Objectives of the IGI Arbitration Committee
Since January 2003, IGI has included an Arbitration Committee as part of its organisational structure. The Arbitration Committee will preside over intellectual property issues.
The purpose of the IGI Arbitration Committee will be:
– to promote awareness of use of IGI arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution as an expeditious and economical means of settling intellectual property disputes
– to provide IGI members with a way to preside over issues affecting the wallcovering industry while avoiding lengthy and expensive time in court over disputes
IGI has put in place a code of conduct for the prevention of illegal copying of designs in the wallcovering industry. As per the IGI Member Code of Conduct , signed by all IGI members upon acceptance into the association, the IGI Members, wallcovering, vinyl or textile wallcovering manufacturers undertake mutually not to copy the designs of any other industry stakeholder by infraction of existing copyright or by any other unfair means.
The decisions made by the IGI Arbitration Committee will be recommendations only and will not be legally binding. IGI will be excluded from any legal responsibility for the decisions made by the Arbitration Committee. Therefore, should parties involved in the IGI Arbitration Committee process contest its decision, they are free to pursue legal proceedings in settling their dispute.
Arbitration Committee Structure
The Arbitration Committee is composed of three members including: the President of the Executive Committee, the Chair of the Marketing Committee and the Chair of the Technical Committee for as long as they hold their term in the respective Committee. The IGI Secretariat will also be part of the Committee structure as a silent observer and recorder of the Committee activities. The IGI Secretariat will not retain any voting rights on the Committee.
– Should the President or Chairs not wish to participate in the IGI Arbitration Committee, it is their responsibility to select a replacement from their respective Committee.
– Should one or more of the Arbitration Committee members be directly involved in a dispute, they will be unable to participate in the arbitration process. In this event, the Arbitration Committee must select a Deputy or Deputies to take their place, uniquely for this case.
The IGI Arbitration Committee will also contain a fourth Committee member in the form of a Deputy. All IGI Members are eligible for the position of IGI Arbitration Committee Deputy. The Deputy will be informed of Arbitration Committee processes and decisions but will only be called upon to arbitrate a dispute should one of the other Committee members be unable to arbitrate a case due to a conflict of interest.
The IGI Arbitration Committee will preside over disputes as a service provided free of charge to parties involved in the case applicable to both IGI members and non-members.
Arbitration Committee Rules and Procedures
The IGI Executive Committee President will act as Chairman of the Arbitration Committee. It is the Arbitration Committee Chairman’s task to convene meetings when he/she receives requests for arbitration.
The plaintiff party refers the matter for dispute to the Chairman and notifies the case at the same time to the defendant as well as the IGI Secretariat.
The Chairman convokes the members of the Arbitration Committee at least 21 days before the meetings. He/She also convokes the two parties via letter within the same time limit. He/She asks the defendant to explain its point of view in writing within a fixed time limit. The defendant will also have to notify its standpoint to the plaintiff.
Individuals involved in a dispute will be asked to present their evidence at a regularly scheduled IGI Arbitration Committee meeting. The IGI Arbitration Committee will review the evidence and make a decision at that time.
Should a dispute needs to be considered urgently, i.e. before a regularly scheduled IGI Arbitration Committee meeting, parties involved in the dispute are asked to send the three Committee representatives evidence in the dispute. The IGI Arbitration Committee will then arrange a tele-conference to discuss the dispute and to swiftly make a decision if necessary.
Before the meeting, the Chairman asks for the complete file relating to the dispute. He has the right to ask for technical advice from the Technical Committee in order to have a clear insight into the problem and the liabilities concerned.
At the oral hearing, the plaintiff is first to be heard. He/She will have to give all the necessary details asked for by the Arbitration Committee. Then the defendant is to be heard. Each party has the right to be assisted or represented by a legal consultant. In the latter case, the legal consultants are also to be heard.
If the plaintiff or defendant or a legal consultant is not present, although having been convoked, the Arbitration Committee reserves the right to make decisions.
Either of both parties can make proposals to the Arbitration Committee to settle the dispute. The task of the Chairman is to conduct the negotiations. If parties waive these, they will not take place.
If the Arbitration Committee concludes that there has been an infringement of the engagement of the agreement and if the parties have not reached an agreement on the settlement of the dispute, it can make an award based on the content of the deed.
The Arbitration Committee decides by simple majority of votes.
Each decision taken by the Arbitration Committee will be minuted by the IGI Secretariat and signed by all members of the Committee and provided with arguments supporting the decision. A copy will be sent to each party.
The decisions, which can be taken by the Arbitration Committee, are the following:
– a warning or a blame
– withdrawal of the copy from the market