Selective distribution and parallel import

According to German case law and the case law of the European Union, selective distribution systems for high quality and luxury products are generally admissible. A selective distribution system allows, under certain conditions, the prevention of the distribution of original products on the grey market and in the discounter and low-price environment. The basis for this is trademark and competition law. We advise on the contractual design of selective distribution systems and enforce your rights against unauthorized distributors.  

Unauthorized third parties can be prohibited from distributing original goods in Germany and the EU even if the goods were not intended for distribution in the European Economic Area. Import and distribution in the EU can then be prohibited on the basis of trade mark law. The European Union does not recognize the principle of so-called worldwide exhaustion that applies in other states. Only if the manufacturer has put the goods on the market in the EU, the further distribution in the EU cannot be prohibited on the basis of trademark law. However, a prohibition of sale can also be considered within the EU, for example, if the reseller buys the product in one country and, for the purpose of selling it in another country of the European Union, changes the packaging, e.g. modifies an instruction leaflet or changes the package sizes; even more so if he makes changes to the product itself. Very strict requirements apply here if the product is to be resold under the manufacturer's trademark. Among other things, the reseller must notify the manufacturer in advance. German courts have developed a differentiated case law on this, which provides a reliable legal framework. We have many years of litigation experience and special expertise in this area as well.