Champion Computers Wins Parallel Importation Case against Samsung

A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has ruled that parallel importation is authorized under Indian trademark laws and does not infringe the trademark of the rights-holder.

In an appeal filed by Kapil Wadhwa, Director of Champion Computers, the Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Siddharth Mridul overruled the findings of a Single Judge, who had held in February 2012 that all imports of trademarked goods into India had to take place through the authorized distribution chain of the trademark-holder Samsung Electronics Ltd. or with their permission, failing which imports would amount to infringement under the trademark law.

 The suit was initially brought by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and its Indian subsidiary Samsung India last year, under which it was claimed that Delhi-based Champion Computers was unauthorisedly selling Samsung printers imported directly from foreign markets into India.  The Single Judge had held Champion Computers guilty of trademark violation. In an immediate cascading effect in the market, Dell, another major IT brand owner had filed suits against parallel importers, issued nation-wide alerts and attempted to stop imports.

 In its detailed judgement, the Division Bench observed that the learned Single Judge had followed an “erroneous approach” to conclude that import of goods into India needed the consent of the registered trade mark owner. The Bench opined that “Trade Mark Law is not to regulate the sale and purchase of goods. It is to control the use of registered trade marks.”

  The All Delhi Computer Traders’ Association (ADCTA) President Mahinder Aggarwal said, “This is a landmark judgement as it lends legitimacy to the whole concept of parallel imports – an area which provides employment to many thousands and is the backbone of many SME businesses. Several parallel importers incurred financial loss, damage to reputation and mental agony due to restrictive trade practices of Samsung India and Dell India.”

5-Oct-2012 16:44:12