Trade Fairs in China: Steps to Protect You IPR

Page 1. 1.Protecting your IP at Trade FairsIn today’s blog post we are taking a closer look on how European SMEs can protect their intellectual property when they attend trade fairs in China. 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.

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. It is not sufficient to merely gain intellectual property rights for a company’s assets – steps should be taken before, during and after a trade fair to ensure maximum protection. This article takes a look at some of the steps foreign businesses should take.

Before the trade fair: fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Determine your strategy in advance of the trade fair. Do you want to take enforcement action at the fair, or only use the fair as an opportunity to gather evidence? If you are not certain about securing all necessary evidence and paperwork to carry out an action at the fair, gathering evidence there first may be a better strategy.

Prepare the required documents – some may need to be notarised and legalised which can take up to two months. The required documents include: Continue reading “Trade Fairs in China: Steps to Protect You IPR” »

Trade Fairs in Thailand: Steps to Protect your IP


icon 13 - TradefairsTrade fairs are an excellent place for European SMEs to introduce their products to South-East Asia and to find suitable business partners, buyers or distributors. With the arrival of the spring there are be many opportunities for European SMEs to participate at various trade fairs in South-East Asia and in Thailand in particular. SMEs planning to participate in trade fairs in Thailand should, however, keep in mind that trade fairs are also excellent places for malicious entities to find ideas to copy. Therefore, European SMEs should have the full knowledge of  how they could protect their business against infringements of their IP rights at trade fairs. Thus in today’s blog post we have chosen to discuss how companies could protect their IP when visiting trade fairs in Thailand. 

Trade fairs are now a well-established part of the business calendar in Thailand, particularly in Bangkok, with a number of high-tech industries represented, as well as areas of the creative sector such as furniture and design. Trade fairs provide foreign businesses with the opportunity to present their innovations and ideas to potential business partners and customers, and allow them to learn from and collaborate with other innovators. There is, however, a risk, in that disclosing your innovations to the public leaves you exposed to other copying and infringement of your IP.

Infringement of innovations may not necessarily be straightforward ‘counterfeiting’ – i.e. exact product, packaging and brand imitation. It is more likely that competitors could be using, intentionally or otherwise, a certain part of your product or innovation. It is therefore advisable to be as diligent as possible and to get to know competitors’ products well. Given this, a practical and realistic approach must be taken when preparing for and attending trade fairs in Thailand. IP owners must also be patient and pragmatic, as it is unlikely that immediate action can be taken against an infringer. There are, however, steps that IP owners can take before, during and after the event to best protect their IP. Continue reading “Trade Fairs in Thailand: Steps to Protect your IP” »

How to Secure Effective Evidence at Trade Fairs in China

Page 1. 1.Protecting your IP at Trade FairsTrade fairs are a great place for European SMEs to introduce their products to China and to find suitable business partners. With the coming spring there will be many opportunities for European SMEs to participate at various trade fairs in China. SMEs planning to participate in trade fairs should however have the full knowledge of what to do if they happen to find infringing products at trade fairs, in order to be able to protect their business. Thus in today’s blog post we have chosen to discuss how to effectively secure evidence at trade fairs in China. 

For companies considering moving into international markets, trade fairs are a key channel to introduce their product to the new market, expand visibility and customer base and seek partners for manufacturing, distribution and retail.For many European SMEs, exhibiting at a major trade fair in China may be the first step towards internationalisation. However, as well as providing business opportunities, trade fairs also pose risks for exhibitors by exposing new products, technology, designs and brands to those who would copy the efforts of others for their own financial gain. In many ways a trade fair can be viewed as a supermarket for local counterfeiters looking for the next great product to copy or brand to appropriate, often to be sold at the same fair that the original product developer would like to exhibit.

Examples of typical infringements found at trade fairs include:

  • Displaying and selling counterfeit products bearing the trade mark(s) identical or similar to others’ registered trade mark(s);
  • Displaying and selling the products counterfeiting other’s patent rights;
  • Utilising others’ copyrighted images, texts in the advertisement and/or company brochure and/or product catalogue;
  • Copying others’ products’ design;
  • Copying the design of another’s exhibition booth.

Why is collecting evidence important?

Evidence is needed for IPR enforcement. No matter which enforcement action is best suited for the company, the European SME will need to prove that its IPR have been infringed by producing a significant volume of evidence. In China’s People’s Court the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff (claimant) and documentary evidence is far stronger than witness testimony. As well as proving ownership via IPR certificates SMEs must prove the infringement via physical evidence including contracts, photographs of infringing products and proof of sale which have been validated by a notary public (a public officer or other person who is authorised to authenticate documents, evidence etc). If SMEs wish to seek assistance from an administrative body (e.g. the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) for trade marks) they must provide a similar body of evidence for the case to be accepted. Continue reading “How to Secure Effective Evidence at Trade Fairs in China” »

Trade Fairs: Tips for Better Protection of IP Rights

Trade fairs in China and South-East Asia are a good opportunity for European SMEs to introduce their product to a new market and to find potential partners, distributors and suppliers. However, there are many IP-related risks such as revealing IP assets to potential counterfeiters, when SMEs are attending trade fairs. Thus, SMEs should take specific steps such as registering their IP when going to trade fairs in order to protect their assets. In today’s blog post we have chosen to share with you an infographic explaining to European SMEs what steps they can take before, during and after trade fairs to protect their valuable IP.  

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Protecting Your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia

Page 1. 1.Protecting your IP at Trade FairsTrade fairs in South-East Asia provide European SMEs with the opportunity to present their innovations and ideas to potential business partners and customers whilst also allowing them to learn from and collaborate with other innovators. There is, however, a risk in that disclosing their innovations to the public may leave them exposed to third parties copying and infringing their IP. Infringement of innovations may not necessarily be straightforward ‘counterfeiting’ – i.e. exact product, packaging and brand imitation. It is more likely that competitors could be using, intentionally or otherwise, a certain part of a European SME’s product or innovation. It is therefore advisable to be as diligent as possible and to get to know your competitors’ products.

SMEs planning to attend trade fairs should therefore be aware of potential for IP infringements and of the measures that they can take to protect their products. A practical and realistic approach must be taken when preparing for and attending trade fairs. IP owners must also be patient and pragmatic, as it is unlikely that immediate action can always be taken against the infringer. There are, however, steps that IP owners can take before, during and after the event to best protect their IP. Continue reading “Protecting Your IP at Trade Fairs in South-East Asia” »