In 2013, Expocentre AO has initiated a project called Expocentre for Counterfeit-Free Exhibitions. It was set up following recommendations of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) and came as a response to an increased number of exhibits infringing third parties' rights at exhibitions.
Similar projects have already been implemented in other countries and proven very effective in terms of decreasing numbers of counterfeit goods being displayed at exhibitions, which, in its turn, has led to fewer IP-related conflicts.
From now on, taking part in exhibitions will be more transparent. Rights owners, in case of IP infringements, will be entitled to legal support. The number of infringing exhibitors will go down, while law-abiding businesses will have more opportunities to take part in exhibitions.
The project is about providing legal support for all participants in Expocentre's exhibitions. This should raise their IP awareness and responsibility in showcasing their goods at exhibitions.
Conferences and seminars on IP protection and enforcement;
Consultations for visitors and exhibitors on IP issues;
Confirmation of demonstration of exhibits bearing registered trademarks at Expocentre's exhibitions; Certificate of Demonstration;
Certificate of Demonstration of a trade mark or an exhibit at Exocentre's exhibitions;
Assistance in finding contacts of consulting companies and federal authorities to report infringements.
1. We hear that you can issue various certificates. How can we get them and what are they for?
The exhibitors can get the following documents at all home exhibitions of Expocentre:
- the certificate of demonstration of an unpatented invention at an international exhibition – it can be used to get temporary protection for an invention when the proprietor of that invention discloses it at an international exhibition before the priority date of the invention. Where temporary protection has been granted the disclosure of an invention is not considered as a factor prejudicial to patentability of the invention.
- the certificate of demonstration of an unregistered trade mark - to prove that the exhibitor has showcased goods under the trademark they intend to register. The certificate can be used to get temporary protection for the yet unregistered trademark. Where temporary protection or, in other words, 'exhibition priority' has been granted, the priority date is considered to be the date of the first disclosure of an unregistered trademark at an international exhibition, rather than the date of filing the application for registration of the trademark. These certificates are also used to prove the fact of demonstration of the goods under a certain trade mark by a specific exhibitor at an international exhibition for the purpose of tackling any issues that may arise in the course of trademark registration and be related to false representation.
- the certificate of demonstration of an exhibit under a registered trademark - to prove fair use of the trademark in the territory of Russia in case an application for early termination of legal protection of the trademark for non-use has been filed.
To have any of these certificates issued, the exhibitor shall apply to the Exhibition Management Team on the first day of the exhibition. The application shall be accompanied with the description of the unpatented exhibit/unregistered trademark or - for a registered trade mark - the trademark registration certificate, along with the photos of the stand where these IP articles are being displayed.
All the above-mentioned certificates are issued free of charge.
2. We are going to showcase a new product at one of your exhibitions. The product has not yet been introduced to the Russian market, and won't be any time soon. Can we get some kind of evidence of such demonstration?
Yes, you can. But the type of evidence depends on what you are getting it for. If you are going to put on display a registered trademark, we can issue the certificate of demonstration of the product under the registered trade mark. If what you need is evidence of demonstration as such, or you plan to apply for legal protection of the IP you are showcasing, we will issue the certificate of demonstration of an unpatented exhibit or unregistered trademark (depending on what you need) at an international exhibition.
3. Our company would like to demonstrate a new unpatented technology (development) at an exhibition. We fear that our competitors may copy our know-how.
The best way to deal with this situation is to file a patent application before demonstrating your invention anywhere. If, however, that is not possible for some reason, Expocentre can assist you by issuing a certificate, stating that the invention was exhibited at an international exhibition. This certificate will enable you to claim temporary protection for you invention. It will prove that the disclosure was made by the author or the potential owner of the patent or with their consent. Yet, even if the documents certifying the legitimate disclosure of the information about the invention are in place, the application for registration of rights shall be filed to the relevant Patent Office within six months from the date of such disclosure.
Also, please note that the above-mentioned certificate can only be of use when you are registering your IP rights. It cannot protect your invention from being copied by competitors.
The certificate can help you, though, if a competitor attempts to get a patent for your invention (when patent application is filed after the invention has been disclosed). The certificate will enable you to challenge novelty of their invention, which is an essential requirement for its patentability.
4. How can we benefit from the certificate of demonstration of an exhibit/trademark at an international exhibition?
The certificates of demonstration of unpatented exhibits/unregistered trademarks can come useful when applying for a patent. The certificates of demonstration of goods under a registered trademark can serve as evidence of fair use of the trademark in the territory of Russia, and consequently, enhance protection of the existing exclusive rights.
5. Is it the case that with the certificate of demonstration of an unpatented invention at an international exhibition we will have no problem getting the patent for our technical solution?
