Ralph Lauren loses parallel import case

A Sydney retailer has triumphed in the Federal Court over international fashion house Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren took court action to stop Adam Ziliani buying its shirts cheaply in the US and then selling them in Australia at a profit. The practice is known as parallel importing.

Ralph Lauren argued that because Ziliani was not a licensed owner of Ralph Lauren copyright in Australia, he should not be selling goods he bought in the US.

The Federal Court in Sydney yesterday ruled in favour of Ziliani. The court ruled that the “pony” logo on the shirts was in fact a “label”, making it exempt from copyright laws.

A Freehills intellectual property partner, Campbell Thompson, told The Australian Financial Review the case was significant in that it set a new precedent.

It means that the owners of logos can’t rely on copyright protection to stop parallel importation.

Inside Retailing

 

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