products copied by other companies in the US. Acting like this is a China China China thing is not correct. It's part of life for a small mfg company.

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  18. #35
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    The ideas for products are the easiest part. I narrow down the ones to develop with a common sense process, but one of the big factors is china knockoffs.

    I avoid products where the material cost and cheap labor is always going to be the biggest expense to manufacture domestically. Often times I can take an idea that is a non-starter because it's perfect for china to copy, but make it from a thin stamping on a tool I make and run it in my press or design it to be machined in one op from the drop of material from one of my other products so cost is nil.

    Another big huge one is DON'T LET ON HOW MANY YOU SELL!!!

    My single most successful product by far is barely advertised and sold on a website that doesn't really relate to it's purpose, but it shows up at the top of google search results for all related search terms. China could rip it off in a heartbeat and flood the market, but instead I've been selling them consistently for a decade now.

    If you put it on Amazon FBA and have 12,000 5 star reviews you're going to ripped off. If you do a big press release and have it in every relevant magazine you're going to get ripped off.

    I like to use internet forums and Youtube videos to promote.

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