Suspected Chinese knockoff starting-what would you do?
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 131
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    2,132
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    311
    Likes (Received)
    121

    Default Suspected Chinese knockoff starting-what would you do?

    Here's the scenario-my friend is successfully manufacturing/selling aftermarket replacement parts for equipment that is unique to the USA. The parts are available from the OEM, but I helped him to come up with a design that works better and is cost competitive. Sales are directly to end users online. Order comes in from China, and my friend is suspecting its for a sample to reverse engineer, as he's been selling them for several years and this is the first Chinese order.

    Thought about canceling the order, but then they could just place another more discreet order?

    Anything thoughts or experiences you can share?

    Thanks!

  2. Likes Laurentian, Joe Miranda liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    14,104
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    4812
    Likes (Received)
    5084

    Default

    If they can make and sell counterfeit calipers, they can do most anything they want.

    It is a darn shame.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    196
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    43

    Default

    I agree there isn't much to be done. Even if you are able to speak to each and every one of your customers before a sale they can still pass off the product to someone in China after purchase.

    A few years back I started a company making a >$10K commercial coffee brewer and even though all of our early sales were directly through us, one of our customers in California turned out to not be opening their own coffeeshops and ended up shipping the machines they bought to China to reverse engineer. A couple years later we say their nearly identical copy at a trade show in Asia!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Mebane North Carolina USA
    Posts
    6,966
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    56
    Likes (Received)
    2178

    Default

    Go to home depot. Buy a brick. Package brick and send off. It will buy you a little time. Or better yet, have a scrap part? Let them duplicate one with bad dimensions or a critical design flaw.

    On the same note, a friend of mine spent a year developing a pretty unique product. Started selling them. He went to a trade show to look around and meet a customer to deliver one of the parts. The customer and he where walking the floor. The customer stopped at a booth of a chinese company known for knockoffs. The jerk handed the part to them and said "see what you can do".

  6. #5
    Guest Guest

    Default

    I would just tell them due to recent difficulties with exporting to China there will now be a minimum order of (ridiculous amount) units until further notice.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    22,401
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I would just tell them due to recent difficulties with exporting to China there will now be a minimum order of (ridiculous amount) units until further notice.
    Just say it's an ITAR part....

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    3,033
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1680
    Likes (Received)
    1847

    Default

    You don't have to do anything... just lose the order.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    California
    Posts
    6,370
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    124
    Likes (Received)
    1240

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Machinery_E View Post
    Anything thoughts or experiences you can share?
    You can only ship parts after they tell you what the serial number is of their machine/equipment.
    See if you ever hear from them again.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Florida
    Posts
    856
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    101
    Likes (Received)
    448

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    Let them duplicate one with bad dimensions or a critical design flaw.

    The jerk handed the part to them and said "see what you can do".
    Super idea!

    Kick him in the balls.

    CarlBoyd

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    IL/WI border
    Posts
    3,537
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1283
    Likes (Received)
    1105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    Or better yet, have a scrap part? Let them duplicate one with bad dimensions or a critical design
    Absolutely brilliant idea! Bravo! Not only will it buy you time, it may spoil their desire to proceed further.

  12. Likes ernieflash, TheOldCar, Jashley73 liked this post
  13. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    6,331
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    6777
    Likes (Received)
    3643

    Default

    IME, anyone who isn't on the offensive regarding this stuff is going to lose.

    If it is a domestic only product I would keep it out of China's hands for as long as possible.

    If you ship them something that doesn't work and they copy it and start selling it on Amazon delivered with Prime for less than you pay for materials it very well could blow up in your face and push buyers into getting from the OEM.

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Washington
    Posts
    3,479
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1425
    Likes (Received)
    1542

    Default

    Don't respond, it may buy you a little time, or they may just pass if it's too difficult to get one of your parts and look for lower hanging fruit. Either way, you should constantly be improving your operation/part to better compete when somebody does start competing with you. In a free market others are going to compete with you, embrace it. If you are making your own products this is just a fact of life.

    PS- Don't give them anything, they are like spam calls. If you answer they will know you are a live number.

  15. Likes Laurentian liked this post
  16. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    2,979
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2780
    Likes (Received)
    1413

    Default

    We build a machine that's been on the market for over 100 years and we had a customer buy a couple that would be sent to a factory in China. We were a little apprehensive at first, but decided to go ahead with the order because they've had 100 years to rip us off and haven't done so yet. Partly because the market for the machine is small (If we sold 100 a year we'd be doing extremely well), but also because the machine is complex enough that it would be very hard to build a functional machine with crap tolerances and crap materials.

    In the end, US manufactures are competing with global cheap manufacturing no matter what we do, so we might as well do a job good enough that if we do get ripped off, it's obvious to the customer that the US made product is a better buy. You have to know your market and build to match it however. Lots of manufactures either focus on the how much something costs when the buyer would rather pay more for a better item, or they build something too well when the buyer would rather just buy a cheaper substitute. I don't buy "Made in USA" because it's the best of something, I buy it to support my countrymen.

  17. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Arizona
    Posts
    299
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    145
    Likes (Received)
    163

    Default

    I haven't slept much in the last few days, so please forgive me if I am being a prick...but am I the only one who just read "my friend reverse engineered someone else's part (with a few changes...) and undercut them on price, but now someone is going to do the same to him and how dare they"...?

    I don't know the specifics of your situation, and I am a proponent of right to repair and similar ideas. I just feel like this OEM could likely have very similar feelings about what your friend did. Did you not have to first get their part in your hands to redesign it?

