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Encyclopedia > Parallel import

A parallel import is a non-counterfeit product imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner. Parallel imports are often referred to as grey product, and are implicated in issues of international trade, HIV/AIDS management, and intellectual property. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Counterfeit (disambiguation). ... For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... International trade is the exchange of goods and services across international boundaries or territories. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film). ...

Parallel importers ordinarily purchase products in one country at a price (P1) which is cheaper than the price at which they are sold in a second country (P2), import the products into the second country, and sell the products in that country at a price which is usually between P1 and P2. See arbitrage. In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price differential between two or more markets: a combination of matching deals are struck that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices. ...



Hong Kong

Importation of Colgate toothpaste from Thailand into Hong Kong. The goods are bought in markets where the price is lower, and sold in markets where the price of the same goods is, for a variety of reasons, higher. Colgate redirects here. ... Modern toothpaste gel Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used to clean and improve the aesthetic appearance and health of teeth. ...

New Zealand

The practice of luxury car dealers in New Zealand buying Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Malaysia at a low price, and importing the cars into New Zealand to sell at a price the same as or lower than the price offered by Mercedes Benz to New Zealand consumers. There are also many parallel import dealers of electronics hardware. Karl Benzs Velo (vélo means bicycle in French) model (1894) - entered into the first automobile race 2005 MINI Cooper S. An automobile (also motor car or simply car) is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. ... This page is about the Mercedes-Benz brand of automobiles and trucks from the DaimlerChrysler automobile manufacturer. ... The Trikke is a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) This article is about the means of transport. ...

United States

The United States has unique automobile design legislation. Certain car makers find the required modifications too expensive. This creates demand for grey import vehicles, where certain models are modified for individual customers to meet these requirements, at a higher expense than if this were done by the original manufacturer on an assembly line. This procedure interferes with the marketing scheme of the manufacturer, who might plan to import a less powerful car and force consumers to accept it. This happened in 1981 with the Mercedes-Benz W126. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, often pronounced nit-suh) is a U.S. Government agency, part of the Department of Transportation, responsible for setting safety standards and verifying compliance by automobile manufacturers. ... Opel Vectra, imported from Republic of Ireland and registered in Northern Ireland. ... Modern car assembly line. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Look up marketing in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Scheme can refer to: The Scheme programming language. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For a complete overview of all S-Class models see Mercedes-Benz S-Class. ...

United Kingdom

The importation of Sony PSP video game consoles in to the EEA (European Economic Area) from Japan up to twelve months prior to the European launch. The unusual component of this example is that some importers were selling the console for a higher price than the intended EU price. The finished PlayStation Portable, and a variety of accessories. ...  EFTA countries (except Switzerland)  EU countries Together these form the EEA. The European Economic Area (EEA) came into being on January 1, 1994 following an agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Union (EU). ...

International approach

Parallel importing is regulated differently in different jurisdictions; there is no consistency in laws dealing with parallel imports between countries. Neither the Berne Convention nor the Paris Convention explicitly prohibit parallel importation. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, sometimes called the Berne Union or Berne Convention, adopted at Berne in 1986, first established the recognition of copyrights between sovereign nations. ... The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris, France, on March 20, 1883, is an important and one of the first intellectual property treaties. ...


In Germany, the Bundesgerichtshof has held that the doctrine of international exhaustion governs parallel importation. The European Union allows the doctrine of international exhaustion to exist between member states, but not outside the EU. The Bundesgerichtshof or BGH (German for federal court) is the highest Germany for civil and criminal lawsuits. ... Exhaustion of rights, or the doctrine of exhaustion, is a concept in intellectual property law whereby an intellectual property owner will lose or exhaust certain rights after the first use of the subject matter which is the subject of intellectual property rights. ...

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, parallel importation is permitted under both, the Trade Mark and (amended) Copyright Ordinance. The Bass Red Triangle, was the first trademark registered in Britain in 1876. ... Articles with similar titles include copywrite. ...


Japan's intellectual property rights law prohibits audiovisual articles marketed for export from being sold domestically, and such sale of "re-imported" CDs are illegal.

United States

In the United States, parallel importation is prohibited,[citation needed] and the United States Trade Representative lobbies other governments to prevent parallel importation in their respective jurisdictions.

Parallel imported foodstuff etc.

Markets for parallel-imports and locally made products sometimes exist alongside each other even though the parallel-imports are markedly more expensive. This may be for various reasons, but is mostly observed in foodstuff and toiletry.

Due to the nature of hotels, travellers often have little information on where to shop except in the immediate vicinity. Grocery shops opened to serve brand-name hotels often feature parallel-imported foodstuff and toiletry to cater to travellers so that they can easily recognise the product they have been using at home. Dariush Grand Hotel,Kish island, Iran The 4-star Manor House Hotel at Castle Combe, Wiltshire, England. ...

Foodstuff and toiletry made from different plants may vary in quality because different plants may use materials or reagents (such as water used for washing, food additives) from different sources, although they are usually subject to the same standards by internal QC or public health authorities. A person may be allergic to the foodstuff or toiletry made by some plants but not others.

To sum up, the major reasons for such a market are:

  • Lack of information
  • Recognisability
  • Avoidance of risk due to products by different plants


A manifestation of the philosophical divide between those who support intellectual property and those who are critical of it, is the divide over the legitimacy of parallel importation. Some believe that it benefits consumers by lowering prices and widening the selection and consumption of products available in the market, while others believe that it discourages intellectual property owners from investing in new and innovative products. Some also believe that parallel imports tend to facilitate copyright infringement and software piracy. Consumers refers to individuals or households that purchase and use goods and services generated within the economy. ... Look up Market in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Innovation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The copyright infringement of software refers to several practices when done without the permission of the copyright holder: Creating a copy and/or selling it. ...

This tension essentially concerns the rights and duties of a protected monopoly. Intellectual property rights allow the holder to sell at a price that is higher than the price one would pay in a competitive market, but by doing so the holder relinquishes sales to those who would be prepared to buy at a price between the monopoly price and the competitive price. The presence of parallel imports in the marketplace prevents the holder from exploiting the monopoly further by market segmentation, ie. by applying different prices to different consumers. A right is the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled or a thing to which one has a just claim. ... Duty is a term loosely appliedDuty to any action (or course of action) whichDutyDuty is regarded as morally incumbent, apart from personal likes and dislikes or any external compulsion. ... A monopoly (from the Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service, in other words a firm that has no competitors in its industry. ... Competition is the act of striving against another force for the purpose of achieving dominance or attaining a reward or goal, or out of a biological imperative such as survival. ... Market segmentation is the process of grouping a market into smaller subgroups. ...

Consumer organisations tend to support parallel importation as it offers consumers more choice and lower prices, provided that consumers retain equivalent legal protection to locally sourced products (eg. in the form of warranties with international effect), and competition is not diminished. Consumer organizations are organizations that seek to protect people from corporate abuse. ... Choice consists of the mental process of thinking involved with the process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them for action. ... In commercial and consumer transactions, a warranty is an obligation that an article or service sold is as factually stated or legally implied by the seller, and that often provides for a specific remedy such as repair or replacement in the event the article or service fails to meet the... Competition is the act of striving against another force for the purpose of achieving dominance or attaining a reward or goal, or out of a biological imperative such as survival. ...

However, such organisations also warn consumers of certain risks in using parallel-imported products. Although the products may have been made to comply with the laws and customs of their place of origin, these products or their use may not comply with those in places where they are used, or some of their functions may be rendered unusable or meaningless (which may needlessly drive up prices). Electronic devices, however, suffer less from this type of risk because newer models support more than one user language.

See also



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