Samples and models of future products are one of the tools that companies use for market promotion, but unfortunately there is always the risk of unauthorized copies by the concurrency. This problem is common for tanneries, leather goods and accessories producers; for this reason ICEC (the leather sector certification body) has been charged by Lineapelle, the main exhibition of the sector, to develop means to guarantee innovative design and company know how. The judicial system provides the companies with adequate protection against copies or frauds, but companies willing to defend their rights have to unequivocally prove the date of possession or diffusion of the elements to be protected. These proofs are more valuable when they are validated by a third party Organization (i.e. a Certification body), which has the function of a guarantor.
The services developed by ICEC in the last few years have been now completely renewed; they are divided into two aspects which can be integrated: protection of the date of diffusion of a product and protection of the date of possession of company know how.
SERVICE OF PROTECTION OF THE DATE OF DIFFUSION (IN PUBLIC PLACES) OF THE DESIGN OF A PRODUCT
The service is performed directly in the place where the company decides to show publicly for the first time a physical sample (i.e. leather, accessory, component, leather good) with aesthetic characteristics to be protected since the date of diffusion.
The protection is for the shapes and/or the design of a product that is new and has individual character according to the EC Regulation on community designs. In this case ICEC takes a picture of the object in the first exhibition place and date; it creates a file and affixes digital signature and time mark to it. The file is safeguarded by ICEC for one year (or longer upon request) and sent to the company; it cannot be modified and can be read only by ad-hoc programmes. Furthermore ICEC produces and subscribes a declaration that attests the date and place of exhibition of the design or sample.
The service is probative and independent and attests the date of first diffusion to the public. It is not a patent or a design/sample registration and it cannot substitute the ordinary ones. It does not attest the real innovation of the product, that has to be evaluated in advance by the applicant company.
The company can use the output of the service in case of copies of its design operated by third parties.
SERVICE OF PROTECTION OF THE POSSESSION DATE OF A COMPANY SECRET (KNOW HOW)
The service aims at protecting a company secret. It can deal with a particular production process, with the use of innovative materials, with new characteristics of a service, or other aspects. To adhere to it, the company has to send an e-mail to ICEC enclosing the description of the know how to be protected, with also (if necessary) photographic documentation. ICEC creates a file and affixes digital signature and time mark to it. The file is safeguarded by ICEC for one year (or longer upon request) and sent to the company; it cannot be modified and can be read only by ad-hoc programmes. In this way the date of possession of the company secret is validated.
All the files sent to ICEC has to be signed as confidential and, in any case, it will be managed as such.
In case the applicant company decides to summon a third party for the misappropriation of the know how, or similar events, ICEC proves that, on the date of the attestation, the know how with the characteristics of the archived file existed and was in possession of the company.
For any information please contact ICEC: firstname.lastname@example.org