Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘iPad Stands’

Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery? Nope!

December 30th, 2016 COMMENTS

blogheaderintellectualproperty

In the past month, our designs have been copied three times. Three clear examples, all very different in scope. Question:  When do you throw up your hands vs. taking legal action to protect your intellectual property? Thought you might like to read what we decided to do in each situation.

Base Plate.

To be honest, we expected this to happen at some point. About seven years ago, we created an identifiable base plate for our Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display line. The design made the base plates lighter, distinctive, and easier to carry. We expected other display manufacturers to create their own unique designs. What we didn’t anticipate was that a budget manufacturer/importer would simply tweak our existing design. See the minor difference.

baseplates

What was surprising was seeing it at an exhibit association event, where members take an oath to honor one another’s intellectual property. I asked the owner about the base plate design and basically got a shrug. In other words, it is what it is. Will we pursue this legally? No but it’s an annoyance. This manufacturer has purchased parts and pieces from us in the past. We won’t sell to them again.

Charging Table.

Over the past year, we’ve designed and engineered a line of charging tables in various sizes and heights. The tables are clearly identifiable as Classic Exhibits designs, including the LED lights around the perimeter. Other charging solutions fit into one of two categories:  sofas, tables, and chairs with plugs or charging towers, similar to what you would see at an airport. Ours look nothing like those.

mod-1432gLast week,  I noticed a photo showing our MOD-1432 in LinkedIn… yet, it wasn’t. The shape was the same, along with the LED lights, USB charging ports, post, and base. Only the proportions were different. Honestly, we were surprised that someone would copy a design so clearly identifiable with Classic Exhibits. Yes, a round bistro table is a round bistro table, but the copy appeared to have the same LED light pattern and number of USB ports. Frankly, that’s being intellectually lazy.

I won’t share the photo because it would implicate the customer, rather than the manufacturer. So, what did we do? We sent the owner an email, who was kind enough to give me a call. While he felt their design didn’t infringe on the MOD-1432, he did agree to revisit the design and see if some changes were possible. We’ll see what happens.

Island Exhibit.

eco-4073_1_webThis one will blow your mind. Late last summer, our sister company Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits quoted a modified eSmart ECO-4073 island to a Distributor which included several Classic Exhibits counters and iPad stands. Several months later, we were contacted by a graphic designer asking for templates on the island they purchased in September. Except, we never built the island. The graphic designer sent us their invoice, which listed Classic kit numbers.

What the client purchased was a copy of the modified ECO-4073. Some small variations but 98% the same. The Distributor chose to build part of it and purchase other components, but it was an ECO-4073. And the distributor even included our part numbers on the invoice. For legal reasons, I can’t go into details; however, we are pursuing this aggressively with an IP attorney and expect a lawsuit to be filed within the next two weeks.

Like you, we are in a very creative business, so we’re always surprised when someone takes a design shortcut by copying. It’s one thing to improve, refine, expand on a design. It’s another thing to blatantly copy. And like you, we have to decide on the best recourse each time. We always address it. Sometimes tactfully, Sometimes bluntly. And sometimes legally. If you don’t, then the lazy will do what they do best. Steal your designs.

We would enjoy hearing your experiences and thoughts on this topic.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite


 

5 Classic Tips x 5 Days = 25 Insights | Day #1

November 7th, 2016 COMMENTS

tips

I’m a giver. What can I say? It’s who I am.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share 25 “Classic Tips and Insights” over the next week. Five per day. Some you may know. Others probably not. I promise to keep them short, sweet, and easily digestible.

Tip #1 — Photo Galleries

Exhibit Design Search has three new photo galleries:  custom, rental, and retail. Why the addition? Distributors asked us to include more customized solutions in their branded EDS websites. For Classic, these display categories are growing fast, like grass in May. Bring um’ on baby! We love these types of projects.

Tip #2 — Graphic Resolution and Drayage Calculators

Have you ever wanted a quick tool to calculate graphic resolution sizes or material handling charges? We have both. When I showed the calculators to a Classic Distributor recently, he hugged me. Now I’m not a hugger. But, I’ll take an “atta boy!” if you like them.

Tip #3 — Projects, Designs, and Rentals Email Addresses

The projects, designs, and rental email addresses are like cilantro. Some folks like it. Others say it tastes like soap. We love them because it allows us to forward your request to right person PDQ. But, we’re not picky. Call us. Send an email to a PM or Designer. OR dance across the keyboard with projects@classicexhibits.com, designs@classicexhibits.com, or rentals@classicexhibits.com.

Tip #4 — ClassicMODUL

Whenever you need MODUL extrusion in full lengths, cut pieces, or basic designs, contact Tom Jones at tjones@classicmodul.com. Tom is the Home Depot of engineered aluminum in ClassicLand. Give him a call or visit the CM website:  www.classicmodul.com. At some point, we should buy him a bright orange smock.

