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Heimtex seeking to deal with pirates in the aisles

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, December 15, 2003

Messe Frankfurt, operator of Heimtextil, will further expand its efforts to prevent design piracy during the 34th Heimtextil that will be held here January 14 to 17.

This year's Heimtex was the first during which Messe Frankfurt instituted strict regulations about photography during the fair under the motto "Heimtextil Against Copying" (HAC). The upcoming January event's regulations will be even more stringent, again using the same motto.

Photography, except by credentialed press, will be banned, and no cameras will be allowed on the premises — a rule that will be strictly monitored, Messe officials said. Additional security personnel will patrol the fair halls to enforce compliance and cameras will be confiscated.

Cameras brought on to the premises can be deposited in lockers. The expanded security staff also will be alert to the potential use of cell phone cameras.

Heimtextil again will employ the services of the legal firm, Boehmert & Boehmert which provides legal advice and support.

In the last Heimtex, more than 1,000 photos were destroyed, and 270 offenders were expelled from the fair. The memory chips of the digital cameras of another 37 people were erased.

For exhibitors who are found to have copied designs, and a legal judgment has been obtained, they will be prevented from taking part in future fairs, said Dr. Geert Bottger, divisional manager, textile fairs. "Copiers not only harm manufacturers, but also the quality of our event," he emphasized.

In addition to the legal counsel and intensified regulations, ACID (Anti Copying in Design), a London-based action group will have a stand and an office in Hall 9T.

Exhibitors are encouraged to obtain an exhibition certificate for their designs in the HAC office, and this certificate can be used as proof before the courts.

Heimtex is expanding its reach into the contract textiles world with a special area called Contract Creations. The segment also will present the "Textiles and Contract Innovation" award. The award, presented for the first time, will honor products and conceptual solutions with outstanding features based on architectural, design and technical features.

Nearly 100 decorative fabrics and home textiles companies from Belgium will exhibit at the upcoming Heimtex, part of the event's salute to Belgium as the "Partner Country."

The Partner Country events will include special presentations by Belgian exhibitors in the Forum, Level 1 as well as the Partner Country evening on January 15 that will feature a typical Belgian program of entertainment as well as an expected visit of Crown Prince Philip of Belgium and Filiep J. Libeert, president of Euratex.

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