Trademark Law Alert: Federal Court takes restrictive stance on parallel importation defence

In a recent decision dated 3 June 2022, the Malaysian Federal Court in Guangzhou Light Industry & Trade Group Ltd & 2 Ors vs Lintas Superstore Sdn Bhd has placed clear limits to the defence of parallel importation in a claim for trademark infringement and passing off. Among others, the Court held that the defence cannot be relied on (i) where there are territorial restrictions over the goods (in this case the products were labelled “to be sold in China only”); and (ii) when the parallel imports are materially different in content, quality and packaging than those authorised by the trademark owner for the local market. It was also held on the facts of the case that the ability to purchase in bulk quantities in the foreign country cannot imply consent for parallel importation into Malaysia. This decision looks to mark a restrictive shift on the issue of parallel importation, previously regarded as widely permissible in Malaysia.
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This alert contains general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor an expression of legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such. For further information, kindly contact