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ITMA roundtable to cover global knockoffs

During next month's Showtime, the International Textile Market Association (ITMA) will sponsor a roundtable on the escalating problem of global copyright infringements.

"Pattern Piracy: Navigating the Seas of Infringement" will draw from a global network of experts who will discuss the problems, potential for joint action and governmental opportunities to aid.

Jack Eger, ITMA president and vp, Craftex Mills, explained, "We have attracted some of the most experienced people involved globally in trying to stem the tide of the problem that extends far beyond the furniture, home fashions and home furnishings world.

"We reached out to people and organizations beyond our world to bring their experiences and insights to our business," he said. "Perhaps together we will be able to slow down this tidal wave." The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) has estimated a loss of some $100 million annually for American fabrics suppliers because of knockoffs, he added.

The panel includes Dids Macdonald, a partner in a London-based interior design company and chief executive, ACID. The reach of ACID, which stands for Anti Copying in Design, extends across all distribution channels, including hotels and retailers. Both Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, and Decosit in Brussels, Belgium, are accredited by ACID.

Barbara Kolsun, senior vp and general counsel of high-end fashion accessory design house Kate Spade, is another panel member. Fighting counterfeiting is a key initiative for her with the company. Before joining Kate Spade earlier this year, she was chairwoman of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. "She also was a former counsel at WestPoint Stevens, so she has a sense of the problem in this business," Eger said.

Another panelist, Jim Leonard, Deputy Secretary, U. S. Department of Commerce, has reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to helping alleviate this critical problem, Eger added. Earlier this year, Leonard told HTT, "We will be helpful where we can concerning daily problems. But also we will raise the awareness of these issues with World Trade Association members."

The fourth panelist, Hank Truslow Jr., president, Sunbury Fabrics, also is a key player in the newly formed National Textile Association and serves as its treasurer. The NTA is taking a strong position in the fight against design copyright infringement.

The panel will be moderated by Carole Sloan, founding editor-in-chief of HTT. A question and answer session will follow.

The roundtable will be held Jan. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Tang Restaurant in Market Square Tower.

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