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The ultimate guide to protecting intellectual property in China – Part 2

 

Welcome to part two of The ultimate guide to protecting intellectual property in China.

In my last post I walked you through registering your IP and some ways on how to limit the exposure of your products to keep everything under wraps and protected.

This time around I’m going to go into more detail about what you can do to limit your exposure, how to go about monitoring the safety of your IP, and enforcing it. Let’s get right to it.

Limit your exposure by having some leverage over your supplier

You definitely need to have a balance here. If you have too much leverage, the ups and downs in your product cycle could really affect them adversely. My rule is to represent 20 to 35 percent a factory’s output. If you can become that volume for a factory’s output, so you represent 30% of their output, you’re not too big and not too small, they would really have to think twice before compromising your intellectual property.

Be cautious of a low price

If you get a price from a really professional factory that’s low, there may be a reason that the factory wants to entice you to do business with them. Sometimes they really want to get your business, and sometimes they want to learn about your new design or product so they can make it on their own.  It is important that you do your homework and that you are paying a reasonable price, not too low and not too high.

Monitoring the safety of your IP

You might have a great contract, you might get the factory ownership to sign up that they will never do business with your three competitors, the factory owner that signed it may actually believe that he wants to follow the agreement, but what about the other 15 people on the sales department or the engineering team?

Inevitably, if you have a really cool product being made at the factory, somebody from the sales department may scheme that they have access to a really cool product, decide to put it in their suitcase and take it to a trade show, or take pictures of it and put it on their website. Even if you have the greatest contract explaining ‘DO NOT SHOWCASE MY PRODUCT’ clearly under the contract of the supplier, there’s still a likelihood that your product will find its way into the public domain. 

Whenever I have that type of relationship with the factory where there’s an agreement in place, I monitor it. Ask any supplier, “Hey, which trade shows are you going to?” They’ll be so happy to tell you because they think that you’re going to come to their booth. You can write this information down, then you or your friends can walk by the booth to see if your product is for sale.

If you’re visiting the factory, look in their showrooms, look on their website, check out their tool room, look in their stock room. You can learn a lot in a warehouse of a factory, because on most boxes it will say the end customers’ location and brand name. So say you have exclusivity where you tell the factory “You better not be dealing with any other American customers Mr. factory. I don’t care if you sell to Canada, or Australia or UK, but I’m your only American customer per contract,” and then you go in the store room and you see Walmart USA all over the boxes that they’re shipping, it’s a red flag that somebody in the organization is disrespecting you.

You don’t necessarily want it to appear that you distrust the supplier or you’re snooping around, so you can do what I like to do, which is tell them “Thanks for the tour. While we go through the warehouse do you mind if I take some pictures? I’d also like to test the thickness of your cardboard. Do you mind if I take these samples of cardboard and do a little stress test?” I use this all the time!

In reality my co-worker is taking a picture of me by the boxes that says Walmart USA while I’m pretending to do a stress test to get a close up where it exactly it’s shipping. So get yourself in the show room, the stock room and the tool room and look around diplomatically. So trust, but verify.

Tackling Taobao

Taobao is like the number one back door channel where factories sell product without you knowing. It’s all in Chinese, but you can do a keyword search on taobao.com and have someone that is Chinese do a search and find out easily if they’re an approved vendor of  selling your product out of the back door.

When I had my second child, I used taobao and I saved so much money buying the European and Japanese brands of cribs and really high end stuff like clothing for children and everything. It was all from the actual factories in English packaging and no Chinese on it. It was literally from the authorized factory, but someone decided to make a few bucks off of the factory by selling excess stock out of the back door. Now you might say no harm no foul, but what if I decided to buy 5000 units of the product that you just made with the factory of off taobao, and now I’m going to sell it pre channel into your market, that could really hurt! So keep an eye on taobao.

Who is the dummy

?protecting intellectual property in china who is the dummy

Another way to keep an eye on the factory’s honesty is to pretend to have a friend of yours  play the dummy customer where you write, email or call the factory and you say, “Hey, I heard you are making xyz product, I don’t know if you’ve done it before, but do you think you could make this watch for me?” If your friend is actually asking them to make your watch, and they say yes, that’s a very bad sign.

