With the globalisation of commerce and the ability to set up a dot.com business over night, more and more businesses are turning to the internet to source products, often to save money. A parallel import is the importation of goods (that are protected by a patent or trade mark) from the country where the rights owner has already introduced the goods - meaning that the rights have been exhausted.
Owners of products covered by intellectual property rights have the exclusive right to put such products on the market. On the other hand, there is little doubt that once the owner of an intellectual property right has put such goods on the market either himself or with his consent, there is little he can do about further acts of commercial exploitation, such as re-sale, for example, on the domestic market.
If products sold or imported by third parties fall within the scope of patents, trademarks or copyrights valid in this particular country, such sale or importation by third parties is generally deemed infringing.
If you require advice concerning parallel imports, we can help. Our IP team has years of experience and are on hand to help you.