German Customs Agents Raid IFA Exhibitors

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2008-08-31

This is the story of 170 televisions, 140 MP3 music players, 21 mobile phones and 57 DVD recorders. Those were the numbers carried in a Reuters report detailing the equipment seized during the ongoing IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. I don't think you are going to see an IFA press release on this one.

The Reuters report names Hyundai as one of the companies targeted. According to the report the agents carried off a wallfull of flat panel televisions from the big trade fair leaving dangling wires and puzzled fairgoers in the wake.

I was at the trade fair that day as part of a U.S. journalist contingent and didn't see the raids and there was no mention of the ongoing activity in the press room or dinner afterwards.

So what is the story behind the story? Certainly the German business community recognizes the importance of intellectual property and the courts and government agencies are ready to step up and protect those rights. I also doubt very much that the execs pulling booth duty at IFA had any idea what was coming their way or how to respond. At the big IFA gala dinner held earlier in the week, fair executives and government officials from Angela Merkel on down were touting the importance of the fair and the need to build the consumer electronics industry in Germany. Getting your displays ripped off the wall and being carted away is not a good way to build exhibitor goodwill. I'm guessing this could have been handled a lot better all around.

Here is a link to the Reuters story on the IFA raidThe CNET story is bare bones on the raid but the comments are interesting..The British TechRadar story compares this raid to others that took place at the CeBit trade show.

Rocket Fuel