Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for December, 2016

Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery? Nope!

December 30th, 2016 COMMENTS

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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


 

The Gift of Knowledge | EDS Tutorial Videos

December 23rd, 2016 COMMENTS

exhibit design search video tutorial

In the movie, Only the Lonely with John Candy (as Danny Muldoon), Danny’s signature line is “Sometimes it’s good to be a cop.” I often feel the same way except, “Sometimes it’s good to be the Marketing VP.”

Recently, a tech savvy Classic Distributor created four Exhibit Design Search tutorials. These 2-3 minute tutorials cover:  Exhibit Specials, Advanced Search, My Gallery, and Photo Galleries. You can find them in our Video Library and on YouTube, but I’ll make it even easier by posting them below. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts.

Exhibit Design Search — Search Options

Exhibit Design Search — Retail, Rental, and Custom Displays Photos

Exhibit Design Search — My Gallery

Exhibit Design Search — Lightning Deal and Exhibit Specials

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


 

Free 2017 EXHIBITOR Hall Pass from Classic Exhibits

December 21st, 2016 COMMENTS

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Get a Complimentary Exhibit Hall Pass to EXHIBITORLIVE from Classic Exhibits. Use Code 4044. Click on the link or the graphic to register.

And while you are there, please take a moment to vote for the Portable Modular People’s Choice Award. You can vote once a day until EXHIBITOR. Classic Exhibits has (5) finalists for the 2017 PMA, our most ever!

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Happy Holidays!

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


 

Holiday Greetings from Kevin (vlog)

December 17th, 2016 6 COMMENTS

Kevin shares his Happy Holiday vlog (I know. It just doesn’t sound right). He also discusses 2017 business trends, including predictions about corporate environments, Gravitee One-Step, and our internal expansion.

We would love to hear your thoughts about 2017 trends, and let us know if you enjoy these vposts (which sounds better to my ears).

2017 EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Awards | Finalists

December 9th, 2016 COMMENTS

Exhibitor Portable Modular Awards

It’s that time of year. The 2017 Portable Modular Award Finalists were released, along with the People’s Choice Voting page. From its inception four years ago, Classic Exhibits has been a huge supporter because we believe that portable and modular exhibits deserve creative recognition. And each year, the competition gets better, with spectacular designs from some of the best suppliers and exhibit houses in our industry.

This year, Classic Exhibits has six finalists, our most ever. You may recall that Classic has won a PMA award the past two years and has had multiple finalists each year.

Exhibitor Portable Modular AwardsThis year we have finalists in the following categories:

  • Best Use of Graphics category for System, Design, and Fabrication
  • Best Island Less than 600 sq. foot category for System, Design and Fabrication
  • Best Island 600-1,000 sq. foot category for System and Fabrication
  • Best Inline category for System, Design, and Fabrication
  • Best Rental category for both System and Fabrication

We STRONGLY encourage you to visit the People’s Choice Voting page and vote for your favorite(s). You can cast one vote per day for the next three months. So, bookmark the page and vote often. We will. 😉

Also, we would enjoy hearing your comments about our banner ad on the People’s Choice page. We’re a reluctant advertiser as you know, but supporting the PMA takes precedence. The ad isn’t your typical exhibit manufacturer message. But, then again, we aren’t a typical exhibit manufacturer.

p.s. A BIG THANKS to Katina Rigall, our Creative Director, for pulling together Classic’s PMA entries.

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