Protecting intellectual property is the basis for fair competition. Since 2006, Messe Frankfurt against Copying has worked to ensure that your innovations are well protected at our trade fairs.
Be sure to make full use of the rights available to you in Germany and to do so in good time. We would be happy to assist you in any way we can.
What do you definitely need to know?
Industrial property protection is your basis for initiating legal proceedings against infringements of intellectual property rights. Only the person whose intellectual property rights have been infringed can assert claims arising from the relevant legal provisions.
Here you can find the most important steps for protecting your products – both before and during your trade fair activities.
Better safe than sorry …
... before the trade fair
Your first step should be to contact the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), the central institution for protecting intellectual property in Germany. It is here that intellectual property rights are issued and administered.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office is a partner in a network of national, European and international intellectual property rights systems. Further competent partners include the regionally based patent information centres. These provide practical assistance on all questions relating to protecting intellectual property and work closely together with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Please note that the nature of the intellectual property rights determines the jurisdiction of the registration authority. Accordingly, you should inform yourself about your specific situation without delay. The names of registration authorities outside Germany and details on individual intellectual property rights can be found on the DPMA cooperations website.
Please check the time periods and geographic areas for which your intellectual property rights are valid. Intellectual property rights must be registered for the country in which the trade fair in question is taking place. You should always carry original documents, certified copies or the registration numbers with you for the purposes of verifying registered intellectual property rights. If any final verdicts have already been returned against the imitator in question, these are also essential as proof.
You should attempt to resolve infringement issues prior to the trade fair. If necessary, please contact the potential infringer after seeking counsel on this from your legal advisor.
One effective way of preventing counterfeit and illegally manufactured products from being presented at trade fairs is to file an application for action by customs authorities (“border seizures”). Goods from non-EU countries entering the country for exhibition at trade fairs can be inspected for possible infringement of intellectual property rights by customs officials before the trade fair takes place.
More information on the website of the German customs authority
... and during the fair
You should take immediate action. Contact the Messe Frankfurt against Copying team as soon as possible – alternatively, you can contact the emergency legal service in connection with Messe Frankfurt against Copying or your lawyer.
The Messe Frankfurt against Copying team will advise you and provide you with general information on brand and product piracy. If necessary, it will arrange legal assistance via the emergency legal service. The team is available in person at selected events. They can be contacted by calling the hotline +49 69 7575-1273 or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
Emergency legal service
You can make use of an initial consultation on location through our emergency legal service. During the trade fair opening times, you can reach the lawyers at the following hotline number: +49 69 7575-1212.
Needless to say, you can also seek advice from your own lawyer. Together with your chosen legal advisor, you can decide on which legal steps you would like to take.
Civil law measures
The potential imitator agrees to cease the infringing behaviour (exhibiting, promoting or in some cases selling copied products). In the event of a further infringement, a contractual penalty is to be paid.
You can instruct your legal advisor to formulate a cease-and-desist declaration.
A temporary court order prohibits the actions of the potential infringer (exhibiting, promoting or in some cases selling copied products).
A preliminary injunction can be obtained from the court by your legal advisor.
Criminal law measures
Another possibility for combating infringements of intellectual property rights is to file a criminal charge with the police. The police are authorised to take action on condition that there is a suspected infringement of intellectual property rights on the part of an exhibitor from the European Union.
The police station is found in the Operation Security Center in Hall 4.0. Southwest and can be contacted by telephone at +49 (0) 69 75 75-65 55.
In the event of infringements of intellectual property rights on the part of exhibitors from non-EU countries, customs officials can take action by carrying out inspections. Please note that customs officials carry out their inspections independently and at selected events. Please find out in good time before the trade fair begins about the procedure for applying to take part in a customs inspection.
To do so, please contact the Main Customs Office in Darmstadt
Emergency legal service in connection with Messe Frankfurt against Copying
Law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek PartGmbB
Thorsten A. Wieland (Partner)
60313 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 69 9756 1 422
Fax: +49 69 9756 1 400
Please contact Messe Frankfurt’s security service at +49 69 75 75-33 33.
Before and during a trade fair, stickers indicating that photography is prohibited can be obtained for your stand from the Messe Frankfurt against Copying team or from the trade fair management team.
Further useful information and links
- Aktion Plagiarius e.V.
- Association of German Patent Information Centres
- Association of the German Trade Fair Industry
- Enterprise Europe Network Hessen
- European Union Intellectual Property Organisation
- German Anti-Counterfeiting Association e.V.
- German Patent and Trade Mark Office
- Intellectual Property Rights Protection Department of German Customs