Protecting Your Custom Design

Can I design my own product? What should be the minimum order for my own designed product? How do I send the design to the manufacturer?

Of course you can design your own product. But not all suppliers are set up to do custom work and you also need to think carefully about how to protect your ideas if you come up with a new design.  Here are some short video tutorials; the ones in yellow are highly relevant to your situation.

Video 1: Finding Suppliers
Video 2: Evaluating Suppliers
Video 3: Negotiations
Video 4: Project Management and Quality Control
Video 5: Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Video 6: Leveraging Global Sources
Video 7: How to Find and Manage Partners for Logistics
Video 8: Avoiding Scams
Video 9: Returning Defective Products
Video 10: Resolving a Dispute

What will be the minimum order for my own designed product?

Minimum orders on custom designs depend solely on the supplier you are dealing with and how much they need to adjust their production methods and sub suppliers to meet your design specs.

..and how do I send the design to the manufacturer?

I suggest you get your DFM (design for manufacturer) files and your IP protected before you send any designs to Asia.

Here is a link to a blog post which covers DFM in detail:

I think you will find it very useful to your project.

Just let me know if you would like some introductions as I would be happy to introduce specific service providers if you need support with finding vendors, registering IP and DFM. In the meantime, I hope the links given in this email help point you in the right direction.

Hope the above information helps you.  Let me know how things work out.

Question answered by Mike Bellamy, host of “Ask the Experts” at the China Sourcing Information Center.

Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” ( and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions ( )




  1. Mike Bellamy, with CSIC on March 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    The service provider of the DFM should be willing to sign and respect a non-compete clause to protect your IP. But once the product is in the hands of the the supplier, the engineering firm cotract won’t protect you beyond Engineering phase. But video #5 above walks you thru some of the options to protect yourself in post engineering phases.

    Let us know how things are working out for you.

  2. Judy on March 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Btw, the link doesnt work. Keeps sending me to a login page

  3. Judy on March 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for this info. I feel the same way, i have a handbag design i want to outsource to china. Ive worked with different suppliers and have ordered samples. But im afraid they will take my design and create a knock off. This DFM can ensure copyright protection to my work?

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