Protection for Product Designers at Exhibitions & Trade Shows

Copyright_Designers, wishing to exhibit their product designs, are often worried about copycats lurking at the exhibition waiting to pounce on prized creations. Here are a few helpful pointers to help navigate the way through the intellectual property dilemma many designers face during exhibitions.
Is your design something new that has never been revealed to the public anywhere in the world? If so, it may qualify for design protection and we would strongly recommend that you consider applying for a design registration prior to exhibiting your products. Do not worry, if you are pressed for time and will be exhibiting soon; you can still apply for a design registration six months from the date that you first reveal your design products.

The name of your products, i.e. your brand or even your business name may be quite distinctive. Brand names, especially those that are catchy and inventive, are likely to be remembered by attendees once they have left an exhibition. Your potential customers will research your business and products online. Therefore, you need to consider registration of domain names that correspond with your business name and brands and thereafter set up a website.

Date and save designs

Ensure that any documents you have that prove your intellectual property rights are easily accessible. Having a long paper trail can help resolve any potential disputes easily and cost effectively. For example, your design may be automatically protected by copyright. Therefore, you need to ensure that you date and save any designs that you originally create on paper.

no-photosHave a strict “NO PHOTOGRAPHS POLICY” at your stand. Put up a big sign saying “NO PHOTOGRAPHS” and implement this at all times – no exceptions. A quick photograph using a cellphone camera, can be sent around the world in an instant.

If you have a website, on which pictures of your products are available, it is advisable to use watermarks and copyright notices to deter any would be copycats.

By Sajidha Gamieldien

Sajidha Gamieldien is a Senior Associate at Intellectual Property law firm Adams & Adams. Her practice areas include trade mark prosecution: local and foreign trade mark searches, filings and prosecution; litigation relating to trade marks, passing-off, unlawful competition, advertising complaints and company and close corporation name objections.

About HOTT3D:

HOTT 3D designs, manufactures & builds trade show exhibition stands, expo displays & event infrastructure.  Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban. South Africa.

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