Attire Accessories - Sep/Oct 2018 (Issue 72)

greetings card designers include the ACID logo of deterrence on the back of each card, consistently raising awareness of their IP ownership. Others use a simple statement on their standard email signature. It’s about getting a strong message out: “I don’t want to be copied. And if you do, there will be consequences!” How can I prevent my new designs being copied at exhibitions? First, look to see whether the exhibition organisers are ACID accredited. If so, we will be on hand with our ACID-affiliate lawyers to help you if a copy is discovered. For example, at a recent exhibition where ACID was present, a Chinese visitor was ejected from the show. Why? When he was stopped and challenged, he had more than 1,800 images of new products and existing ranges of most of the exhibitors. In this instance, the images were destroyed and he was banned. So vigilance is critical. If you see anyone taking photographs without permission, call the organisers. And you can be proactive by not allowing unauthorised photography. Remember, with phone cameras, your designs can be sent across the world in seconds and mass-produced before you even pack up your stand. So take control of who photographs your work, ask them why, and note down their contact details. Only allow authorised photography, and if it’s a problem, insist that organisers support you. After all, you pay thousands to rent your stand space, and exhibition organisers build their reputations on your innovation. And if the worst happens and you do discover a copy., don’t panic. Taking legal action rarely results in a final court hearing. If you have got all your evidence in place (IP audit trail to prove ownership/ examples of the alleged copies plus all the details), in ACID’s experience, a strongly worded letter before action can be a shot across the bows and achieve an early settlement and undertakings. Above all, publicise any settlement to demonstrate that you are prepared to take legal action. Name and shame is the name of the game. Using social media effectively can be a useful platform for exposing your original and an alleged copy and getting immediate results. With the advent of social media, it can take moments to erode the reputation of brands that produce lookalikes. But be careful! If you make a groundless threat and accuse someone of copying and it proves otherwise in the UK, you can be sued yourself. Always seek some professional advice. Gaining public support by shouting about unfairness and a blatant disregard for design originality is what many are starting to do. Such as the Trunki campaign #ProtectYourDesign. Also, if you are unlucky enough to discover a copy at an exhibition where ACID is present, you can call on our help to mediate the issue. CONTACT ACID