Parallel Import (Grey Market)

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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, and intellectual property.

The practice of parallel importing is often advocated in the case of software, music, printed texts and electronic products, and occurs for several reasons:

1. Different versions of a product are produced for sale in different markets. E.g.: Top Gear Magazine (UK Edition) is officially sold in UK and Top Gear Magazine (Australian Edition) is officially sold in Australia. However some unofficial distributors in Australia also sell Top Gear Magazine (UK Edition). 2. Companies, either the manufacturer or the distributor, set different price points for their products in different markets. 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. 3. Consumers who are able to obtain more competitively priced items, and can choose to avoid local sales taxes which may not be regarded as entirely appropriate, are placed on an even footing with consumers who have less access to overseas sales online.[1] 4. Some advocacy groups support parallel importing on the grounds of enhancing the free flow of information.[2]

Other legal theories, aside from trademark infringement, may provide means to prevent parallel imports.

A. Customs laws
B. False Advertising
C. Passing Off
D. Unfair Competition
E. Trade Descriptions Act/Fair Trade Act
F. Other intellectual property rights
G. Violation of contractual obligations
H. Breach of regulatory provisions
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