A Global Perspective: Do Parallel Imports Constitute Trademark Infringement?
The exhaustion of intellectual property rights is a topic of heated debate around the world. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights leaves much room for more clarity on how to handle this issue.In practice, the exhaustion of intellectual property rights is concerned mostly with parallel imports. In China, parallel imports of patented goods have been legitimized by Article 69 of the Chinese Patent Law, but there is no explicit provision covering parallel imports of trademarked goods. In practice, Chinese courts tend to avoid directly addressing the issue, as can be seen in three high-profile cases trials, i.e., the “LUX” soap, the “MICHELIN” tire and the “VICTORIA‘S SECRET” cases. This article aims to explore solutions for trademark rights holders in their fight against other importers by analyzing court cases, one of the International Trademark Association’s Board Resolutions and selected countries’ legislative practices.