I don’t want to scare you away, the vast majority of suppliers are honest to deal with, as I have said before some of these suppliers are like family members to me, but you have to assume the worst and monitor them accordingly. They are under so much pressure to make money, the sales person works on 100% commission so they are so aggressive when it comes to getting new business, and this concept of respecting intellectual property, I don’t know if it is Confucianism, communism or a lot of people crammed into a small place with a lot of energy to make money, but the concept of what it’s in  personal space and what’s in a public domain is very much blurred in China, so even if you think it’s clear that you own this technology, a lot of supplier may have different impression on what is in the public domain.

Lawfully enforcing contracts

If you monitor your IP and you find that there is a breach of contract, don’t just say, “Whatever, it’s China, there’s nothing I can do about it.” 15 years ago, that’s what I said, but things have changed so much after China joined the WTO. The courts are becoming much more of a level playing field. You can issue a demand letter, just don’t issue a demand letter in English from your lawyer in New York, the suppliers are going to laugh at that, but if you get a local Chinese attorney (they are becoming more and more affordable) to issue a demand letter politely explaining that if they don’t come correct there might be a litigation you will see that we can litigate in china. Foreigners can even investigate, so things have changed a lot, it’s a level playing field in terms of our ability to enforce contracts.

To show you how level of a playing field it is, I was involved in a case where it wasn’t IP infringement, but it was like a wrongful termination of employment situation or something like that, where clearly the employee did a bad job and should have been fired, and the employee said that I needed to pay him severance.

I wanted to know what we were getting into so I went to the court just to see how this process works. I was kind of in the neighborhood so I didn’t even bring a lawyer with me. It was all in Chinese, and I think they were surprised that some foreigner showed up and asked how the Chinese court system works. The girl at the front desk asked if I wanted to meet the judge that was handling my case? I said yes and sat down with them and the judge let me explain the case. After having my say the judge called up the defendant and said he thinks the defendant would lose the case if it came to court, and that he should settle right now. I don’t think that will be legal in the US, and it certainly doesn’t happen in the West, but in china that judge had so many cases on his docket that he just wanted to get things moving.

I had good contracts, they were bilingual, I was a nice guy, and he went out on his way to make sure I was protected as a foreigner in China. Don’t think that the courts are biased against you, they may say that because they didn’t have their contracts in place, they didn’t have their contracts in Chinese, they tried to enforce their intellectual property after it was ripped off, and they didn’t bother to register it in the first place.

In those cases you will find yourself fighting an incredible uphill battle, but if you apply the tips that I’ve shared with you in terms of having proper bilingual contracts, a contract stating a penalty if its broken, you’ll make it really easy for the judge to lean in your favor.

That brings us to the end of this ultimate guide to protecting intellectual property in China. If you have any questions pertaining to anything I’ve said above, please feel free to drop me a comment below.

The ultimate guide to protecting intellectual property in China – 1

 

I know some people are worried that maybe their ideas will get knocked off in China, that if you find a supplier that supplier could become your competitor. Sometimes these factories are huge, they have distribution partners around the world and you have got this great idea…

How do you avoid having your ideas compromised?

Read on to find out how you can go about protecting intellectual property in China in this two part, ultimate guide blog…

In my experience, you come at it from four angles. Obviously, first register your intellectual property. If you haven’t registered your brands (or anything that is patentable) in China you run a huge risk of not protecting your IP. In China, it’s first to register rather than first to market. That means that if you show me this cool idea that you have at the trade show but you haven’t registered your logo, I can go to Beijing now and pay a hundred bucks and register it. Now, according to the Chinese government I own it, so be very careful on who you share your ideas with!

The good news is that it’s very affordable and easy to register your brands and patents in china. Nowadays there are plenty of English speaking lawyers in China that I can introduce you to that I work with, and they are even less expensive than doing it back home.

Register your IP not only at the government, but also with the port authorities.

For example, if you are dealing with a product that has Disney licensing, technically the port authorities should be checking if it is a licensed exporter before the goods go out. Even if you’re not Disney, you can still get your product as a registered brand, and believe it or not because the Chinese know that they’ve had a black eye for IP infringements for so long, they’re going out of their way to enforce these issues.

So let them do their job! If it belongs to you let the courts work for you in China, and don’t forget to tell your supplier that not only does this brand belong to you, but it is important that they don’t do business with other companies or other brands. A lot of times we register the product, but we forget to explain to our supplier why is it important that they don’t do business with these five other competitors. So I’ll talk a little later on how to make that stick, but don’t forget to at least tell your suppliers what’s important to you about respect of your intellectual property.

