The EU Principle of Exhaustion of Rights
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property rights provide the proprietor with the exclusive rights to
control and prohibit acts in relation to his intellectual property.
This protection relates to all forms of intellectual property,
including of course trade marks.
terms of European Union Law, these rights extend only in as far as to
provide the proprietor, the right of first sale of his protected
product. This is to ensure that consumers are aware of the origin of
the products, thus satisfying the main function of intellectual
property. Where this first sale has occurred, the doctrine of
exhaustion of rights may then be applied.
doctrine of exhaustion of rights originates from Article 7(1) of the
Trade Mark Directive 2008/95, which states that 'a trade mark shall not
entitle the proprietor to prohibit its use in relation to goods, which
have been put on the market in the Community under that trade mark by
the proprietor or with his consent.'
means under this principle, once protected goods have been placed on
the market within the European Union, the proprietor of the trade mark
right no longer has the right to restrict the further movement of the
goods anywhere inside the European Union.
other words, once the proprietor has placed the goods up for sale
either himself or has given consent for another to sell his products
within the EU, he cannot prevent others from importing the products and
re-selling them in any other EU Member State. This is because under EU
law, after the first sale, the intellectual property owner’s rights are
said to be exhausted.
must be noted that the provision set out in Article 7 (1) relating to
the exhaustion of rights, applies only to countries, which fall within
the EU and EEA. This principle does not extend to countries, which are
not either EU or EEA members. This would mean that a trade
mark owner within the UK would still have the right to oppose the
parallel importation of products, which have been imported from outside
the EU for the purposes of sale within the EU.
About the Author
Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation,
commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We
are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual
Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-05-06 13:21:38 in Legal Articles