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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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what are the criminal sanctions that apply to import of branded

Customer Question

what are the criminal sanctions that apply to import of branded goods without the brand owners consent (parallel importation) from outside the EEA into the UK ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Are you importing these goods from a authorised distributor of the brand?

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

I am purchasing the goods from an unauthorised reseller, but am collecting the goods from an authorised distributor who is his supplier.

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. There is no criminal sanction from this. You are not selling fake goods, all you are potentially doing is breaching exclusive distribution agreements. It will be your supplier and distributor that gets sued.

Alex J. :

In all likelihood if you sell these goods you might be asked to stop, or for example amazon and ebay may pull listings but this is not a criminal offence.

Alex J. :

Do the goods say anywhere not authorised for resale?

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

no they do not, however there is an EEA directive (DIRECTIVE 2001/29/EC) prohibiting import from outside of the EEA of branded goods without the express consent of the brand owner. I know that in some jurisdictions there are criminal sanctions that apply, including jail terms, however am not sure of the situation in the U.K.

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you - I am just reviewing this directive I will be about half an hour - I am not sure this is applicable as it relates to copyright not trade mark. I am just reviewing it now. Kind regards AJ

Alex J. :

Hi can you tell me a little bit more about what you are importing? Is it a registered Trade Mark?

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

it is computers, which would carry a trademark

Alex J. :

Thank you. The risk you run is that as you are not an authorised seller of these products, the manufacturer may not honour any warranty that comes with the product. Your customers are then likely to take issue with you about this.

Alex J. :

How will you advertise these products? Will you sell them as "new"?

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

no, they are sold as parallel imports with no local warranty.

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

i am really wanting to know what the UK provisions are that express the principles laid out in the EEA directive. Thos provisions should advise on the criminal sanctions, if any, that apply

Alex J. :

Thank you. ***** you have quoted does not cover grey goods. Are the goods already sold through official channels in the UK?

JACUSTOMER-z3be5d7n- :

yes

Alex J. :

I cannot see how the directive you have described applies to the sale of trade marked grey goods.

Alex J. :

I think parallel importing goods will cause you all sorts of consumer related and potentially civil claims and problems, I cannot that being unauthorised re seller is a criminal offence.

Alex J. :

You are acquiring official goods from an unofficial channel. It will be up to the brand owner to police you.

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