That Fake Rolex You Buy In China May Cost You More Than The Real Thing

from the after-customs-has-its-way-with-you dept

Petréa Mitchell writes in to let us know about yet another case where trademark protection is being abused. "A guy decided to bring back some obviously fake Rolexes from China as souvenirs for his family. This was probably not a bright idea in any case, but US Customs thinks it's worth fining him $55,300. The fine is allegedly based on the street value of real Rolex watches, but he points out that there's no way anyone would pay a full Rolex price for fakes as obvious as these. The government says he should be glad it's only $55,300, because if Rolex had gotten personally involved it could have been $100,000... per watch." This one raises all sorts of questions. The thing is, buying these fake Rolexes shouldn't be against the law -- selling them should be. However, the guy wasn't caught selling them. Either way, while aren't there more important things for Customs to be doing than fining people for wearing fake Rolexes?

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  1. identicon
    CorpsRuleMen, 10 May 2007 @ 1:32am

    Parallel Importing

    So a man comes through customs gets searched and his fake rolex watches are confiscated and he's fined $55,000.

    This is to protect the commercial interests of the importer of Rolexes, because otherwise their business image might be hurt.

    Their only right to use that name is a civil contract with Rolex in Switzerland. The Government is enforcing this civil right directly to protect the commercial interests of the importer of Rolexes.

    Their right to money exceeds his right to money.

    UK Government rejected a petition to do something about the high price of MS Vista in the UK.

    In the 80's and 90's software was imported by grey (parallel) importers into the UK from US and sold cheaper.
    Real US software, sold to the UK.
    So vendors of software could not sell software at a high price in the UK and cheaper elsewhere - the UK could always get the best world price for any goods because parallel importers kept the price down.

    Blair's government added a change in Copyright law that made importing goods for which an exclusive agreement for that market exists, illegal.

    The consequence of this is the high price of Vista in the UK. The UK is no longer allowed to source the cheapest version of Vista.

    Commercial right trumps free market.

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