Last week I saw more evidence of our products being copied. The companies doing the copying aren't new entrants to the market with new fresh ideas, but dead-beats who blindly copy our products.
In business you always have 2 options. You either copy what someone else does, or you develop your own offering. To develop your own offering requires an understanding of your customers, their needs, their wants, the issues they face, their business plans. If you choose to be an innovator then you commit time and money to this path. If done well, you develop a good business model as your solutions help your customers to move ahead. It's often called a partnership.
The other option is to copy. To take someone else's thinking and make the products for a lower cost than the innovative company does. You can do this without actually understanding what you're making, what it's for, and how it helps. Of course your costs are lower and of course you can sell these copies for a lower price.
Over time copying just cripples the industry. The innovative companies get involved in price wars and the budget for innovation disappears. Innovation stops.
Ironically the companies buying the copies are often the very same companies who need innovation to create a point of difference in their market.