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‘Stephen Welfare reports from Spring Fair NEC’
I am back at Birmingham NEC once again for the International Spring Fair. I think this is my 17th year at the event and whilst I do now know my way around the halls of the NEC, I still seem to get lost driving around the Birmingham ring road?
On Sunday I resumed my advisory role on the stand of the British Jewellers Association for whom Royds operate the intellectual property protection service, ‘COPYWATCH’. It was a lively start to the show with plenty of enquiries to field on a range of issues. Jewellery has its own designated show within Spring Fair and this year extra effort appears to have been made by the event organisers and the exhibitors to create a vibrant and really rather exciting event.
At the heart of this is the Pandorra Catwalk Café, which together with catwalk shows in the fashion accessories hall have created a touch of chic this year. Still popular with buyers are charms and bead jewellery, with Chamilia and P Kennedy / Truth giving Pandorra good competition. On Monday the BJA Award 2011 went to Dark Horse (non precious) and to Burkmar (precious metal).
As well as being on site to provide advice Royds Solicitors are also able to provide representation at the event if any infringement of intellectual property rights occur. The number of incidents of infringement across the Spring Fair has been significantly down on previous years, which prompts the question has plagiarism been beaten?
The war on design theft is far from over, but greater IP awareness through initiatives such as PIPR® and effective action by COPYWATCH have undoubtedly contributed to the reductions noted.
On the social scene the invitation only party for The Jewellery Show at the Jam House, Birmingham was the place to be. The good, bad and beautiful of UK jewellery were seen having a jolly good time. Heaven knows how exhibitors and visitors, who have been on their feet all day hiking around the vast NEC, find the energy to go dancing? My thanks to John Stewart Jewellers, Mancini and Hockley Mint Limited for all their hospitality.
Back in the giftware halls business appeared to be good with confidence returning. Royds clients, Bomb Cosmetics, Richard Lang & Son, Instant Gifts International and East of India all reported that they had enjoyed a busy 2010, despite the recession. The Spring Fair is the UK’s biggest retail trade event with 300,000 new product launches from around 3,000 exhibitors spread over 15 halls. My feet are killing me. I will be pleased to return to my desk and chair!
9 February 2011