Parallel importing in New Zealand
What Is parallel importing?
"Parallel importing" allows retailers, wholesalers and other parties to obtain goods subject to intellectual property rights directly from licensed or authorised overseas sources, rather than dealing with local suppliers, licensees or agents. In doing so, parallel importing allows for competition between sources of the same or similar goods.
Parallel-imported goods are sometimes confused with pirated and counterfeit goods. The association is not correct. Parallel imports are goods that are manufactured and put into circulation in another country either by, or with the consent of, the owner of the applicable intellectual property rights. In contrast, pirated and counterfeit goods are infringing goods produced without the consent of the owner of the intellectual property right.
Copyright, as provided under the Copyright Act 1994 ("the Act"), has generally been the intellectual property right most relevant to the issue of parallel importing in New Zealand.
New Zealand is a party to a number of international agreements in the copyright area and many imported products are subject to multiple intellectual property rights, each of which exists under a different statute.
In 1998, the Copyright Act 1994 was amended by the Copyright (Removal of the Prohibition on Parallel Importing) Amendment Act 1998 so that copyright goods lawfully made overseas may be imported into New Zealand without the consent of the New Zealand copyright owner or licensee.
Pirated and counterfeit goods are infringing goods produced without the consent of the owner of the intellectual property right and, therefore, constitute infringing copies.
List of Frequently Asked Questions about Parallel Importing.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is undertaking a review of the temporary ban on the parallel importation of films.
For further information (except legal advice please contact the IP policy group.
The Ministry of Economic Development is not able to provide legal advice. If you have concerns about your legal position, please contact a legal professional familiar with the law relating to intellectual property. You can search for an intellectual property lawyer in the following places: