Canon gets tough on parallel importing and trademark infringement

Legal action enforced to combat parallel importation of Canon products into Europe.

LONDON, January 13, 2006 – Canon Europe, world-leader in imaging technology solutions, is adopting a hard-line legal stance against the importation of goods into the European Economic Area (EEA) which were intended for sale in US and Asian markets.

The recent influx in parallel importing has led Canon to take tough action against those involved in these activities in order to protect the Canon brand name against associated trademark infringements and most importantly the rights of the consumer, who may be unaware of the consequences of parallel importing.

Goods imported from countries such as US and China for sale in EEA can leave consumers without appropriate after-sales support and warranties. Many parallel imported products have been found to have compatibility issues, i.e., products are sold without correct software packages and supporting cables and are accompanied by unusable operational manuals in non-local languages.

Canon recently secured an interim injunction against Crown International BV, a Dutch company to stop the sale of parallel imported Canon camera products in EEA, which infringe the trademark and copyrights of Canon. Crown International BV has been ordered by the Dutch court to return all infringing goods held in stock and to disclose in full its relevant administration details, all subject to payment of severe penalties.  Canon has also obtained an injunction against an Internet dealer, Priskrig AB, based in Sweden, for the illegal infringement of the Canon trademark, following evidence that Priskrig ABhas illegally imported Canon products from the US and Asia for sale in EEA.

The court decisions in the Netherlands and Sweden have been welcomed by Canon who has also pursued trademark infringers in Spain, Portugal France, United Kingdom, Germany and Austria,

Ken-ichi Nagasawa, Head of Intellectual Property, Canon Europe, said: “Canon is one of the most recognised and trusted brands in the world, with a strong reputation for quality and customer service. We maintain a vigilant stance towards trademark infringements across EEA and are committed to seeking legal redress against companies trading in parallel imports in order to protect our brand from infringements and our customers from receiving a ‘bad deal’.

“The recent strength of the Euro has meant that parallel importing has become increasingly common in some European countries, but these goods bound for non EEA markets present a false economy as they may be unusable and will not come with a Canon warranty. Canon urges consumers to buy Canon cameras and equipment only from reputable dealers and retail outlets.”

Canon plans to closely monitor the parallel importing situation across EMEA, including the EU accession countries, as it works to stamp out trademark infringement against any of its products and protect the rights of the European consumer.

Media enquiries, please contact:
Lindsey Allardyce
Director of European Corporate Communications
Canon Europe
Ph: +44 (0) 20 8858 8000

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