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German customs agents raid IFA

by Parm Mann on 29 August 2008, 17:08

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With raids at consumer trade shows becoming increasingly common, it comes as little surprise to find that approximately 220 German customs agents appeared today at one of the world's largest consumer-electronic shows, the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA).

According to reports, the agents swarmed into IFA's halls shortly after the show opened in search of patent infringements.

It is believed that German officials received complaints from patent-firm Sisvel, and armed agents consequently raided over 50 booths. Draw your memory back a few months and you'll recall similar German raids being carried out at CeBIT.

Various reports have suggested that the officials have been seen targeting Asian companies in particular, though Norbert Scheithauer, a German customs spokesperson has stated that European firms are also being closely examined.

High-tech items are believed to have been seized from the likes of Emtec, MSI, and Xoro, but the names of other accused companies haven't yet been divulged.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Very similar to what happened at CeBIT too - when someone had a player which was playing a reported stream which you should license the codec for… and it turned out it had been converted to a license free format!
Happened at IFA 2006, too! Back then the officials seized all of Sandisk's media players.
German Customs agents are hardly qualified to deal with patent infringements. Someone needs to slap some sense into them.
So back to Las Vegas for all the conventions then. :P
German Customs agents are hardly qualified to deal with patent infringements. Someone needs to slap some sense into them.
How can you say that unless you're familiar with what they were looking for, what briefing they'd been given and what German law says on specific issues.

Reports suggest that they were responding to specific complaints about specific infringements, namely illegal copies of software in certain devices. It may well be that they knew which devices were infringing, and if they found them, seized them. If, for instance, they know that the XYZ Ltd SuperDuper MP3 player has specific protected software in it illegally, then perhaps they've been instructed to seize any such items. If so, they don't need to know any more than how to identify that player.