Tip #5 — iPad, Surface, and Other Tablets

Single, double, and quad tablet stands. We have them. Counter mounts. Ones with literature holders. Most with graphic options. All built to withstand trade show, retail, and event abuse.

Available in silver, black, and white. iPad, Surface, Galaxy, and many others.

Now that wasn’t so bad. Same time tomorrow with #6 thru #10.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite


 

 

 

 

Under $3K to $25K Display Brochures

July 14th, 2015 COMMENTS

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I’m getting old, but not too old to learn from my mistakes. Over the past year, I’ve largely ignored printed sales collateral as a tool for Classic Distributors. That’s not to say we haven’t created high quality PDF’s (such as iPad and Surface Stands and NEO and Express Furniture), but they have been mostly promotional sheets, not product line brochures. My feeling was — It’s all online on the Classic website or in Exhibit Design Search.

Recently, we updated the “Under $3K” sheets. This 10-page PDF shows selective kits Under $3K, $6K, $12K, $18K, and $24K. I was surprised at the response. Distributors told me how much they love these for two reasons:

  1. It’s an easy, manageable introduction to kits within a price point range. Plus, it allows potential clients to quickly see designs ranging from table tops to custom-hybrid inlines. The PDF isn’t a replacement for Exhibit Design Search. Rather it’s a quick, easily-digestible overview.
  2. It’s a great piece to email or as a “leave behind” after a meeting. A client can save, print, and share it. Plus, it’s attractive and instructive.

We invite you to download the Unbranded and Classic version. It’s also available in the Distributor Section of the Classic website.

displays-under-_6k_6-15onepage

Over the next two months, we will create a series of one-page product brochures. They’ll be in Exhibit Design Search, shown as a thumbnail, as well in the Distributor Section. The Visionary Design version is finished. Expect similar sheets for Quadro, SEGUE, Perfect 10, Magellan, and several other lines.

So, this is my public mea culpa. I apologize… AND I’m committed to making it right.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

 

I Get Questions: Word on the Street — November 25th thru November 29th

December 1st, 2013 COMMENTS
Elevator Pitch -- Take One

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

The belly is full, Christmas lights are on the house, and the tree is in the stand. Sound familiar? It’s the post-Thanksgiving weekend. It’s just what you do.

Next week, I am off to Marco Island, FL for the Annual EDPA ACCESS meeting. Something I look forward to every year as a proud sponsor and member of the Board of Directors.

Since I will not be seeing some of you there, I thought I would use this week’s blog as an opportunity to practice my elevator pitches to the usual (and unusual) questions that I’m often asked.

1. I haven’t heard of Classic Exhibits. What do you do?

Sigh . . . I don’t get this question as often anymore, but I tell folks that Classic Exhibits is a manufacturer of the highest-quality, best-designed custom hybrid, custom modular, and system exhibits on the market. We lead by design and close with customer service and quality. We are a non-direct selling manufacturer that focuses on helping our distributors build their brands in their markets with our products.

2. How’s business?

2013 has been an odd year. Some real highs and some real lows to be honest. Thankfully many more highs. We celebrated two of our largest months in the company’s history and are looking to finish the year between 10-15% up over last year. I am currently working on my annual State of Company letter. Stay tuned for more in a few weeks.

3. Are you selling many iPad stands?

Many is not quite the term I would use. We sell “tons” of them actually. Overall, our iPad sales have truly been off the charts. I give a lot of credit to our Design and Marketing Departments. They have continued to innovate. It seems like about every two weeks or so they come up with something new or some great little tweak that makes the product line even better than before.

4. What’s the relationship between Classic Exhibits and Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits?

We are great partners first and foremost. Friends second. Classic Exhibits serves as the contract manufacturer for the Eco-Systems product line.

5. Any predictions for 2014?

We have high hopes for 2014. All indications are pointing to Classic and its distributors having a banner year in 2014. Again, more to come in my State of the Company Letter in the coming weeks.

6. How are the twins?

Thanks for asking. They are amazing and continue to be a blessing to my wife and me. As a matter of fact, they just turned 7 this past Sunday, December 1st. They are very proud 1st graders, and we are very proud parents for sure. 🙂

7. Is there any truth to the rumors that Reid Sherwood was selected as an alternate for the Jamaican Bobsled team in the upcoming Sochi Olympics?

SHHH! Nobody is supposed to know that. But let’s just say that Mr. Sherwood is sneaky fast.

8. Hey, you’re from Oregon right? How accurate is that show Portlandia? I mean really, be honest, it’s not that weird right?

