A reader asked me how to conduct due diligence relative to the intellectual property rights of the products offered by Chinese suppliers:
I am to sell accessories in a specific market. I have stumbled on many Alibaba listings where:
1. Product in question is a brand name
2. Product in question is under different (made up?) brand name
3. Product in question does not have brand
The problem here is when they don’t disclose the brand, or they show a different brand because you never know if that product’s design is registered. You never know unless you are aware of such brand producing such product. For example I am aware of iPhone and all counterfeits that look like iPhone but when it comes to some kitchen product which I have never used, then I can’t be sure.
Microplane zester/grater is an example. Microplane is actually a brand, not a feature, technique etc. and this one was easy to find on Google. But what if Google is not sufficient or does not give a clear idea of the situation?
Unless I know it’s a brand, I can’t know if the design is protected or even if the product has a patent. That’s why I am looking for a system, guide, or software that would make such research easier to follow, reduce the risks, and save time and energy.
This is an interesting problem. Many other buyers probably share this frustration. And I don’t know of any easy way of reducing such risks.
- Checking if a brand is owned by another company is usually easy.
- Checking if a patent has been registered is complicated and expensive. To make matters worse, some patents are only registered locally and not internationally.
- I guess lawyers can help and check the issues of trademarks and copyrights.
Anybody has an idea?