Parallel imports of genuine goods (NEONERO case)

The IP High Court denied trademark infringement based on a parallel import defense of genuine goods.

In Japan, under the current practice, parallel imports of genuine goods do not constitute infringement of a trademark if such imports satisfy three requirements.

1. The trademark on the parallel import goods was duly affixed thereto by the trademark owner in the exporting country or a licensee thereof;
2. The trademark owners in the exporting country and in Japan are the same party, or may legally or financially deemed to be the same party, such that the trademark on the parallel import goods is deemed to indicate the same origin of goods as the origin indicated by the registered trademark in Japan (i.e., no damage on the origin indication function of the trademark); and
3. The parallel import goods and products bearing the registered trademark affixed by the trademark owner in Japan are not deemed to substantially differ in the quality guaranteed by the trademark (i.e., no damage on the product quality guarantee function of the trademark).

The Tokyo District Court judged that the Defendant’s import in this case did not satisfy the requirements, but the IP High Court overturned the Tokyo District Court’s decision, considering that the imports satisfies the requirements, and was justified.

Summary of the case (Japanese)
https://www.ip.courts.go.jp/app/files/hanrei_jp/483/087483_point.pdf

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