Attire Accessories - Sep/Oct 2018 (Issue 72)

122 LAUNCHING PRODUCTS AT EXHIBITIONS ACID CEO Dids Macdonald talks about how to protect your designs at trade shows Launching a new design or product range and thinking about exhibiting? Then take a few moments to think about some of the hoops you have had to go through to get to your designs market-ready. Successfully reaching a new product launch invariably represents a significant amount of investment and sweat equity for most businesses, whether micro or macro, so you need to maximise your return. Exhibitions can provide a unique opportunity to get in front of genuine design buyers, so taking a few steps to ensure you protect any new designs against being copied will pay dividends. Start by being IP savvy – know your copyright from your design right and your trademarks from your patents! If the new design or product range you are launching is innovative, then it is even more important to take stock of the intellectual property (IP) you have created and ensure it is protected. Ask yourself some simple questions: – Have I got evidence to prove my IP ownership? – Does my marketing material or product labelling and website include an anti-copying message? – How can I prevent my new designs being copied at exhibitions? – What can I do if I am copied?” In a world where the copying and counterfeiting of products has developed into one of the most insidious forms of crime across all design sectors, it is important to be proactive and not reactive to prevent copies and knock-offs. Sending a clear message of deterrence to those who go deliberately to exhibitions to copy and steal ideas is important How can I create evidence of my IP ownership? Think about your original concept drawings or artwork, and make sure you have a signed and dated audit trail from an idea to marketplace. Better still, register your designs in the UK or EU. Or if you are relying on unregistered rights, send them to the ACID IP Databank, giving you a uniquely numbered tamper- proof certificate of receipt safely held by a trusted third party. Discovering a copy of your designs at an exhibition or online is devastating but made worse if you cannot provide evidence of ownership, originality and date of creation. The ACID databank is supported by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Does my marketing material/website or product packaging/ labelling include an anti-copying message? This is such a simple and inexpensive thing to do and an essential part of a proactive IP strategy. If you don’t want to be copied, then say so and communicate it. Creating a few lines on each page of your website can send a strong deterrent message such as: “All intellectual property rights on this website, images and designs belong to (insert your name). Any infringement of our IP rights will be taken very seriously.” Equally, if you have an About Me/Us section, you can include a statement along the lines of “(insert your name) are proud to create original, innovative products. We respect the intellectual property rights of others, and we expect others to demonstrate ethics, compliance and respect of ours.” Many ACID members also use a simple statement on their product packing or labelling. For example,