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IPR - China

Far too often we underestimate the risks involved for our know how, designs and innovations in processes and products when we exhibit the fruit of our work in foreign countries. Sectors like ours are particularly vulnerable to piracy of trademarks, designs and patents. Losses can be substantial and threaten even the livelihood of our operators. However, costs for preventing or correcting IPR infringements are not irrelevant either. There is no strategy that fits all and every operator has to assess what's best for his company.

Take the 30-minute interactive guides to gain practical information on IPR protection and enforcement

To learn more about trademarks, please visit the first in a series of E-learning modules from the Helpdesk here. The second E-learning module addresses IPR issues at trade fairs and can be found here.
Visit the following resources made available by the EU IPR Helpdesk:


Vice-President Verheugen supports COTANCE

Press Release

European Commission Vice-President Verheugen supports COTANCE in 3 key areas

The COTANCE Presidency led by President Nalle Johansson (ELMO, Sweden) met in Brussels on Friday 30 October 2009 European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen for a de-briefing session following the previous encounter of July 3.

President Johansson, Vice-Presidents Ricomard (Tanneries Roux, France) and Mercogliano (UNIC & Lineapelle, Italy) as well as COTANCE Secretary General, Mr Gonzalez-Quijano, reviewed with Mr Verheugen the development of the sector since the start of the economic crisis and the initiatives that were taken at EU level in response to the COTANCE requests for supporting the competitiveness of the European Leather Industry.


COTANCE reported an improvement in the European Leather trade & industry since the summer 2009, with orders and exports picking up again. The General Press has notably highlighted business progress in supplies to the automotive sector thanks to the support to the car industry consented by EU Governments and in the industrial cluster of Arzignano that is regaining momentum notably in exports of high quality leather for the fashion industry. Commission Vice-president Verheugen was pleased to note the resilience and reactivity of European tanners in front of the adverse economic situation and encouraged the sector to continue on the positive path.

Attendants assessed then the progress of Commission initiatives requested by the European Leather Industry for strengthening the sector’s competitiveness. Good progress could be identified in particular in three areas :


Statement on Greepeace Report

Joint Statement of the Social Partners of the European Leather Industry on the Greenpeace Report on the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest

The Social Partners of the European Leather Industry addressed in their Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee Meeting of December 15, 2009 (Brussels), the allegations made to the leather industry in general and to certain European tanneries and their customers in particular in the Greenpeace report released over Internet on the deforestation of the Amazon.

They appreciate the gravity of the problem uncovered by Greenpeace and express upfront their solidarity with the objective of preserving the environment and notably the avoidance of irresponsible harm to the Amazon rain forest. The European Social Partners dissociate themselves from any form of unsustainable generation of hides and skins notably the one highlighted in the Greenpeace report.

However, COTANCE and ETUF-TCL regret the  distorted vision with regard to the link made in the report between the issue and the leather trade & industry that has been further conveyed in the general press, amplifying the collateral damage caused to the image of the leather industry and to the reputation of the people who work in the leather value chain including  European tanners and their customers.


High-level meeting at the Commission

COTANCE meets European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen

On Friday 3rd July 2009 a delegation of the EU Leather Industry led by COTANCE President Nalle Johansson (Elmo, Sweden) met in Brussels Mr Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Industry and Enterprise policy for an open and frank exchange on the current economic situation and the outlook for the future.

The COTANCE delegation led by Mr Johansson was formed by past President and current Vice-President Jean-Claude Ricomard (Tanneries Roux, France), Vice-President Jaume Alvira (Colomer Group, Spain), Vice-President Salvatore Mercogliano (UNIC Group, Italy), Mr Peter Crack (Charles F. Stead & Co, UK) as well as Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General of COTANCE and Mrs Fulvia Bacchi (UNIC Group).


From left to right: Peter Crack, Jean-Claude Ricomard, Günter Verheugen, Nalle Johansson, Jaume Alvira and Salvatore Mercogliano

COTANCE President Johansson introduced the European leather industry stressing the importance of its value chain in terms of jobs and value added. He indicated that about 1 million jobs depend in Europe on the sector and that the EU market for leather and leather products is worth some 60 billion Euro. European Tanners are at the root of this wealth and industry leaders at global level with some 15-17% of leather sales world-wide. President Johansson commented that the tough business situation in the current economic crisis has eroded the sector’s turnover by 20-30% but clearly stated also that COTANCE was not asking for subsidies. He said that the sector is demonstrating its resilience in times of adversity and that it is not refraining efforts for issuing stronger from the current crisis. President Johansson indicated the type of support Europe’s leather industry requires from the EU for further developing the sector.


AG of COTANCE in Pompei

COTANCE meets in Pompeii 

COTANCE’s 2009 Assembly General and Council took place on June 5 in Pompeii, at the site’s “Auditorium degli Scavi”. The encounter offered  the opportunity to visit the ancient Roman tannery in the archaeological site that was recently restored thanks to UNIC (Unione Nazionale Industria Conciaria), COTANCE’s Italian member.

ancient tannery
AG 2009

Representatives of 12 national Leather Trade Associations responded to the convocation of COTANCE President, Nalle Johansson (ELMO, Sweden).
The agenda included the unprecedented crisis that is hitting the sector and the strategies that need to be adopted for its economic recovery, including recent and future European regulations, notably in the area of the protection of the environment, as well as their impact on the sector’s companies.


COTANCE Vice-President, Jean Claude Ricomard elected President of CLIMO in France

RicomardOn 25 June the Comité de Liaison des Industries de Main d'Oeuvre (CLIMO) elected a new leading team for a mandate of two years: Mr Jean-Claude Ricomard (Tanneries Roux and Vice-President of COTANCE and FFTM) was elected President and will be assisted by three Vice-Presidents, Mr Jean-Pierre Mocho, Mr Henri Griffon and Mr Michel Caron.

CLIMO intends to act more intensively in the fields of promotion of innovation and creation, increased competitiveness through lower social charges and taxes, and increased qualification of employees through a more dynamic social dialogue.

- Press release in French (communiqué en français)
- Brochure CLIMO