March 30, 2011

‘My Blog from Basel’ by Stephen Welfare

As a first time visitor I was impressed at the size of the stands compared to what I am used to seeing at Spring Fair and IJL. Two storey constructions were the norm amongst the watch companies with Rolex the pick of the bunch – marble walls and staircases no less!

It was good to see Royds’ clients Dreyfuss Group (Rotary), IBB (Hoxton London) and Rodney Rayner, amongst others, putting on impressive displays. Spread over several halls in separate buildings there was, once again, plenty of walking for your hard working IP Lawyer.

As I was only there for the day it was impossible to cover the whole Show and difficult to determine quite what was on trend this year. What I observed was plenty of bling, bright colours and perhaps surprisingly in these austere times a liberal use of diamonds, other gemstones and crystal. Not so much keep calm and carry on, but perhaps more a case of to hell with it!

Exhibitors at BaselWorld agree in the Show terms and conditions to the jurisdiction of BaselWorld panel regarding any intellectual property disputes that arise at the Show. This is very much instant “justice” with arguably a home bias. The complainant has the strong advantage of being able to prepare its case, lodge papers with the panel and invoke the arbitration clause in the contract. Administrators then descend upon the defender stand who is summarily brought before the panel and required to prove its innocence. There is no advance disclosure or witness evidence so the party having its documents has the clear advantage. It was very interesting talking to Royds’ Swiss colleague, Christoph Kunzi, Infosuisse, about his experiences of this procedure. My advice to any UK businesses exhibiting at BaselWorld is to take design sketches and any registrations with you, even if only in electronic form on a memory stick.

Best regards to all Royds’ clients who exhibited or visited BaselWorld and apologies to the many of you that I was unable to meet up with. Here is to prosperous trading through to the next major Trade Show IJL at Earls Court.

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