Australia plans new law for parallel imports

Australia

The Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) Bill 2002 has been introduced in the Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives at the end of last year.

If approved, the new law will have implications for trademark owners. Firstly, Section 198A provides that goods on which a mark is applied with the owner's consent in their country of origin do not infringe the Australian registered mark when imported into Australia.

Secondly, Section 130B provides that, unless the defendant proves otherwise, there is a presumption of infringement when investigating parallel imports of literary works or computer programs that have been made overseas.

The government's resolve to have the bill enacted remains unaffected despite the fact that (i) comparable provisions already applying to Australian copyright owners in relation to sound recordings have not deterred pirates, and (ii) industry participants predict that the new law will lead to a significant influx in counterfeit computer programs and games.

Prataal Raj, Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney

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