In an important judgement, Delhi High Court ruled that Trade Marks Act, 1999 embodies the principle of international exhaustion and not domestic exhaustion of rights in cases of parallel imports.
The grievance of the respondents (Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. & Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd.) was that the appellants are purchasing from the foreign market printers manufactured and sold by respondents under the trademark “SAMSUNG/Samsung” and after importing the same into India are selling the product in the Indian market under the Trade Mark “SAMSUNG/Samsung” and are thereby infringing the registered Trade Mark of the respondents in India.
“It is not the case of the respondents that the appellants are changing the condition of the goods or impairing the goods which are put in the foreign market by respondents or its subsidiary companies abroad. What is pleaded is that the physical features of the printers sold abroad are different from the features of the printers sold in India. But this is irrelevant as long as the goods placed in the International market are not impaired or condition changed”, the Court said.
The Court further added “It is pleaded that the respondents have no control pertaining to the sale, distribution and after sales services of its goods which are imported by the appellants and sold in India. Now, the Principle of International Exhaustion of Rights itself takes away the right of the respondents to control the further sale and further distribution of the goods. With respect to after sales services, since the respondents do not warranty anything regarding their goods sold abroad, but imported into India and further sold, they not being responsible for the warranty of those goods, nothing turns thereon, as regards said plea.”