New Delhi: Imports of goods protected by patent or trademarks are permitted even without authorisation of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) holder, according to the Finance Ministry.
The clarification was given in the backdrop the dispute between global personal computer maker Dell and traders who were sought to be stopped by the US based company which claimed the shipment would lead to infringement of its IPR.
The directive from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) follows representations from the trade seeking clarity on the issue which is also referred to as "parallel imports".
The CBEC has directed the customs officials to decide cases of 'parallel imports' on the basis of the concerned legislation which do not forbid parallel imports.
The Patents Act, 1970 provides for such imports, while under the Trade Marks, Act imported goods "should not be materially altered or impaired".
Earlier, the Customs Department had asked Dell India to pay demurrage and warehousing charges to importers, whose consignments were suspended for clearance after the firm claimed that the imported goods with 'Dell' trademark are infringement of intellectual property rights.
Welcoming the government clarification, the parallel importers association ADCTA said the move will lead to competitive prices in the Indian market.
"(the CBEC circular) confirms our stand that product imported by our association are genuine," Chairman of ADCTA Shyam Modi said in a statement.
ADCTA President Mahendra Aggarwal said the CBEC's circular will act as "catalyst" and consignment of parallel importers released across India.
First Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 23:13