Koelnmesse and its Chinese business partners have signed an intellectual property memorandum to send out a clear signal for fair competition at trade fairs and to combat the violation of intellectual property rights for exhibited products.
Koelnmesse President and CEO Herbert Marner signed the memorandum in Beijing in the presence of journalists and representatives of the group organizers that manage the participation of Chinese exhibitors in Cologne.
The memorandum, which is the first of its kind to have been initiated by a major European trade fair company, obliges the group organizers to adhere to German legal regulations and to take active measures to promote the protection of intellectual property rights at trade fairs and to prevent any violations of such rights. The signing was attended by representatives of around 25 group organizers, and more organizers are expected to sign the memorandum in the future.
In its key points, the memorandum stipulates that all of the participating companies are to be informed in detail of the situation and that exhibitors affected by property rights violations will receive advice and support in cooperation with lawyers and the German authorities. In addition, the partners to the memorandum will launch a joint media campaign in Germany and China.
Product piracy is one of the chief problems plaguing the international trade fair business today. Violations of intellectual property rights on products and processes are often revealed at trade fairs. In Germany, such violations are considered to be an attack on the affected manufacturers, as they often threaten the companies’ future and seriously damage many sectors of industry.
According to Marner, the aim of the memorandum is to ensure that “trade fairs can continue to fulfill their chief function of depicting the global market in important sectors. The memorandum is an important step toward curtailing violations of intellectual property rights at trade fairs. We want to create the conditions necessary for quickly resolving violations of legal regulations and for helping affected companies assert their rights.”
That’s why the memorandum also stipulates that clearly visible support centers be set up at trade fairs in Cologne. Besides providing in-depth information to companies affected by violations, these centers will organize assistance from specialized lawyers and the German authorities. The memorandum clearly spells out what consequences violators of intellectual property rights will face, ranging from the removal of the pertinent products and the closing of the stand to the offending company’s exclusion from future events.
The protection of intellectual property rights is a key issue for Koelnmesse, whose events are attended by many companies from China. In fact, more than 3,500 companies from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao regularly exhibit their products in Cologne. The largest Chinese contingents come to the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR / PRACTICAL WORLD, the household appliance fair domotechnica, imm cologne, the international garden trade fair gafa, and Anuga, the world’s leading food fair. According to Marner, this makes China one of the leading exhibitor countries in Cologne. “It’s therefore in Koelnmesse’s interest to establish clear regulations for curbing violations of intellectual property rights and to combat prejudices against Asian exhibitors,” said Marner.
Excerpts from the memorandum
• Koelnmesse and the organizers regard the protection of intellectual property rights to be a key consideration at trade fairs. Trade fairs and exhibitions are meant to serve as market platforms, at which exhibitors can display their legally incontestable products under fair competitive conditions.
• Koelnmesse and the organizers will promote all actions aimed at protecting intellectual property rights.
• At events in Cologne, Koelnmesse will work together with the responsible authorities in order to prosecute any violations of intellectual property rights quickly and effectively and prevent any further occurrences in the future. Koelnmesse will support exhibitors afraid of violations of their rights by providing them with advice and arranging contacts with proven experts such as lawyers and patent attorneys.
• The partners are apprised of the fact that violations of intellectual property rights can result in the removal of exhibited products, the closing of trade fair stands or the exclusion from future events. Should an owner of intellectual property rights initiate legal proceedings against an exhibitor, the latter can be required to bear the costs of the proceedings.
The memorandum was signed by the following group organizers:
• China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Machinery & Electronic Products
• CIEC Overseas Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• North International Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• China Light Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation
• China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters
• China Chamber of Commerce for I/E of Light Industrial Products & Arts-Crafts
• China National Hardware Association
• China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs Native Produce and Animal By-Products
• CMEC International Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• Genertec International Advertising and Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• China Food and Packaging Machinery Industry Association
• China Canned Food Industry Association
• Taizhou City Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation Bureau
• China National Art & Crafts I/E Co., Ltd.
• China Great Wall International Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• China World Trade Centre Co., Ltd.
• Goalmark International Exhibition Co., Ltd.
• Fradeuno (Beijing) Co., Ltd.
• China Foreign Trade Guangzhou Exhibition Corp.
• CCPIT Guangzhou Sub-Council
• Millennium Global Exhibition & Trading Co., Ltd.
• Chinatex Advertising & Exhibition Corp.
• China National Food Industry Association
• Zhejiang Broad International Convention and Exhibition Co., Ltd.