Designer,Manufacturer relationship


We are establishing a new small brand of slippers with a new design concept.
we dont have the budget to File a design patent for all the collection.

The manufacurer will be in vietnam or in the phillipines.
How can we make sure the manufacturer will not try to sell our designs to others?
will a contract help in those third world countries?
Is it all about builting a good relationship? Do you know about other ways?



It is about a good relationship with a good factory first.

Conceptually the main responsibility is yours, to be able to sell everything they make and to fill the world wide supply chain with your new concept slippers. If you keep them busy and making money, they will, out of self interest, not sell to anyone else.

Supply and demand governs a lot of what happens next. As long as your company supplies all of the demand, your factory does not have an outlet for extra product. If there is demand for your product, it is really hot, and your company is not meeting the demand, someone will fill the demand, another factory.

I have seen three common instances where product gets produced through an indirect channel.

  1. The factory sells excess product that the sales company ordered but did not take.
  2. The mold maker copies the molds and sells them to another factory.
  3. The product is copied due to success on the open market.

No and No. IP is a very different animal in Asia (BTW I don’t think VN or Philippines are third world). No contract will really help other than maybe helping you sleep at night. If Nike and the big guys can get copied, and have tons a legal team of 100s I’m sure you can understand the situation.

I deal a lot with start-up that have this same concern. Mostly I tell them that even good ideas are not often copied and distributed where you plan to do so. It take a lot of time, money and investment to get a product to market, in shops, etc. Aside from a very few simple ideas that hit huge mass appeal, most products like this are not worth the time and $ to sell in major markets. You have to consider the tooling costs, distribution, logistics, marketing, etc. Even a moderately successful new product will not have enough demand to have copies come onto the market, have competitors tool up, get salespeople, etc. Crocs maybe, most not.

If you are worried about your supplier selling in domestic markets, that may be an issue. Though again most likely unless it is a well known international brand the demand will probably not be there. And you are probably not selling there so not really a loss if a few pairs show up at some local markets.

A patent in any case is only as good as the $ you have to fight it. Even in the US and Europe, it is not often worth it. Internationally in places like Asia, forget about it.

As mentioned, I have a lot of experience with start-ups. Feel free to PM me if you like.


Thank you guys for clearing those points.
the thing that i still don’t understand is that how a small new branding can supplies
big demand from the beginning. i can’t order from the manufacturer large quantities from the beginning
since it will take me some time to create the demand for my products on the market.
what do you think should be the right approach?

i think it has to be a little bit of give & take, don’t expect to make any money your first few runs. my suggestion would be to fly in and meet w. your chosen factory, show them you’re serious, show them your strategy, business plans, the demand. negotiate quantities and begin slowly. once you’ve gotten some demand, you can take a bigger risk and order more quantity to be able to have the shoes more and more to your liking. the bigger the quanitity, the more you choice you’ll have in your designs.