back to article Distie bosses tuck 7-figure settlement into Cisco's top pocket

The bosses of a now defunct distributor have coughed a seven-figure settlement to Cisco after admitting they violated trademark laws by importing kit from outside the European Economic Area. Alan Gould and Kelley Stewart, former sole directors and equal shareholders at Manchester-based Gen-X, accepted a High Court injunction …

  1. Ol' Grumpy

    Probably just me but limiting imports - especially if due tax is paid - seems to be almost protectionist?

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      All about price fixing.

      Before post brexit sterling crash, when quid was worth a lot m,ore than a dollar, you so often got the pricing being US dollar price is UK sterling price.

      A big juicy markup.

      If someone imported US kit into UK, even after shipping, import duties & tax, the cost would be a lot less and so would undercut the price fixing companies.... without even getting into the huge savings of importing kit from country of manufacture, as seen by the "no name" Chinese good spec phones you can get very cheap if you take a risk on alibaba or similar sites

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Before post brexit sterling crash, when quid was worth a lot m,ore than a dollar,

        Before the referendum (Brexit hasn't happened yet) it was at $1.47. It was back at $1.43 in April this year. The small drop to $1.35 since then is more related to other world issues than to Brexit.

      2. K Silver badge
        Holmes

        We are Cisco, and you will capitulate.... b*tch

        Fact is, I think should we able to import anything as long as the device does not break any criminal laws. Any company that is setting a price, rather than allowing "markets" to do their job, is nothing more than price fixing - Which AFAIK is illegal and really should be investigated by the CMA!

        Just my take on it... but then again, I've always avoided Cisco and their ilk, purely for this type of reason... they remind me of the Borg - "We are Cisco, and you will assimilate capitulate!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We are Cisco, and you will capitulate.... b*tch

          Dear oh dear. This is the EU. What you think is right and wrong simply doesn't come into it. That has already been decided for you by French and German civil servants,

          1. PeterGriffin

            Re: We are Cisco, and you will capitulate.... b*tch

            Why do you think that is? Perhaps because the German and French governments take it seriously and engage rather than blithely and deliberately insinuating it's out of their hands. The British government had at every step the opportunity to engage and steer the outcome of European decisions but those entrusted with that task, like that Fuckwit Farage, didn't bother. Don't be angry at the countries that use their partnership in the EU to grow their economy. Be angry at our government for not trying.

        2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

          Re: We are Cisco, and you will capitulate.... b*tch

          Worse - " the pair have given undertakings about future trading that extends to their relatives" Does the law allow one person to undertake to restrict a third party's activity? Could be that they are not allowed to coerce a third party, but it sounds as though the third party is being punished.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Before post brexit sterling crash, when quid was worth a lot m,ore than a dollar, you so often got the pricing being US dollar price is UK sterling price."

        A while before that (back when UKP1 = USD2) you'd frequently find UKP pricing being double the USD price - and that's a tradition some vendors attempt to continue.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Probably just me but limiting imports - especially if due tax is paid - seems to be almost protectionist?"

      - Welcome to the EU my son, welcome to the EU.

  2. xanda
    Unhappy

    The cartel needs busting...

    Quote: The problem, vendors have told us in the past, is that counterfeit gear can be brought into the EEA along with kit that is not authorised to be sold here...

    The problem really is that the vendors have carved the world into regions so as to over-milk and sell-short various portions of it wherever they can. In the main, there's no real reason anymore for vendors to maintain the plethora of product options which serve no real purpose other than to sustain this model; worldwide warranties & support ought to be the implied norm now as a result.

    Since at least the days of the advent of DVD, vendors have been overtly guilty of rigging the market against all senses of fair and free trade. The notion of vendors 'authorising stuff in certain markets' is largely defunct and ought to be abandoned for the stitch-up it really is.

    Until then, counterfeit goods are always going to be a problem: as vendors work to maintain the status quo grey markets to will continue to exist, along with the resultant vendor/customer dissatisfaction.

  3. The Oncoming Scorn
    Big Brother

    This Has Happened Before

    No one here remembers Dicky Dirts in the 70/80's, importing jeans from the US, with large ads in the papers every week outlining their goals & selling them well below the cost of "UK" pricing as a grey importer?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a cartel allright

    All the big boys are into it and will go to any lengths to maintain their dominance.

