back to article Court of Appeal challenges parallel import blocking

Brand owners may have less power to prevent sales in Europe of goods intended for other markets after a ruling by England's Court of Appeal this week. The judgment over the sale of Sun-branded disk drives is likely to be welcomed by independent resellers. In 2009 Sun Microsystems won the right to block the sale of 64 disk …


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Nice argument M-Tech, but...

I guess this bit from their website was updated after the court summons :

"Here at M-Tech Data we source our products from within the European Union (EU) and as such all the products we supply have the EU part number.

The integrity of our products is vital to our clients and is therefore an integral part of the service that we deliver. Due to the importance that we place on our product's integrity, we record a serial number for each and every product, which by doing so enables us to track exactly where our products have come from and where they have been shipped to.

We make it absolutely clear to each and every one of our Suppliers, that all goods supplied to M-Tech data MUST comply with the rules and regulations of the manufacturer's trademarks and import regulations to the UK, EU and EEA. We obviously also ensure that M-Tech Data only ever trade in Genuine Original and Branded Computer Parts and Systems."

I especially like that their "executive team" is comprised of one person, and that you have to down load a returns form to find out their company address.


I've always found it odd

That the first names of law lords are 'Justice'. Is it a requirement for the job?


so basically

because Oracle/Sun refuse to divulge where they first sold it, they aren't being fair, as nobody knows whether anything they import is legal or not

seems fair enough that they should have to make it clear where they first sold it if that's the rules, otherwise nobody would dare to import anything


Am I missing something?

Surely for a server (or any other electrical equipment to be sold in the EEA it must have CE approval. Therefore if Sun did not want the product sold in Europe they should not have had it CE approved.


price discrimination

Oracle (and probably many others) are abusing trademark law to allow them to engage in anti-competitive price discrimination. Quite frankly, even if M-tech lose, the law should be changed so that the doctrine of first sale applies to trade mark cases.

As the Judge comments:

"[The] practices alleged arguably have more to do with restricting imports with the object of preventing price competition within the EEA and thereby protecting Oracle's profit margins than with the proper exercise of the right to control the first marketing of Oracle equipment within the EEA,"

Thumb Up

From the summary of the decision reported in the article,

it seems clear that the court is mainly concerned to see that litigation continues, presumably to prevent unemployment among fellow lawyers. That being said, I hope the judgement (as I interpret it) stands, and the manufacturer's attempt to restrain trade is struck down. We pay far too much to them in monopoly rents, which they continually attempt to manipulate in their favour....



Grey Imports

The attitudes of many countries is to prevent sales of goods occurring outside their exclusive trading agreements within their export sales areas.

So if ABC Inc.USA appoint XYZ Ltd UK as their sole distributor in the UK for "Widgets",

That's me sunk.

ABC Inc. sells Widgets in the US for $10 a time. It sells them to XYZ Ltd for $9 a time.

By the time XYZ have put their mark up on they cost me $15 a Widget.

ABC sells also to Turkey at $8 a time.

Turkey will sell to me at $9 a time....whats the problem ?

PROTECTIONISM is the problem I think.

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