Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA Show 2016

Every November, tens of thousands of high performance and aftermarket automotive manufacturers, distributors, buyers and service providers from around the world descend on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Known as the mecca for automotive enthusiasts, the SEMA Show consistently ranks as one of the world’s largest trade shows.

With the size and scope of the SEMA Show, and the lucrative opportunities it offers to present your products and brands to potential buyers, comes the need to ensure that your innovations and brand identifiers are properly protected. This four part series provides a broad overview of the patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret considerations that all companies should address as part of their SEMA Show planning.

This first of our four part series deals with how to protect yourself against counterfeits of your products exhibited at the SEMA Show. Counterfeiting is an unfortunate reality of the modern global business environment. With the proliferation of e-commerce websites, more and more businesses find themselves dealing with counterfeit products intruding on their market.

Counterfeiting occurs when an unauthorized manufacturer or distributor offers a copy, replica or imitation of a product under a legitimate brand name or image. The counterfeiter’s goal is to entice buyers to purchase their imitation instead of buying the authentic product from a legitimate manufacturer or distributor. Often, the counterfeit is of poor quality and craftsmanship. By associating their counterfeit product with your legitimate brand, counterfeiters not only divert sales of your product to themselves, they can also dilute your brand value as consumers begin to associate your brand with their products.

Due to its size and scope, some counterfeiters view the SEMA Show as an attractive opportunity to market their imitation products. However, businesses who find their products counterfeited at the SEMA Show are not without recourse.

On the next two pages are some things you should think about when addressing suspected counterfeiting at the SEMA Show.