    I refer to the DVD regional restrictions, which the Chinese firmly busted by selling millions of unlocked DVD players (and cheaply too) Thanks a milllion China.

    Now how abut selling networking gear brandes "CHISCO" ? lets see what happens then.

    Surely a third world war in the offing, with Trump doing the pimping for these corporations.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Nobody that sells any sort of tech hardware should be in any doubt about the regulations governing imports." Well said by El Reg. Seems the posters didn't really absorb that bit like they really should.

    Whether you like it or not, the established law is clear. If you are in the EU, it is legal to gray market within the EU, it is even legal to gray market outside of the EU, but - and get this - it's illegal to import gray marketed material into the EU.

    This has nothing to do with Trump, cartels, price fixing, Ciscoborg or whatever. Everyone in the channel just needs to get as much legal knowledge as El Reg and they'll be fine ....... can't believe I wrote that .....

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      "..."Nobody that sells any sort of tech hardware should be in any doubt about the regulations governing imports." Well said by El Reg. Seems the posters didn't really absorb that bit like they really should.

      Whether you like it or not, the established law is clear. If you are in the EU, it is legal to gray market within the EU, it is even legal to gray market outside of the EU, but - and get this - it's illegal to import gray marketed material into the EU.

      This has nothing to do with Trump, cartels, price fixing, Ciscoborg or whatever. Everyone in the channel just needs to get as much legal knowledge as El Reg and they'll be fine ....... can't believe I wrote that ........"

      You are, of course, right. But you have to wonder why it's illegal? And presumable, it is because the corporations you've listed have lobbied to make it so.

      These are the very same companies that claim they want open global trade with no barriers...sure...as long as it's only open enough to ensure they can charge much greater prices in one area than another.

      Don't get me wrong - market forces, etc etc and all that but if a company wants to be a global entity, then people should be free to move their products around... globally.

      1. Nano nano

        cutting

        But say it costs an extra $5 to prevent the device from catching fire, and the EU says "product must not catch fire", then you don't really want the cheaper version from outside the EU ...

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: cutting

          "...But say it costs an extra $5 to prevent the device from catching fire, and the EU says "product must not catch fire", then you don't really want the cheaper version from outside the EU ....."

          That's a relevant point.

          I've mentioned before that I scuba dive on a rebreather. My particular one is made by a company called JJ.

          In Europe you have to buy the CE version. Outside of Europe you can buy the non-CE version.

          On the face of it they look identical. But the CE version, for example, has to comply to certain criteria such as the "work of breath" - how hard it is to breathe on the unit at various depths, in various positions.

          But also, the CE version won't allow you to build the unit up incorrectly - the gas in a rebreather is in a closed loop and never leaves said loop. In order to keep you breathing, the unit analyses the oxygen content and tops it up as required, as well as scrubbing out the waste CO2.

          On the non-CE units, there's nothing to stop you connecting the breathing loop on backwards*. This would lead to a build up of CO2 and hpoxia. It's bad.

          The non CE units are considerably cheaper as they never have to be put through the same destructive tests that CE calls for (5 units, I believe, are all tested all the way to destruction).

          In Europe at least, you can't buy one from the manufacturer unless you can prove you are trained on the unit - this may also be true outside of Europe but I am not sure.

          *This may have changed since I got mine, but certainly was always the case.

          So...I guess to contradict my own earlier posting, you are right to say that sometimes all is not actually equal, globally.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: cutting

            "In Europe you have to buy the CE version. Outside of Europe you can buy the non-CE version."

            That has a lot to do with CE being a European standard. It's also a self-certified standard, with all that entails.

            I'd be far more trusting of something certified by Underwriters Laboratories, because they are independent testers.

      2. oldsteel

        I once worked for a global company buying IBM mainframes, yes OK this was while back but it shows how little has changed. We wanted the mainframe installed in the UK so IBM said it will cost us around 20% more than the same machine installed in our USA office. So - we said to IBM - we want the same deal. IBM say 'we don't do global purchasing deals - you are buying from IBM UK so you pay UK prices'. OK we say, we will buy machine in USA and ship it across. IBM UK say they wont support it. And so it goes on, a stitch up driven by market dominance and profiteering. They are all at it, its about time the EU made it illegal - oh wait though ....

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