Limit your exposure both during production and especially pre-production

I have a good friend who is a Chinese factory boss and I went to his factory one time and his R&D department said R&D on the outside, it was a nice little office, so I went inside, and there were no employees or computers, it was just a room with some dust on the floor.

But, he always had really great ideas and the coolest products and I asked him over a couple of beers one time, “Hey, how do you come up with all these great products and there’s no one in your R&D department?” To which he replied, “Trade shows.”  “What do you mean?” I asked him.

He went on to tell me that often visitors to the trade shows are under a lot of pressure to find a factory. So they come with all their ideas, their blue prints, their counter samples and they give it to fifteen factories and maybe do business with one of those factories. What about the other fourteen factories? Now they have your idea, they have the specifications, maybe they really like your idea, so much that they want to copy it. My friend’s trade show booth was not necessarily to meet new customers, but it was to see what new trends are out there, copy those and get it to market before that person who was coming to the trade show gets it to market.

So, how can you avoid that?

what you need to know about protecting intellectual property in china

During the quotation process you can use a similar product. Taking a watch as an example, provide them with the watch you want to make that’s pretty similar to the watch you want made. Even if the watch you want to make has a special band, use a generic band for now and:

  • Get quotes
  • Narrow your choice down to two or three factories
  • Do your due diligence
  • Make sure they have a good reputation for respecting intellectual property

Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, then you let them see the secret sauce. Take it in steps.

Now, once you get to the production phase, you also need to be careful, especially if you’re dealing with a sub-supplier, or traders. You need to consider who has access to your technology.

If you’re a new brand, and you’re working with a company but they won’t let you visit the production site, that’s usually a red flag that they are a trading company or a broker, and they don’t own that factory. Well, who is that factory doing business with? If your manufacturers are dealing with your competitors, your ideas can get stolen really quick.

If you have sensitive intellectual property or even brands that you want to protect, you need to at least have a plan before you go out there and start sourcing.

Black Box manufacturing

One of the areas of business that I am in is ‘Black Box manufacturing’. Let’s say that you have a really cool band, but the mechanics are off the shelf. Continuing with the example of the watch, essentially, you would send us the band from the band supplier, the hardware from the hardware supplier, the clasp and the mechanics from another supplier, and then behind closed doors I have a hundred employees that kit things together. That’s black box manufacturing.

This is one way you can be strategic about how you compartmentalize the products so that the wrong party doesn’t see the whole thing. If you’re dealing with proprietary items that are custom made, consider owing the tooling. For example, maybe to get your watch band in the the shape that you want, the factory needs to have a certain type of compression tooling or mold to make it. You might go on to tell the factory that since this equipment is being used exclusively for my product, I would like to own it outright. This way if anything goes wrong with the supplier, you can pull it (maybe you won’t be able to move it quickly to another factory), but at least you’ll have stopped the poor performing factory from replicating your product easily. When I’m doing custom products I write up who owns the tooling in my contracts, and that’s a contract separate from the actual production order.

That’s it for the first part of protecting intellectual property in China. Next time we’ll take a look at more ways to limit your exposure, how you can go about monitoring the safety of your IP and enforcing it.

Protecting intellectual property in China: Is my logo safe in color?

 

Here is a short Q&A for a question that gets asked sometimes regarding IP registration for logos and protecting intellectual property in China

At this stage we are interested in registering the attached logo, as we are already pushing through a PCT application that will buy us a couple of years extra time. As the logo is in black and white I presume the trademark protection will cover its use in any colour?

Yes, but it’s better to check the application date of the patent, so you will know for sure when the PCT will expire.

Yes, correct. In China, protection will cover its use in any colour.

Related Content from PassageMaker’s founder:

Crash Course: China Sourcing: 9 short video tutorials

How to go about protecting intellectual property in China

How to go about protecting intellectual property in China

One of my clients asked me a question, which I believe is a common concern:

“How can one go about effectively protecting intellectual property in China?”

The following was my answer:

1. First of all, register your IPR in China, ASAP. All IP laws & regulations in China are based on the protection for legitimate registered IPR. Furthermore, for IP registration, China operates a “first-to-file” system, which means, whoever first applies for IPR will be granted ownership. That means if you want to protect your IP in China, you should register it in China.

2. Sign an NDA or similar contract with your partner. Whether you want to sell, buy, or manufacture in China, make sure you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or a contract with NDA clauses with your partners, who are probably your distributors, suppliers or local staff. In the NDA, you may specify that a penalty will be payable once either party breaches it, no matter if any actual damage has be made. Word of advice, it is vital to find a good partner, worst NDA +best partner is better than best NDA + worst NDA. Due diligence or IP audit is necessary when you choose your partner.