    In the end if there is money to be made they will get it, and probably doesn't matter if you refuse to ship it to China or not.

  18. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    536
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    202
    Likes (Received)
    318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    We build a machine that's been on the market for over 100 years and we had a customer buy a couple that would be sent to a factory in China. We were a little apprehensive at first, but decided to go ahead with the order because they've had 100 years to rip us off and haven't done so yet. Partly because the market for the machine is small (If we sold 100 a year we'd be doing extremely well), but also because the machine is complex enough that it would be very hard to build a functional machine with crap tolerances and crap materials.

    In the end, US manufactures are competing with global cheap manufacturing no matter what we do, so we might as well do a job good enough that if we do get ripped off, it's obvious to the customer that the US made product is a better buy. You have to know your market and build to match it however. Lots of manufactures either focus on the how much something costs when the buyer would rather pay more for a better item, or they build something too well when the buyer would rather just buy a cheaper substitute. I don't buy "Made in USA" because it's the best of something, I buy it to support my countrymen.
    If more people thought like us we'd have a lot less problems as country.

  19. Likes M.B. Naegle, Ox, Laurentian, jackal, gregg-k liked this post
  20. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    2,132
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    311
    Likes (Received)
    121

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johfoster View Post
    I haven't slept much in the last few days, so please forgive me if I am being a prick...but am I the only one who just read "my friend reverse engineered someone else's part (with a few changes...) and undercut them on price, but now someone is going to do the same to him and how dare they"...?

    I don't know the specifics of your situation, and I am a proponent of right to repair and similar ideas. I just feel like this OEM could likely have very similar feelings about what your friend did. Did you not have to first get their part in your hands to redesign it?

    In the end if there is money to be made they will get it, and probably doesn't matter if you refuse to ship it to China or not.
    That is a very fair question. As an end user of OEM's machine, we experienced first hand the short comings. Did some re-engineering, testing, and ended up with something that works better. My friend needed work, so he started manufacturing/selling them. It depends on where you purchase the OEM replacement part. At one online source, they are slightly less (a few dollars) than what my friend is selling them for.

    We aren't talking crazy profits here, its decent, but when you bring China into the picture, we are talking possibly a price point where they will be selling knockoffs at what is less than the cost of materials.

    Right now, paying a little more for a better product, "Made in the USA" (OEM doesn't list country of origin) is working. But will it work if the knockoffs are a factor of 10 cheaper?

  21. Likes Laurentian liked this post
  22. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    94
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    18
    Likes (Received)
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    You can only ship parts after they tell you what the serial number is of their machine/equipment.
    See if you ever hear from them again.
    like buying from Mazak. We manufactured a custom right angle head for a customers machine. Our customer had to buy the mating gasket from Mazak and send it to us, as Mazak would not ship to our facility as that was not the physical address of the machine.

    In the end as stated if they want it bad enough they will get one and do a knock off . you are really only at best going to delay. Even with a patent infringement you do not really have any recourse legally in China.

    ask Zippo or the hundreds of other companies that have fell victim

  23. Likes Laurentian liked this post
  24. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Flushing/Flint, Michigan
    Posts
    10,775
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    632
    Likes (Received)
    8683

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Machinery_E View Post
    ....
    Thought about canceling the order, but then they could just place another more discreet order?

    Anything thoughts or experiences you can share?

    Thanks!
    Perhaps I should not say this but If I want to evaluate, measure and analyze a cutting tool from a competitor often I will have a friend in a way different shop order one or more for me.
    This way they do not know it is me and I get my hands on a as shipped tool or cutter with its magic angles, grind or whatever.
    Not sure how you can ever prevent or protect that.
    One needs to ship product and somebody is going to try to make it cheaper.
    Therein lies marketing, branding and all that.
    Bob

  25. Likes Laurentian, Bobw, Oldwrench liked this post
  26. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    484
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    244
    Likes (Received)
    215

    Default

    What I can tell you from experience is that parts will always get copied and made by someone else for less. I have dealt with major manufacturers who have seen multi millions of part orders go overseas and get cheapened and lessened quality. I asked them what they did about it. The response was "we make parts for a living, we just make different parts now". No issues when you solve problems for a living. Come up with another product, make it better and sell it until you cant anymore. Then make new products and rinse and repeat.

    A good analogy is the Winklevoss twins losing out on facebook ownership. Harvard essentially told them "you go to Harvard, just move on and create something else". I heard the other day they own like 2 million bitcoins they got for cheap when they first came out.

    If your great at what you do you will be great at anything you do. Just keep at it.

  27. Likes M.B. Naegle, Laurentian liked this post
  28. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston MA
    Posts
    1,181
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    598
    Likes (Received)
    1099

    Default

    Been through this a million times.

    Not shipping their order isn't going to do anything other than delay the inevitable and possibly make them think you are being so protective because you're sitting on a goldmine.

    Honestly, if you have some genuine innovation, then you should protect it with a patent. If your only differentiator is that you were first to think of the idea or something like that, then you don't deserve the market to yourself. Competition is good for the consumer, even when it comes from China. You have to offer a competitive advantage.

    I compete with Chinese stuff every day and I still make sales. You can't compete with China on price, so you have to compete on service and quality. If your customers aren't willing to pay for those, then all you had was being first and that's not a solid foundation for any business.

  29. Likes shpxnvz, Scottl liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •