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Analysis on Exhibitors’ Intellectual Property Protection

Exhibition industry, belonging to the field of trade in service, is a fresh troop in information industry. As the economic globalization intensifies, various exhibitions in China also started being carried out like a raging fire. The core of exhibition industry itself is creativity, and related contents involving intellectual property rights should be protected legally. However, as the most important chain of exhibition industry, the exhibitor is the exhibition project owner and cares most about how to protect the intellectual rights of exhibition project, preventing the project from being imitated.

So far in China, there are no explicit laws and regulations on the intellectual property protection of the exhibitors or designers, and exhibition industry has not formed a national association yet, in addition, qualification authentication for exhibitors is blank. Therefore, many famous and effective exhibitions are imitated frequently and some even only change the name of district. Based on the above situations, this paper will introduce the ways and strategies to protect intellectual property to exhibitors on the basis of China’s current intellectual property legal frameworks.

1.Protection on the exhibition emblem

Exhibitors can apply for registered trademark according to China’s Trademark Law in order to protect exhibition emblem form being plagiarized, misappropriated or cloned. Trademark registration is a sort of legal procedure. Trademark registrant firstly files an application, and if there is no objection or the raised objection is inconsistent within three months after the preliminary examination and public announcement, the registration of trademark would become effective and be protected by law. The trademark registrant will have the exclusive right of this trademark. It takes one year or one and a half years from application to approval of registration. The validity of the registered trademark is 10 years, since the date of approval of the registration. If registrant needs to use the registered trademark sequentially, he can apply for renewal of trademark registration.

Once the behaviors of violating the registered trademark are found, one may first issue a warning letter to the infringing party, and ask them to stop the infringement. If the other party still disregard totally, one can request for investigation to the industrial and commercial administrative department above the country level. In this way, if you are a foreigner or foreign enterprise, you should handle it through the designated trademark agency. And the third way is, if the infringement is serious, one can lodge a complaint to the People’s Court where infringer lives or the infringement occurs.

2.Protection on the exhibition projection

However, exhibition registered emblem is only one aspect among exhibitors’ intellectual property protection. Exhibitors care more about intellectual property protection on “originality” in exhibition project, such as the subject and content. Some personal opinions will be discussed as followed:

According to China’s current laws, exhibition can not register with its name, thus, in order to protect the intellectual property from being infringed, the owner of exhibition project should try to determine the intellectual property in texts or graphics before the exhibition is held, for example, nail down the theme of the exhibition in the approved prospectus, define the designs and plans to express or highlight the theme. In addition, in order to prevent the design scheme being plagiarized during the whole designing and producing process, confidentiality agreements should be signed by the partners.

However, only these prevention methods are far from enough. China’s exhibition industry is still in the stage of growth and the corresponding legal norms and industry rules are immature, so it will give some illegal businessmen possibilities to copy or plagiarize exhibition project. Therefore, exhibitors need to find out promptly the exhibitions with similar projects all over the country to ensure their projects are not counterfeited. Once the similar exhibitions are found out, exhibiters should collect evidences immediately, for example, the same exhibition project themes, similar exhibition design and emblem. After obtaining enough reliable evidences, the exhibitors can win the initiative role when assert one’s rights, and inhibit others infringing his intellectual prosperity.

Sino-Link Consulting is a comprehensive consulting firm based in Beijing, aiming at providing the full spectrum of international business and legal consulting services for clients interested in manufacturing, investing, or opening an office or factories in China. The One-Stop services provided by Sino-Link are recognized as convenient, efficient, and effective.

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