WRITTEN QUESTION E-0488/00
by Werner Langen
(PPE-DE) to the Commission
(11 February 2000)
Subject: Admissibility of parallel imports
Under Article 7 of the EU trade mark directive (89/104/EEC)(1) the "European
exhaustion" principle has applied in the EU Member States' trade mark
legislation since 1995 rather than the principle of "international
exhaustion" previously applied in many Member States. There has been no
room for parallel imports of branded goods from outside the EU since that
time. In its report of 1 December 1999 the Commission does not commit
itself on whether it is in favour of retaining or changing the current
This being the case:
1. What is the Commission's position on the question of "international
exhaustion" and an amendment to Article 7 of the trade mark directive, and
does it intend to propose a change in the law to the Council and
2. Does the Commission agree with the argument advanced by the
advocates of a change in the law that the reintroduction of parallel
imports might lead to a significant reduction in the consumer prices of
certain branded products of between 30 and 50%, thus making annual savings
of up to EUR 35 to 40bn possible for consumers throughout the EU?
3. In addition to the statements in its report of 1 December 1999, does
the Commission have any information to indicate that the occurrence of
product piracy has declined appreciably throughout the EU since parallel
imports were prohibited in 1995, or does it have information to indicate
that cases of product piracy have in fact increased since that time?
4. How does the Commission view the claims by the branded goods
industry that, if parallel imports were permitted in the future, jobs
would be relocated from the EU to third countries?
5. Does the Commission agree that growing demand from private customers
through the internet will give rise to major difficulties for the retail
and mail order trade in branded products unless these undertakings are
themselves able to obtain supplies of cheap parallel imports and to offer
goods at correspondingly low prices?
6. Does the Commission intend to make "international exhaustion rules"
in trade mark legislation the subject of forthcoming rounds of
negotiations at WTO level? If not, why not?
||"0"> OJ L 40, 11.2.1989, p. 1|
||Original language of question: DE|
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