Trade Show Competition
A small group of Sales representatives are planning a trade show at the same time as that of an established trade show.(in a differnt location within the same city) In the flyer advertising the small groups trade show the statement ''in conjunction with another area show'' was used. The established trade show has asked the Small group to cancel its trade show because the established show owner feels that it is infringing on his show. Does the Established show owner have any viable legal recourse if the small group doesn't cancel its show? The established show owner has submitted a non compete contract for the small group to sign. This is because some lines would be represented at both shows. If the Small group agrees to sign the non compete agreement, the established show owner would allow the show to continue without taking legal action. The non compete agreement is very restictive as to posssible future shows. Is such an agreement legally binding for the future?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Trade Show Competition
You have identified at least three separate issues. In general principle, a related, competing trade show can't be barred as "infringing". Competition is allowed. Second issue, the "in conjunction with" statement. If the reference is to the other trade show, and the two shows aren't in conjunction with one another, it would probably be fair for trade show #1 to require trade show #2 not to use that statement in its publicity materials. Issue no. 3, the noncompete. The competing trade shows can agree on whatever they wish. The question for trade show #2 is whether they want so sign the deal, and if they refuse, can they afford to defend a claim if it is brought. Other than the statement on the flier, however, I am having difficulty discerning what legitimate claim trade show #1 can assert against #2. It could simply be a bluff to prevent future competing shows. Competing is not necessarily infringing.
As always, there are undoubtedly other facts that may influence this analysis. If you are looking for a consultation to get a more detailed answer, do not hesitate to get in touch.
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