So the trick is to make Chine an ally in this battle.
First, here are two videos with Clay Shirky about Chinese innovation in the mobile phone market. And I don’t mean the phones themselves, I mean the economic aspect of developing, making, and selling phones themselves.
One is twenty minutes, the other one hour. I haven’t watched the long one yet, but I think it’s the elaborate version of the twenty minute one.
Interesting, no? And surprisingly relevant for Fairphone.
So with that in mind, I’m wondering: why not encourage Asian clones? Instead of complaining that China does not seem to care much about respecting patent laws, point them to the fairphone, where the OS is open source, and the hardware eventually should follow.
Imagine this takes off that way (and even if it doesn’t become a mega-success: you need to convince a much smaller percentage of the population of China to buy Fairphones become economically sustainable). The trend might not jump to the West immediately, but in the meantime a whole cottage industry of module creators could spring up in Asia. So more minds working on hardware and software upgrades for our Fairphones. But more importantly: having other companies build FP-compatible modular phones would make the required hardware more readily available and affordable (economies of scale) for Fairphone too.
In the meantime, Fairphone can do its thing with making sustainability a priority. I can even picture them as selecting the modules from other companies that have proven to be reliable, and produced sustainably and ethically and offer to resell them under their own brand for a share of the profits (and reduced price for everyone because bulk).
So my suggestion is: to achieve world domination, become a team-player
 Which, if you know a bit about patent law history, is pretty ironic anyway: Philips and Unilever became as big as they are because the Dutch state did not enforce patent law from 1869 until 1912 (article in Dutch, surprisingly decent Google Translate here). One funny side-effect: a lot of light-bulb innovaters who were stifled by Edison fled to the Netherlands to continue to do their research here. Who knew that humans love to innovate for innovation’s sake and don’t care that much about the patents, other than how it hinders them? Oh wait, every scientist ever could have told you that (as well as programmers in countries with software patents). China will “win” this battle in the long run (I personally don’t want to think in nation-vs-nation terms), unless we embrace open hardware and open source.