Seeking clarity on rules governing ‘parallel imports’, Korean major Samsung Electronics and its Indian subsidiary, Samsung India, on Friday moved the SC against the Delhi High Court order that authorised such imports under Indian trademark laws.
Holding that the ‘international exhaustion principle’ applied to the trademark law, last year the HC had allowed Delhi-based Champion Computers to import and sell in India Samsung printers, ink cartridges and toners bearing the trademark Samsung.
Parallel import stands for import of legitimate non-counterfeit products from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner, under a mandate by domestic law.
The HC had ruled that import of goods bearing a registered trademark into India and further sale without any “authorisation” from the registered proprietor was permissible under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The applicability of international exhaustion implies that import of genuine goods from abroad and their sale in India will not infringe upon the trademark of the registered trademark holder of the same goods in India.
A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir has sought reply from Champion Computers as to why such parallel imports should be allowed.
Samsung Electronics had alleged that the computer firm was infringing upon its registered trade mark.
The electronic goods giant argued that Champion Computers was purchasing, directly from the foreign market, printers manufactured and sold by Samsung and selling the product under the trademark of Samsung without its consent.
Samsung had alleged this might hurt the Indian consumer, who might be paying less for the printers in question, but is misled to believe that he is purchasing an authorised Samsung product.