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No longer a grey area: parallel imports criminal as well as unlawful

Overview

A Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that the sale of so-called ‘grey goods' can constitute a criminal offence under section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (the Act).

Background
In R v C and others [2016] EWCA Crim 1617, the appellants' business involved the sale of clothing and shoes bearing the registered trade marks of brands such as Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Fred Perry, Jack Wills and Under Armour. Some of the goods in question were genuine; at some time in their history, they had been manufactured by or with the authority of the trade mark owners. However, the brand owners had not authorised their importation and resale into European Union.