3. Register your IP with China customs. Though an NDA may work with a partner, you can’t stop any third party by signing an NDA with them. However, according to Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, you may register your IP with customs to stop the infringed upon goods being shipped out of China.

4. Finally, but not less importantly, you may resort to the following procedure to stop infringement: civil litigation, criminal prosecution and administrative action. Different procedure has different effect; you had better consult your local lawyer before you do any of them.

America’s new patent law

America's new patent law

As a patent holder myself and someone who works with inventors daily, I was concerned by the move to change America’s patent law. All the articles I read said that we were moving from a first-to-invent (FTI) to a first-to-file (FTF) system. Aside from the bureaucratic delays inevitable with any government agency, FTI seems to me to be a better system than FTF, especially given how we’ve seen FTF used in China. Today my coworker David sent me this interview with Alan C. Marco, a professor at Washington & Lee University, which explains that these reports misstated the case. The article by Jeff Hanna is short, so I will quote in full.

The new America Invents Act, signed into law last week by President Obama, will have a substantial impact on the pace of innovation in the country, according to Alan C. Marco, a Washington and Lee University economics professor who specializes in intellectual property rights.

Much of the media coverage of the new law focused on the change in the way the U.S. will award patents to inventors from a first-to-invent basis to a first-to-file basis.

Marco, who spent a recent leave as an expert adviser with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), said that while the shift is important, he believes it is even more significant that the patent office will now be able to set its own fees and manage its own budget.

“Allowing the director of the patent office to set fees will permit them to take those fees and invest them in more patent examiners and better technology that will hopefully improve quality and speed of the process,” said Marco. “The PTO will still be required to be revenue-neutral, in the sense that it must set aggregate fees to recover its long-run costs.”

This part of the new act will, Marco said, help address the growing backlog, which has meant that it takes inventors seeking a patent up to three years to get the first decision and as long as five years to get the patent grant. Since the patent term runs from the date of application, examination delay effectively shortens the period where patent holders can recoup their research costs.”

In addition, Marco said that by now allowing the patent office to set its own fees rather than having to seek permission from Congress, the fees will be set in what he calls a “rational way from an economist’s perspective.”

Said Marco: “It enables the patent office to establish fees that are more in line with consumers’ interests and with innovation.”

Meanwhile, the shift from the first-to-invent standard to a first-to-file brings the U.S. more closely in line with the rest of the world.

“We are not adopting the same system of first-to-file that is the case in the rest of the world,” noted Marco. “Instead, we are adopting the first inventor to file. That’s a significant difference.”

“In the past in the U.S., it had been first-to-invent. So if there was a question about whether or not you were the first to invent, that could be a pretty painstaking and bureaucratic process. Now it is the first inventor who files. If there are multiple inventors, the first one to file is the one who gets the patent. We won’t have people sitting on the sidelines, grabbing an idea and still getting a patent. Furthermore, the new system means that inventors have an incentive to bring their ideas forward in published applications. That information benefits everyone.”

Marco said some people fear that this new system will prove a disadvantage for small inventors as opposed to large companies since the small, individual inventor with the same resources of a big company may have a harder time getting to the office as fast.

The new act provides tactics that small inventors can use, Marco said. There are, for instance, provisional applications that serve as placeholders for 12 months without having to be fully developed patent applications.

“I think the ability of small inventors to use those provisional applications really handles a lot of problems with the first-to-file system,” Marco said.

In addition, there is now a fast track that will allow, at the outset, 10,000 applicants to pay a higher fee but get a guaranteed 12-month response for the first decision.

“For those who are worried about the backlog and delay, this provides an opportunity for them to get quick responses. This could be important for big firms, but this can be vitally important for small entrepreneurial firms that are seeking venture capital funding,” Marco noted. “When venture capitalists are looking at small startups, one of the things that they are interested in as a signal of the quality of their inventions is patents. This can be really important in gaining funding. It is a higher fee but not something that would be prohibitive to a smaller firm.”

Marco also noted that the new act establishes a “micro-entity” status that provides a 75 percent discount on the fees and is targeted at individual inventors. There is also a new system under which someone can challenge the validity of a patent by going to the patent office rather than having to make that challenge in the courts.

“If someone goes to the patent office in a certain period of time to make a challenge, the opposition will be handled in house,” said Marco. “There will always be an appeal to the federal courts but this new process could allow inventors to challenge an issued patent without having to go to the courts.”

