One of the strengths of our free-market economic system is competition. After all, because of competition, we have choices in both quality and price in the services we use, the places we shop and the products we buy. However, if you are an inventor or manufacturer of a new product, competition can be a major problem. For this reason, I am often asked how to protect an invention or new product from being stolen or "knocked off." In my experience, the answer to the competitive challenges is to create a strategy based on the goals for the invention, the specific product itself, and the approach to be taken.