The Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) is an enormous annual trade show that showcases products and services from over 2,200 automotive aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers. The 2016 AAPEX event took place from November 1-3 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The AAPEX organizers take the protection of their exhibitors’ intellectual property rights seriously. The AAPEX website states that:
We remind all of our exhibitors that AAPEX will have attorneys on site. Event Management’s attorneys will be prepared to investigate an exhibitor’s properly documented complaint of an intellectual property rights violation that is brought to the attention of Event Management. Products or product catalogs on display that are determined to violate the intellectual property rights (patent, trademark, trade dress or copyright) of the exhibitor may result in sanctions in accordance with the event rules.
The AAPEX website includes a complaint form that an exhibitor can use to bring infringing activity to the attention of the AAPEX organizers. The form requires information about the complainant and the accused infringer, the steps taken to resolve the dispute prior to the submission of the complaint, a description of all “essential facts” relating to the infringement, and an identification of any related litigation or other proceedings.
Upon receiving a complaint, AAPEX management will conduct an initial review to determine whether the complaint is adequately documented and may also conduct its own preliminary investigation into the allegations in the complaint. AAPEX management may then order the accused infringer to remove the accused products from display during the pendency of the investigation. The accused infringer will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before any final decision is made.
If AAPEX management determines that the complaint has merit and that the accused products are indeed infringing, it may impose sanctions against the infringing exhibitor. These sanctions can include a warning, reprimand, imposition of a fine, removal of items displayed in the exhibitor’s booth, expulsion of the exhibitor from the current AAPEX show, and a ban from future AAPEX shows.
At AAPEX 2016, Oblon attended the event on behalf of one of its major clients and executed multiple successful patent enforcement actions with AAPEX management, resulting in the take-down of accused infringing products from the accused infringers’ booths.
If you require assistance with intellectual property enforcement at trade shows, Oblon has the ability and experience to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.