Saifuddin Cader's Hong Kong company does not make designer handbags or watches and certainly not movies, but he is feeling the full force of mainland pirates ripping off his products. Despite losing at least US$28 million in profits in the Middle East alone since 2001, he still managed to laugh when a mainland colleague told him yesterday that copyright means 'the right to copy' in Chinese. 'I don't feel like laughing, but what can you do? This has been ruining our business for four years now and no one is doing anything out there to stop it,' he said. Most associate Louis Vuitton or Ralph Lauren with brand piracy, but Cader and Sons makes a more humble but perhaps more vital product - rechargeable lamps for developing countries. Even though the products barely register in Hong Kong, they are necessities in many countries and the Cader brand is the most recognised. So shady mainland operators started copying the products - right down to the business address of his company - and undercutting his markets. In the late 1990s, the company was turning over $50 million to $60 million in the Middle East. Now it has been reduced to a 'trickle', with the fakes selling at 30 to 40 per cent less. 'They see the fake, it looks the same in every way, so of course people will buy it,' he said. 'What they don't know is it might only work for a week or might not work at all, but these people are so poor all they care about is price. After food and water, light is probably the next necessity - you need it for everything at night.' Mr Cader says he has tried in vain to take action against the illegal operators in Guangzhou. A judge found them guilty last year but the owners of the operation pleaded in court that 500 jobs would be lost if the illegal factories were closed, and they escaped with a slap on the wrist - and promptly went back into production. Now he has taken legal action in Dubai, where customs records show the operators have shipped 5,000 containerloads since 2001. 'These big brands seem to have accepted that piracy is just going to happen and have chosen to ignore it because most of their markets are in western countries that have strict policing of fake products,' he said. 'But I still cannot believe that they would not be taking more action to stop this.' Mr Cader hopes other, less well-known but successful companies will come forward and begin action to try to stamp out piracy. In the meantime, he is battling on with the only tactic left - innovation. 'The only reason we have stayed afloat is because we are constantly developing new items and it takes these firms time to catch up,' he said.