Our former Mayor participated in the Naked Bike Ride . . . need I say more?

9. What is selling right now?

More and more Islands. Sure we sell a lot of 10 x 10’s, 10x 20’s, and counters, kiosks, table tops, etc., but we are seeing a huge uptick in the smaller island builds — 20′ x 20’s to 30′ x 40’s and everything in between. Clients seem to be building for more and more “smaller islands” in lieu of their traditional large island builds for one or two big shows a year. Instead they are using smaller islands and attending more regional events.

10. Any design trends that jump of the page these days?

Maybe not a “design” trend so much as an overall “look” trend. We are seeing more backlighting of large dye-sub fabric. Nearly every day we receive requests for backlit fabric using our SuperNova LED technology.

11. How was your Thanksgiving Holiday?

Probably my best ever. Not only did I get four great days with my family and extended family, but my favorite band was in Portland Friday night — Pearl Jam. And as luck would have it, the Tour Manager put me on the band’s special guest list for the show. I watched the entire show standing 8 feet from the lead guitarist. Amazing view!

12.  How is Classic handling the whole healthcare dilemma?

This hotel only has like 8 floors dude.

13. Does Classic Exhibits have a rental program?

Yes, and one that we are very proud of, managed by Jim Shelman. Classic Rentals is probably one of the most custom-built and well-designed Systems Rentals programs you will find. We have inventory located in Portland, Chicago, and Vegas. Everything from the most basic counter units to 20 x 30 double deck structures. And we are continually adding new inventory. Most of which is driven by design and client needs.

14. Duck or Beaver?

Duck for sure for me. Nothing against the Beavers. Just always preferred the Ducks within the state rivalry. I appreciate both programs however and all they have done over the years to bring the spotlight of collegiate sports to the state of Oregon.

Speaking of sports . . . did ya see the finish of that Iron Bowl this weekend? Amazing! Nothing better in life than seeing Nick Satan’s…um…Saban lose in historic fashion. Just saying.

15.  Last but not least — Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or Yeti? Which is it?

Call Mel at ext. 219.

Be well and have a wonderful week ahead. I truly hope you had a great Thanksgiving Weekend with your family and friends.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

What are People Buying?: Word on the Street — September 16th thru September 20th

September 22nd, 2013 COMMENTS
What are People Buying?: Word on the Street — September 16th thru September 20th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

At least five times a day, I am asked by distributors:  “So what are you seeing in exhibit design? What are people buying?” I love when I am asked that question. It’s usually an indication that we’re all busy.

So what’s selling? . . . Portable and custom hybrids with tension fabric graphics continue to drive the ship, but the biggest sales superstar right now – – iPad Stands!

If you have been to Classic, then you know my office is above Accounting and next to Design. Everyday, I walk up and down those stairs 15-20 times. On my way to Customer Service or the Set-up area, I generally tour Production to see what is being built and shipping that day.

Without fail, I always see multiple iPad Stands, an iPad enclosure, or some creative way we are integrating an iPad or other tablet into an exhibit. From Islands to Table tops and everything in between. And while I see lots of standard “kits,” I also see lots of customized applications as well.

iPad Stands

Classic Exhibits has devoted more than two years to designing a wide assortment of tablet solutions into exhibits of all shapes and sizes. We are clearly the leader. I say that not because I’m bragging, but because we have devoted enormous R&D, Design, and Marketing effort to achieve that position. The proof is in the pudding. Not a day goes by that we are not shipping 5-25 iPad kiosks or enclosures.

Design and innovation has certainly been the driver. From the get-go, we applied for Design and Utility patents because we wanted to protect not only our intellectual property, but also ensure that Classic Distributors had a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace. Those distributors who have embraced iPad Solutions and have marketed them consistently and aggressively are reaping the rewards of their efforts.

Aside from design, the other element that stands out is the “secret sauce,” such as our “Port\Land” Swivel Stop Technology. Whether you’re using an iPad or some other tablet unit, such as a Samsung Galaxy Tab or ASUS, this feature really sets the Classic products apart from those Johnny Come Lately knockoffs. All are clunky, heavy, and less functional, even those units that have “attempted” to copy the same design features.

It’s one thing to “copy” as opposed to “innovate.” Innovation requires a well thought out process that:  a). focuses on your customers, b). understands how they will use it, c). designs it to be attractive and functional, and d). engineers it to be durable and lightweight. Copying does none of that.

iPad Kiosks

I digress. Whether you are building a dynamic island design or just a freestanding interactive kiosk, please keep our iPad Solutions in mind. They are an affordable and a practical accessory to any exhibit.

Thank you for your continued support of Classic Exhibits. We welcome your design and R&D suggestions.

Hope you have a great weekend with your families. Talk to you next week.

Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a