The act is seen as the most significant change to the patent laws since the 1950s. Marco agrees with that assessment.

“It doesn’t mean that you’re going to see flying cars in a matter of years,” he added. “But I do believe it will improve innovation.”

I guess I feel a little better now, but the proof will be in the execution. Maybe Dan Harris at the China Law Blog will weigh in soon.

Great China Law Blog post related to “Sheer Import Genius”

A most excellent post on the importance of protecting your supply chain from Dan Harris of the (most excellent) China Law Blog. If you are not a subscriber, you should be. He is kind enough to link to my post yesterday, “Sheer Import Genius“.

The importance of contracts and compartmentalizing your supply chain cannot be overstated. You have invested too much to build the business. Don’t give it away because you are too lazy or too cheap to do the work to protect that investment.

Money ‘graph:

The other day, a really savvy client of ours stopped by the office. This company has been doing business in China for a long long time and it has non-disclosure/non compete/non circumvention agreements with all of its Chinese suppliers and US Buyers I mentioned the above conversation (no names or other identifiers, of course) and we talked about the benefits of the contracts his company has both in China and in the U.S. He then reminded me that this was also one of the reasons his company had set up its own trading companies in China. This company gets its product from about a dozen different Chinese factories, but the records in both China and the United States all point to the U.S. company’s own trading company as the exporter. This company has never had a problem with its customers going around it.

PassageMaker can help you secure your China supply chain. Our “Black Box” Assembly Center is a far less expensive option than setting up your own trading company. If you still want your own presence in China, we can help you with our Factory Formation service. Give us a call, and when you need a lawyer in China, you could do far worse than Mr. Harris.

Sheer Import Genius

So…did you know that your shipping information is in the public domain?

I’ll step up and admit I didn’t.

What’s worse, now that Import Genius is out there, finding your competition’s suppliers is as easy as using a search engine. Anything imported into the USA is a matter of public record, including the exporter (i.e., your supplier), the type of goods and your receiving address.

Import Genius is an amazing program and I will be using it for sure, but it also highlights another advantage PassageMaker‘s “Black Box” offers our clients. When you hire us to perform our Assembly-Inspection-Packaging service, that is really a catch-all term for any sort of contract assembly, product inspection, contract packaging, kitting, order fulfillment, pull-pack-ship, freight consolidation, private labelling or branding, etc. We do everything from kit mobile phone accessories to assemble vacuum cleaners.

Aside from the advantages we provide to help you control your costs, ensure your quality and protect your intellectual property, we also act as a “firewall” to protect your real supply chain. When a competitor searches for you on Import Genius now, they’ll get the name of your Chinese supplier. Think about that for a moment. You invested thousands upon thousands of dollars to establish that relationship, to tool your product and get the production going. If you are like a typical “mature” PassageMaker client, before you hired us, you were paying for at least a half-dozen trips to China a year. With business class seats, rooms at the Shangri-La, private cars, etc., that’s $20k per trip.

How confident are you that your supplier wouldn’t sell a knock-off of your product to a competitor?

If they search when you are working with PassageMaker, all they will see is our address as the exporter. So in addition to saving you on travel expenses, we protect the investment you made in your suppliers. Our motto is “Trust & Transparency”, and you can trust us to protect that supply chain. We wouldn’t stay in business 5 minutes if that weren’t true. In the PassageMaker system, you will always know who your suppliers are, who has your tooling, who has your designs, who has your money and who has your products. The transparency part only applies to you!

Well, that’s just great…it’s spelled “proofread”

So I spend a week proofreading my post on proofreading only to be immediately informed by an observant reader (a former professor of mine from USC no less) that “proofread” is one word. Not “proof read”, as I wrote yesterday.

I take full responsibility, as I am the only one who proofreads my blog posts. I have dyslexia, so I always try and proofread everything 2-3 times before I send it or publish it. After all, I get enough hounding from the clan in China, to say nothing of the Zen Dragon from down under, that I don’t need to make it any easier for them.

That said, my error sets me up for a good blog post today. This experience underscores what I was saying in the original post – your business documents are far, far more important in China than in your home market.

Make a mistake or an error of omission on a purchase order, and you may very well be hosed. Do the same on a Product Quality Manual (PQM), and I can guarantee trouble.

