Trade fairs are an excellent opportunity for a business to showcase their new products and scout out business partners for manufacturing, promotion, and distribution. Unfortunately, in China these exhibitions are a common prowling ground for infringers, so it is of utmost importance to ensure all intellectual property precautions are undertaken. In this post, You’ll learn how to prepare for a trade fair, what to do and pay attention to during the trade fair and, of course, what to do in a case that someone is violating your IPR rights.
Before the trade fair: fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Prepare the required documents (for example, Certificates of IP right ownership, Photographic evidence and basic information regarding suspected infringers) – some may need to be notarised and legalised which can take up to two months. Furthermore, take steps to research if there are any ‘suspicious’ organisations expected to attend. The organiser should be able to provide a list of exhibitors with stall numbers prior to the trade fair.
Also, carefully read the exhibitor contract and use experienced agents or lawyers and obtain any necessary entry passes for them.
At the trade fair: be pro-active, not reactive
It is wise to collect business cards, brochures and other information from any suspicious individuals. Also, it is important to file any complaints as early as possible at the trade fair. Remember, displaying products at trade fairs can constitute ‘publication’ which may affect their novelty value.
Take a digital camera or camera phone to secure evidence. Note that while such devices are not prohibited, some exhibitors (particularly if they know they are infringing IP rights) may object to picture taking.
If you do not take any enforcement action, ensure that you maintain a database, recording the details of suspected infringers and obtain as much evidence as possible which can be used for potential enforcement later.
After the trade fair: act on the information you have gathered
- Follow up on evidence gathered or actions taken at the trade fair.
- If action was taken at the trade fair, follow up with the authorities and conduct follow up investigations to check if the infringer has halted the infringing activities.
- Send cease & desist (C&D) letters to known infringers prior to the next trade fair