Safeguarding your IP in a global market

How can a company protect its intellectual property when its products and services get copied in other countries?

This is the question that Milton Kotler, chairman of both Kotler Marketing Group USA and Kotler Marketing Group China, asks in the March edition of “Marketing News”. He comes up with four options.

1. Confine your business to your domestic market where the law protects you.
Easy, but this approach limits your market to a fraction of the global market.

2. Go through the rigmarole of trade protection with carrots and sticks.
Sounds like lots of work for the legal team, and cheaters will always be out there.

3. Brand your products and services so powerfully that customers will pay a higher price for them, despite the availability of cheaper knockoffs.
This is where it gets interesting. Branding has emotional and intellectual components. Business buyers hold onto higher-cost suppliers because of trust and convenience, often based on personal relationships. Consumers buy higher-priced originals because of status, celebrity and prestige. The downside is that building and sustaining a strong brand is expensive.

4. Innovate at a faster pace than your companies in low-cost countries can copy and export.
Even when new products and versions are constantly developed, marketers still have a vital role to play. The old products have to be replaced, which means messages explaining new benefits have to be crafted and promoted. The pricing has to be right, and distribution channels managed and incentivized.

A publication of the American Marketing Association, you can find “Marketing News” magazine on the web at Marketing News

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Market Metrics Inc. helps knowledge-based businesses with strategy, planning and innovation. We offer our clients a unique combination of top-shelf professional skills, competitive pricing, and real-world industry experience in business planning, marketing, and technology.

The consultancy was founded in 2003 by Greg Graham, a seasoned strategic marketing professional. Greg is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Management Consultants (FCMC), and an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASMEC) in the United States. He holds MBA/BEE degrees plus a Certificate in Strategic Management.

Prior to founding Market Metrics, Greg's 21 years of corporate experience encompassed tech start-ups through Fortune 500 companies. He is an expert in subscription-based business models (including SaaS). Greg frequently performs consulting engagements on behalf of the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).