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    Alarm Over Knockoffs Runs High in Milan

    The "Be Original" campaign includes the Lounge chair and Ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra, 1956. Photo courtesy of Hearst Corporation.

    Drawing attention to what seems to be an epidemic of counterfeits and knockoffs that has invaded the furnishings market, fair organizer Cosmit has introduced intellectual and industrial property regulations for all exhibitors at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual extravaganza that attracts over 300,000 visitors.

    These rules were drawn up by INDICAM, the Italian commission that oversees the prosecution of counterfeit goods. All exhibitors at Salone will receive copies of the regulations, which stress these companies’ own obligation to respect industrial property and intellectual rights.

    Cosmit, promising strict enforcement, will provide an information, assessment and governance service to police potential violations, using a panel of experts to assess and take action against potential or actual infractions. Offenders will be ordered to remove the goods in question, and exhibitors have been warned that they may be asked to withdraw any items where rights violation prior to the fair has occurred.

    Beyond the fair itself, Elle Décor Italia has embarked on an aggressive campaign against fakes of all kinds, called “Be Original.” Besides publishing an ongoing series of articles, the magazine has collaborated with leading manufacturers to take over the windows of La Rinascente, Milan’s foremost department store, filling it with displays of iconic pieces from such industry heavyweights as Alessi, B&B Italia, Cassina, Flaminia, Flos, Kartell, Knoll and Vitra.

    Attendees can judge for themselves whether these efforts will have a visual impact on the quality and innovation of displayed work in Milan from April 9 to April 14.