Currently there is no such concept as “parallel import”. Analyzing a number of regulations and current practices, parallel import (sometimes also called as grey import) means an import that simultaneously meets all of the following criteria:

  • original (not fake) goods are imported;
  • goods comprise an object of intellectual property, such as a copyright object, a trademark, an invention protected by a patent or an industrial design;
  • goods are imported without direct or indirect consent of right holder to import them.

Today, parallel imports are one of the most widespread infringements of intellectual property rights in Kazakhstan, as many entrepreneurs import original goods from other countries, where these goods are cheaper due to various reasons.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Law on Trademarks and the Treaty on Eurasian Economic Union such kind of activity is prohibited.

The negative impact of parallel import is reflected in following:

  • the product is not intended and not adapted for the local market;
  • parallel import also influences on increase of import of counterfeit goods;
  • right owner (local or foreign) is not able to develop the product market and create production. In this connection, the investment attractiveness of the market is also decreases; and
  • tax revenues are reduced due to the fact that this kind of import is often a part of shadow economy.

In general, it is possible to deal with this kind on infringement similarly as with counterfeit goods; however, first step is to enter the object of intellectual property into the relevant Customs Registry in order to protect intellectual property rights.

This measure is a ground and basis for the customs authorities to temporarily suspend the import of goods containing intellectual property object and to inform the right holder of this fact. The right holder at his own discretion, either authorizes the release of these goods, or extends the period of suspension of goods and may address the court in order to protect his intellectual property rights.

Objects of copyright and related rights, trademarks, service marks and appellations of origin can be entered into the Customs Registry. Unfortunately, the inclusion of objects protected by patents and other objects of intellectual property is not provided.

We offer following services in the sphere of protection of rights and fighting parallel import:

  • Inclusion of trademarks and items of copyright and related rights in the Customs Registry of Intellectual Property Items;
  • Monitoring and identification of counterfeit products;
  • Work with cases connected with suspension of goods;
  • Participation in raids and investigation activities;
  • Extension of terms of inclusion of trademarks into the Customs Registry of Intellectual Property Items;
  • Drafting and forwarding warning letters to trademark rights infringers;
  • Preparation and forwarding applications related to illegal use of intellectual property items to the customs authorities and police in order to bring infringers to administrative or criminal responsibility;
  • Preparation and forwarding statement of claims to the courts in order to reimburse expenses and losses related to exclusive rights infringement.

Zhanat Nurmagambetov

Enforcement and Customs

Requests relating to section Intellectual Property Rights Protection – Parallel Import can be forwarded to e-mail address: for Zhanat Nurmagambetov.

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