To defend themselves against potential counterfeiters, innovative business people today have new tools available.
INNOVATION FOR THE FUTURE
by Enrico Fabbri
It was back in 1986 when I took part, together with my father, at a trade show at “Hotel dei Cavalieri” in Rome, organised by ESU-UFE (the European Showmen’s Union). The manufacturers had small booths in the hall leading to the entrance of the ESU-UFE congress. The purpose was to allow participants at the association’s meeting to see our products whenever they entered and left the conference.
In those years Far Fabbri, headed by my father with the collaboration of other partners and employees such as Renzo Martini and Franco Fabbri, was continuously turning out new rides: Ranger, Pirate Ship, Flying Carpet, Crazy Dance, Ferris Wheel etc. Some of these attractions had been conceived, regarding the concept, by German company Huss. Back then Klaus Huss designed and built so many rides that his company can be considered the leading manufacturer in the history of the leisure business. Huss products were advanced in terms of engineering and quality, and were sold on the most profitable markets.
In that period, Italian manufacturers looked to the new ideas by German competitors to create their new releases, introducing variants regarding the number of seats and major innovations regarding the set-up and transport systems. The market was expanding quickly, and many manufacturers presented a new ride every year.
Over time, Italian manufacturers of portable attractions (on semi-trailers) have taken over from several German manufacturers, while the position that the Italians once held is today occupied by emerging new Turkish, Polish and Czech manufacturers. To do battle with these new competitors, Italian manufacturers need to innovate and protect their innovations using the tools made available by laws in Europe and above all in the USA. Today, making a new ride that is similar to one made by another manufacturer is no longer a business model for growth.
Recent European and American legislation in fact tends to punish competitors that produce exact copies of other manufacturers’ products, and the sanctions are particularly harsh if the construction designs are copied, representing a violation of trade secrets. On the other hand, it is permitted to take an idea from a competitor and integrate it into another ide, in such a way that the 2 do not coincide.
These new laws respond to the needs of manufacturers that wish to defend themselves against counterfeiting, offering various solutions, such as registering an invention, a product model and a product brand or trademark. The procedure for registering an invention is quite complex, drawn out and expensive, however the other 2 are fast and usually do not cost more than 2,000 euros.
For counterfeiters who copy a product protected by invention or model registration, the economic risks are very high. The original manufacturer is under no obligation to grant a license to the counterfeiter, and indeed can request the latter (and the final operator) to withdraw the copied product from the market, meaning economic damage that multiplies according to the number of rides sold.
Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri firstname.lastname@example.org
Article originally published in Games Industry (Italy) magazine
Original date: April 2016
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