Vegas Trade Show Accused of Cheating

LAS VEGAS (CN) – Organizers of the annual InfoComm audiovisual trade show knowingly encourage trademark violations and protect direct infringers, the makers of the widely used HDMI cable claim in Federal Court.
     HDMI Licensing accuses trade show promoter InfoComm International of “intentional and unlawful conduct in not only providing material and substantial support to direct infringers of HDMI’s famous trademarks at InfoComm’s trade shows despite knowledge and actual notice of their specific infringement but even taking affirmative steps to protect and shield those same direct-infringers from any direct liability for their unlawful conduct.”
     HDMI Licensing says InfoComm International promotes its InfoComm trade show as the “‘largest annual conference and exhibition for AV buyers and sellers worldwide.'”
     During the InfoComm trade shows, HDMI Licensing says, it found several Chinese companies that infringed on its trademark, including Aoto Electronics, Beijing Tricolor Technology, HK Hi-Tech Electronics, Jiangsoo Tsingtoo Technology, Nanjing Doublestar Electronic Technology and others.
     HDMI Licensing is a subsidiary of Silicon Image, which the company describes as a “worldwide leader in connectivity technology” that “develops technologies and industry standards for the transmission and display of high-definition content across a wide array of devices.”
     HDMI claims that Silicon Image more than 10 years ago collaborated with Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Technicolor and Toshiba to invent the HDMI cable.
     HDMI Licensing describes its cable as a “groundbreaking technology” allowing users to connect high-definition sources, such as a digital video recorder, to high-definition monitors, projectors and other audiovisual equipment by using a single cable.
     Without the cable, HDMI Licensing says, users would have to use several cables, causing “a lot of clutter and less than stellar image quality; in other words, a much poorer user experience.”
     HDMI Licensing owns the HDMI and high-definition multimedia interface marks registered in 2007 and 2008, which the company says “protects consumers against confusion, frustration and economic loss from untested products from unlicensed manufacturers.”
     The company says it first attended the InfoComm trade show in 2012 to identify direct infringers of its marks and “to attempt to team up with InfoComm to help them ensure that intellectual property was respected at their trade show and that InfoComm had a policy and procedure in place for intellectual property rights-holders to address infringement occurring at their trade show.”
     HDMI Licensing says it found 80 direct infringers of its mark during the 2012 trade show, including nine companies that had refused to honor HDMI Licensing’s intellectual property rights.
     The company says it found another 50 direct-infringers during the 2013 InfoComm trade show, including five repeat offenders, and another 57 direct infringers during the 2014 trade show.
     Although InfoComm officials had been no help in protecting intellectual property rights, HDMI Licensing says it initially “did not believe InfoComm actively supported direct infringement at its trade shows.” But a cease-and-desist letter from an InfoComm attorney dated June 2, 2014, proved otherwise.
     The letter confirmed that InfoComm had full control of the event and exhibitors and informed HDMI Licensing it was banned from entering the trade show, even if invited by an exhibitor. If HDMI Licensing attended the event even as a visitor, the attorney’s letter says, InfoComm would “‘enforce its right to have you ejected and prosecuted as a trespasser.'”
     HDMI Licensing says “InfoComm’s conduct constitutes contributory trademark dilution in violation of the Lanham Act” and that “InfoComm has made and will continue to make substantial profits and gains to which they are not in law or equity entitled” while “causing immediate and irreparable injury” to the HDMI brand.
     HDMI Licensing seeks damages for contributory federal trademark infringement, counterfeiting, dilution and unfair competition.
     It is represented by John L. Krieger and Gordon Silver.

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