Some time ago, such an error of omission rose up and bit one of our customers rather badly. We had followed the PQM as approved, but we had not been checking a particular dimension. It had never been in the PQM, whether we didn’t include it when we drafted the document or whether the customer left it off the original drawing was lost in the mists of time, but the error had persisted undetected by all for nearly 4 years. It was never a problem as long as the vendor providing that component did their job right, but we are all human and that finally didn’t happen.

Our team inspected the product to the PQM. The error was so subtle, you would never notice it with the naked eye. The client assumed all was well and shipped the product, which immediately were rejected in the field. Long story short, everyone was unhappy and we all lost, but there was no warranty claim to be made against PassageMaker. We’d followed the approved PQM.

Our policy is we will do what you tell us in the PQM, no more, no less. It has to be this way, as the biggest problems in China are the admirable Chinese tendency to want to help too much or worse, to improvise when a problem arises.

I had a friend who was buying pillow cases in China. All the samples came in exactly 1″ too big on every dimension. Panicked, he called the factory and they told him they so appreciated the order (for several hundred thousand units), that they wanted to reward him by providing extra material at no cost! After he got his heart pumping again, he contacted our friends at China Quality Focus who went on-site and got things back on track quickly.

Doing business in China is Murphy’s Law on steroids, acid and a truckload of uncut Colombian all at once. Muse’s 1st Law is “Never Assume Anything“. Make sure if you want it to happen (or not to) that you put it in writing.

I meant it when I wrote that we LOVE getting 17 pages of corrections back from the client. It is far better than a cursory review and signature.

We have four (4) internal layers of proofreading for a PQM before it is sent to the client for approval.

  1. The PQM is drafted by a Quality Technician, with input from the entire team, including the client.
  2. It is then reviewed by the Production Engineer.
  3. It is then reviewed by the Project Manager.
  4. It is then reviewed by a member of senior management (most often by me).

Only then is it sent to the customer.

This is a time consuming process. But the alternative is terrible to contemplate. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.

So make sure you proofread before you sign on the line that is dotted.

Why you always proof read

So I received an email the other day from the personal assistant to a businessman I know. As is my practice, I went to load her information in my address book. I noticed she had misspelled her own email address in her own email signature. I sent her a private email to let her know before her boss noticed.

This put me in mind of the importance of making sure all your business documents say what you intend them to, ESPECIALLY when doing business in a foreign language. One of the services PassageMaker offers our clients is help drafting the language on their purchase orders. Many of our clients come to us after having a bad experience or two in China, and it is amazing how vague some of their purchase orders are.

The Chinese legal system is rapidly improving and a properly written purchase order is a binding contract that can be the difference between getting raked over the coals and being the one doing the raking.

I see similar issues with design databases. Drawings are often given to us with no material specifications, no finish specs, etc. I had a drawing once from an client that specified “aluminum”. When I asked his engineer what type, he responded that he didn’t think it mattered. This for a part to be subjected to high heat and load stress – you’re darned tootin’ it matters.

We have also received drawings specifying titanium fasteners. After wasting time looking for these very hard to find fasteners, the project engineer in the USA tells us that he just cut and pasted the fastener drawing and forgot to change the material spec. Two seconds of his time would have saved two days of our team’s time.

This kind of BS is why we have Endorsed Service Providers. Choosing with the cheapest guy is very rarely the best deal.

Another area where we frankly NEED our clients to proofread is our Product Quality Manual (PQM), the core of our Assembly-Inspection-Packaging service. As Mike Bellamy says, “we are generalists; we depend on the client to be the expert”. We take the lead on drafting the PQM, and submit it to the client for approval, but once they sign off on it, that is what we are going to do, no more, no less. It becomes our warranty and if the client forgets to tell us something, once they approve the document, that is now the official record. We’ll happily amend the PQM for the next order, but if it wasn’t written down, not my fault.

Our system incorporates four (4) levels of approval before it is sent to the client for final approval. From the speed at which some clients approve the document, I know they barely looked at it. I would rather have a 17 page response as we got from one client than a signature 20 minutes later.

Doing things right takes time, but nowhere near as much time as doing things over. If your project is valuable enough to bring to market, you have time for some proof reading.

PS – I have dyslexia, and have proof-read this damn post five times looking for typos. I bet you all find at least one in spite of that effort.

Great interview with Mike Bellamy about PassageMaker’s “Black Box”

I can’t say it better, so here is the interview with our Founder explaining how PassageMaker helps clients protect their IP.

Mike Bellamy interviewed by Fiducia Management Consultants.