What lessons can be learnt?
Following a busy exhibition with, sadly, its usual but increasing share of copying, there are still plenty of positive aspects to focus on, not least as highlighted in the successful ACID seminar offering advice on the tips and traps of licensing intellectual property.
Case Study. A Spring Fair exhibitor and licensee of a set of animal original artwork visited the ACID stand to report a copying complaint and asked us to use the ACID Exhibition Protocol to communicate the complaint to an alleged infringer who was selling what he believed were copies of his products. (Spring Fair is an ACID Accredited Exhibition organiser and, as such, has the benefit of the Protocol for use by all exhibitors as a proactive copying complaint handling framework). The artist was said to have granted the exhibitor a licence to use the artwork but the complainant also thought they owned the intellectual property rights in the 3D ceramics produced from the artwork. In order to ascertain what intellectual property rights were licensed to the complainant exhibitor, whether the complainant had an exclusive or non-exclusive licence and what rights the complainant had to take action against infringers Patricia Jones from Hammonds, ACID’s Accredited Lawyer on the stand that day, had to see the licence agreement. The case was further complicated because the owner of the animal artwork was on the west coast of America so as it was 10 am in the morning, there would be an 8 hour delay before being able to contact the owner. The next day a copy of the licence agreement had been faxed to the complainant who asked ACID’s advice. As a result of ACID being able to clarify the position under the licence the complaint was pursued and the alleged infringer notified at the Fair and put on notice. This highlights a key piece of information to all licensees before attending an exhibition:
ACID’s advice “Always keep a copy of your licence agreement with you so that if you are unlucky enough to discover what you believe to be copies of your products, immediate action can be taken from a position of strength without any delay in having to first clarify a) the rights licensed and b) confirm the ability of a licensee to take action against a potential infringer”.