We, at Expocentre, are always ready to help our exhibitors cope with possible challenges they may face when registering rights to various IP assets. Firstly, the personnel of the Expocentre for Counterfeit-Free Exhibitions project provide consultations on a wide range of issues related to securing rights to various IP assets. Secondly, the exhibitors can get the certificate of demonstration of an unpatented exhibit/unregistered trademark at an international exhibition and use it later on to apply for temporary IP protection or, in other words, 'exhibition priority'.
Yet, Expocentre has no impact on the decisions of the Patent Offices as to granting or denying patents.
6. We took part in one of your exhibitions three months ago. Now we would like to get a certificate of demonstration of an exhibit at the exhibition. How can we do that?
According to Section 17 of the General Terms of Participation in Exhibitions Held at Expocentre Fairgrounds, the exhibitor shall apply for such a certificate on the first day of the exhibition. If submitted later, the application will be rejected. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Ensuring compliance with this provision is fundamental since, for one thing, the authorized personnel of Expocentre should be able to check the claimed exhibit/trademark has been displayed from the opening date of the exhibition, and, for the other thing, the certificate authenticates the fact that the exhibit/trademark was demonstrated throughout the show, that is from its opening date which is the first day of the exhibition.
7. We have noticed that one of the exhibitors is showcasing similar products to ours on their stand. What can we do to stop that?
Such demonstration can only be terminated upon court order. If this is the first time you have discovered infringing products at an exhibition, there are several options how to deal with the situation: First, you can send a cease and desist letter to the company showcasing similar products. During the exhibition, you can contact representatives of the infringing company on their stand. If you anticipate that these measures will not result in voluntary termination of the infringement of your exclusive rights, you can ask a notary to record the infringement of your IP rights. The notary will make the protocol of examination of the infringing products that can later be used as evidence of the infringement. You can also submit a notice of infringement to the police. In case your notice is accepted, police officers can remove the contentious products from the exhibition. They are entitled to do so under the provisions of Article 13 of the Federal Law on the Police and Chapter 27 of the Administrative Offences Code.
8. We noticed counterfeit products on a neighbouring stand and contacted the Exhibition Manangement Team with a demand that the infringing products should be withdrawn from display. Our demand was rejected. Was it a lawful response?
According to the current legislation of the Russian Federation, any products or services can be recognized counterfeit if they have been adjudged so by the court. Therefore, the Exhibition Management Team cannot demand from any exhibitor to remove exhibits from display on a sheer claim from the rights owner that the products on display may be counterfeit.
Yet, if there is a court ruling in place prohibiting a specific exhibitor to commercialize the said products in any way, the Exhibition Management Team has the right to demand from that exhibitor that the infringing products should be removed from display.
9. We have got a court ruling prohibiting our competitors to commercialize the products bearing our trademark/produced with our patented technology. Yet, we can see that they are showcasing infringing products on their stand. What actions can we take?
According to the General Terms of Participation in Exhibitions held at Expocentre Fairgrounds, and specifically Article 17, if the exhibitor is showcasing infringing IP articles in defiance of the court prohibition to commercialize them in any way, the authorized personnel of Expocentre can demand that the said exhibitor should stop demonstrating these items. If the exhibitor refuses to comply, Expocentre reserves the right to terminate the participation contract with the infringing exhibitor before its term ends.
Therefore, if you have disclosed that an exhibitor is demonstrating an infringing exhibit in defiance of the court ruling prohibiting them to do so in relation to your IP, you can report the fact to the Exhibition Management Team. They will examine your application and take appropriate measures.
When reporting the fact of infringing, you shall submit conclusive evidence of the infringement of your exclusive rights by the exhibitor. For instance, you can prove the fact of demonstration of the contentious product by a third party with the protocol of examination made by a notary. The evidence of infringement of your exclusive rights by such demonstration should be definitive, too.
10. We would like to record the infringement of our exclusive rights by our competitor at an exhibition. Can Expocentre authenticate the fact of infringement?
No, Expocentre's personnel cannot certify the fact of demonstration of an infringing item at an exhibition. When you need to record the fact of infringing demonstration, you should contact a notary who will examine the evidence and make a protocol. The protocol can later serve as evidence of infringement in court and with administrative authorities.
You can also contact the police. They can examine the evidence and make a protocol, too. In case the infringement has been established, they can confiscate or arrest the infringing items as the instruments of an unlawful administrative act.
When what you need is just certify the participation of the infringing exhibitor in the exhibition, you can get evidence of this from the Official Catalogue of the show, which contains the list of exhibitors and information on the location of their stands. You can get the Official Catalogue at the Information Desks or buy it at the kiosks of Expocentre.
Further information is available on + 7 (499) 795-37-40, 795-38-78 or at an information stand (a separate stand per each exhibition).