Alexandria, VA, USA (April 16, 2012) — The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is taking steps to protect its members from patent, trademark, and copyright infringements. Effective June 1, 2012, IAAPA member and nonmember companies that exhibit, purchase advertising, or sponsor an event must comply with IAAPA’s Policy and Procedures on Intellectual Property (IP). The new rules, which apply to activities taking place under the IAAPA umbrella, require companies own the intellectual property of their featured products or have the rights to sell that product on behalf of the owner. Infringement issues or questions in the general marketplace are not within IAAPA’s purview and will not be addressed through this process.
The program includes an agreement that all companies doing business with IAAPA must sign. In addition to attesting to owning their products’ IP (or having the rights to sell the product), each company agrees to a binding arbitration process for dispute resolution. The arbitration is conducted by an independent third party who will address viable claims of infringement formally filed with IAAPA.
Complaints and Claims
A company with an infringement claim against another’s advertisements in IAAPA publications, creative displays at IAAPA trade shows or events, or sponsorship artwork, can make a formal complaint with IAAPA. The complaint must be submitted in writing and be accompanied by graphic representations, legal documents, or other factual information sufficient for IAAPA or its designated arbitrator to determine the complaint is worthy of further investigation. Concerns raised regarding a trade show exhibit will be addressed in real time at the expo. If the dispute cannot be easily resolved, IAAPA will appoint third-party arbiter to handle the complaint between the parties, without IAAPA’s influence or involvement.
When the arbiter reaches a decision all parties involved will be made aware of the decision and any necessary actions. If the decision is rendered at a trade show, immediate alterations to trade show exhibits may be required. Following the arbiter resolution of the immediate complaint, the IAAPA Board of Directors will determine if any further action will be taken against the infringing party, which could include termination of the company’s membership in the association.
“Protecting the attractions industry’s innovation and creativity is essential to maintaining its integrity and long-term success,” said IAAPA President and CEO Chip Cleary. “The IP problem was one of the first issues brought to my attention when I joined the IAAPA staff; after many meetings with our manufacturer and supplier members and in consultation with several other associations who have developed similar IP programs, we felt this new policy was in the best interest of IAAPA, our members, and the global attractions industry.”
Members Should Still Seek Official, Legal IP Protection
IAAPA encourages its members to register products, logos, names, and other trademarks with their national patent, trademark, and copyright office, and it recommends companies bring copies of these documents to trade shows and other events. The arbitration process will rely heavily on official documentation as well as marketing pieces that can help prove product ownership.
Cleary added, “The process does not replace the critical importance of getting the proper legal protection for intellectual properties through the government and regulatory channels, but it should serve as a deterrent to blatant infringements related to the primary activities of the association.”
As a part of the association’s commitment to intellectual property protection, IAAPA will offer educational materials and programs to help M&S members understand IP issues.
The first program will be a members-only webinar on April 25 at 1 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). During the hour-long webinar, attorneys from the Arent Fox law firm will provide an overview of the various intellectual property issues most relevant to the attractions industry and related products. This will include a description of copyrights, trademark rights, and patent rights. Registration is free and required but only open to members of IAAPA. IAAPA members can register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/466226498.
IAAPA will also prominently display signs at its events to remind trade show participants of the association’s IP policy and personnel will be available on the exhibit floor to answer questions and address concerns.
Full Policy and Additional Information
The full policy can be reviewed at www.IAAPA.org/IPPolicy and questions about the program can be addressed to IAAPA Executive Vice President Susan Mosedale at [email protected].
IAAPA is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States and it maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. www.IAAPA.org.