Yes. this can be a sensitive topic. But hey, thats why I am picking it as a topic in the first place! And that is – how an original idea in one country may be copied overseas without any financial compensation or even a “thank you” to the founder. I, being born and raised in the USA, always was brought up with the impression ideas are stolen and you have to watch carefully who you show it to, and that overseas, yes, it will quickly get stolen from you and you probably cannot do anything about it.
Being here in China now about 1 and a half years, I have grown perspective on this topic. Put yourself in this situation:
See a product / service you like that is sold overseas. It is not being offered in your country. You don’t speak the language where it is currently being made. You see opportunity of this product / service selling in your home country. Also, the original concept is not exactly how you think it would be best in your home country – the people here would want it differently.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
OK, so you want to do the right thing. You, what? Call a USA phone number, but you cannot speak English that well, and it is pretty expensive to call internationally. Do you consult with a company in your city? Well, they probably would say just do it, they would not say bother contacting this international company (and this is the main problem, no standard international policy on IP!).
but say you do speak good English, and you stay up late one night and make a phone call. OK – a customer service rep picks up the call – “who are you? hmmm, who to transfer you too”. etc etc, I mean, how do you get to the right person?
And then, say you get to the executive team who owns this great product / service in USA. If they even take you seriously, what are they going to say
I mean, really, this is what I would expect to happen. As I have attended some of these trade shows and talked to some companies, yes, they have similar copy products that may have been invented in USA…..BUT HOW IS IT supposed to be done properly?
I have an example – FACEBOOK. I live in China, and I look for a NETWORK in my city. IT ONLY SUPPORTS CITIES FOR NORTH AMERICA (US and CANADA) and UK. Wake up facebook how much effort is it to add international cities? I mean, this is just begging for people in China to copy the business model and add the damn cities!!!!!!!!!!!! It is, in a way, disrespectful to the international community – and this is one example out of many like this that may put in perspective why products / services that may be orginally inventeed in USA are copied and tailored for a overseas market.
Whether copying a product overseas without financial benefit to the original inventor is right / wrong, moral / immoral, the fact of the matter is GET IT IN THE HANDS of that international market, or expect it to be copied. Because hey, people are people, and they want products in their home country, on their store shelves too. And they want it catered for their culture.
So, maybe this is creating opportunity for consulting companies to assist small business more rapidly make their new product / service more readily available internationally, it is something that needs to be address. With the internet passing information worldwide in seconds, we need to be quicker on our toes as entrepreneurs and business people.