Sunday, May 24, 2009

L’Oréal and parallel imports

Anyone who seriously does not think that attempts will not be made to use ACTA to get at parallel imports should look at the recent UK decision involving L'Oreal and eBay, which is almost 500 paragraphs in length and in the end refers several questions to the ECJ. The case concerns both counterfeits and parallel imports. While the judgment confirms that "a trade mark owner cannot request border control measures in respect of parallel imports" in the EU, it does show that major trade-mark owners regard both parallel imports and counterfeits as illegal and will what they can to stop both. It would be natural for the EU to "policy launder" though ACTA a change in its own law. Policy laundering is arranging for policy that is too controversial to legislate domestically being adopted in a treaty or agreement that "must" be implemented domestically.

Here's the decision from Justice Arnold of the UK High Court and some preliminary commentary from my friends at the IP Kat and IPWars.



  1. I've always heard that referred to as "policy laundering", due to the similarity with money laundering.

  2. Mr. Brand is right. Thanks. Mea culpa for the slip. I've corrected it above.

  3. "Policy laundering"? What a great term. And here I thought the U.S. was the only country that used international treaties to give politicians cover on highly controversial legislation. Silly me.