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Time for Engagement

7 Oct, 2013

US-based patent attorney, Steve Adkins, has worked with the International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs authorities on more than 45 cases involving exclusion orders. In an interview with me he said, “Many large companies who pay a lot of money to lawyers, and to getting these exclusion orders, don’t actually follow up to educate customs and border authorities”.

Within days of that going to air on my inTouch TV News program, an executive from a well known OEM contacted me, saying that in his view, Steve Adkins was wrong, and much is being done with the authorities.

Adkins had told me that while OEMs do go to customs, “they go just one time, or they are invited by Customs, and Customs doesn’t hear from them again.”  He says engagement must be a continuous process, not a single event, if the battle to differentiate between infringing and non-infringing products is to be won.

Adkins will have the opportunity to argue the case further when he meets with OEM and aftermarket conference delegates in Zhuhai, China on October 16. The 2013 conference continues to facilitate the engagement of different views to find constructive solutions.

Despite some strong views to the contrary on social media, there is a case for OEMs and the aftermarket to jointly identify and initiate strategies. To that extent, I applaud HP and Lexmark for stepping up to the mark and being willing to engage in Zhuhai. HP’s Matt Barkly and Betsy Porter will share a white paper with remanufacturers on how to avoid HP’s patents in terms of chips used in some printer cartridges. This is a global issue for HP, as it is for the aftermarket and is not confined to the United States.
However, some have seen this presentation in October as an opportunity for entrapment by the OEM, where delegates attending, or their companies, may be compromised in some way. No, this is not a military-style engagement. It’s a mature approach to resolving intellectual property issues. Conspiracy theorists can stay at home, but those interested in a healthy future for their businesses in the longer term will benefit from such an open-minded confrontation, which may very well include debate, mixed with harmonious discussion.

Counterfeit, clone and intellectual property issues abound. So it’s time to engage, to keep engaging, and to strategically find solutions to thrive side by side.

David Gibbons is an Australian who has been a school principal, TV and radio broadcaster, and has also run his own imaging supplies business. He is currently based in Zhuhai, China as a Director of Recycling Times Media in publishing, broadcasting and events. Visit http://www.irecyclingtimes.com

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