IPR Legal Issue That Enterprise Shall Pay Attention
to While Attending Exhibition Abroad
北京市中银（南京）律师事务所 高级合伙人 李 俭
Beijing Zhongyin (Nanjing) law firm Lawyer: Li Jian
It is an important pace for enterprise to step abroad and towards the world and also a best opportunity for enterprise to directly exhibit their products and brand to foreign customers while attending various kinds of exhibitions abroad.
In recent years, more and more domestic enterprises market their products by attending products fair abroad, but some of them encounter many legal issues and even face the awkward situation that their products on show were detained on the exhibition spot or even were sued. Generally speaking, enterprises may encounter following legal issues concerning IPR while attending product exhibition abroad.
1. Design of exhibition booth, brochure of broadcast, advertising slogan, pictures etc, such as product specification, software for live demo or background music etc. If you handle it improperly, you may easily infringe other’s copyright.
Improperly use of other’s registered trademark may easily infringe other’s right of trademark, esp. well-known trademark.
Product of design that attend exhibition usually represents most advanced achievements, and most of which are of patentability. This is the right place that it may easily cause legal problem during exhibition.
Generally speaking, EU will take following legal measures in case the infringement of IP has been verified during the exhibition.
Send warning letter to a suspect of infringing party.
In IP disputes in Germany, warning letter is a statement of requirements before IPR owner lodges a lawsuit which is usually drafted and issued by attorney agent of IPR owner. In the letter, IPR owner will require infringing party to stop infringement act and undertake not to perform infringement no longer.
Urgent temproary injunction
Urgent temporary injunction procedure is a temporary injunction that court issues under emergency circumstances in order to prohibit certain act in order to avoid the loss it may cause in the future. This a most common litigation procedure in IPR disputes.
When temporary injunction is serviced, defendant must observe right away. If temporary injunction includes a seizure order, plaintiff will detain products and preserve it until civil court makes final decision. If defendant doesn’t observe, civil court will sentence to fines of a large amount and issue a warrant against defendant.
If the product proves not to infringe other’s IPR, there are following answering measures against temporary injunction: file a plea against temporary injunction, apply to abrogate injunction, apply to enter into main litigation procedures, request compensation of loss from applier of temporary injunction. If the product infringes other’s IPR, the product owner may file a plea against case value, communicate with owner of IPR and sign the settlement in order to completely file the case and avoid further legal expenditure.
Upon application of IPR owner, in case customs finds products suspected of infringing other’s IPR, it is entitled to detain and preserve exhibited products which can be conducted both on the frontier or exhibition spot. After the products are seizured, its owner can raise a plea. If there is no infringement, the applicant may claim compensation of the loss. If product definitely infringes other’s IPR, product owner may consent with customs to destroy products by melting or burning in order to avoid further investigation procedures.
Under German laws and regulations, any act of intentionally infringing German and European granted patent will constitute criminal offense that IPR owner may lodge criminal lawsuit towards police station and prosecutor. Under emergency circumstances, police may take action by themselves, or start action after acquiring search warrant from criminal judge to seizure goods and seal up exhibition booth. Under such circumstances, you may tell policeman and criminal judge that as it will involve complicated technical issue, they cannot judge infringement and the effectiveness of patent. If one thinks there is no infringement, he can raise a plea to court and apply for immunity from suit, but he cannot ignore, otherwise, he may lose Germany market.
Once your product constitutes a suspect of infringement act in any of EU countries, compulsory measures will be adapted to all other EU countries similarly.
With the development of exhibition economy, IPR issue on the exhibition becomes highlighted increasingly which brings disturbance and negative effect on exhibition market. IPR infringement issue has become primary problem for Chinese enterprise entering into overseas market. How can enterprise guarantee the high effectiveness of product exhibition at abroad and simultaneously effectively avoid legal risks? Enterprise shall proceed from three points as follows:
Full preparation before exhibition
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