Luxury watchmaker wins parallel importation case
Legal updates: case law analysis and intelligence
On November 14 2011 the Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region Commercial Court ruled in favour of luxury watchmaker Longines Watch Co Francillon Ltd, a member of the Swatch Group, in a parallel importation case against Russian online shop Bestwatch.ru LLC and website administrator Adelia LLC.
Bestwatch.ru did not deny that it had offered watches bearing the trademark LONGINES for sale. However, it failed to prove that it had the trademark owner’s permission to put the goods into circulation.
The court ruled that importing branded goods without the trademark owner’s consent violates the owner's exclusive trademark rights. Therefore, it ordered that Bestwatch.ru stop offering Longines watches for sale.
Longines demanded compensation for damages in the amount of approximately $159,000 (€122,000) from Bestwatch.ru and $3,200 (€2,460) from Adelia. The court upheld the claim against Adelia in full, but reduced the amount of compensation to be paid by Bestwatch.ru to $96,000 (€74,000).
Both defendants have appealed to the Thirteenth Arbitration Court of Appeals in Saint Petersburg, but did not provide evidence of payment of the filing fee. For this reason, the appeal has been suspended until February 6 2012.
In recent years, the Federal Anti-monopoly Service of the Russian Federation has been pushing to legalise parallel importation by amending Article 1487 of the Civil Code, which clearly prohibits it. The Russian government will reportedly consider this issue this spring.
Yuriy Karlash, PETOŠEVIC, Kiev
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