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Parallel Importing Plague

Reebok (NZ) Ltd has discovered the importation and widespread sale of counterfeit Reebok goods, and wants the Government to know that amendments to the Copyright Act allowing parallel importing are causing problems in the market place.

Mr Nigel Corkill, general manager of Reebok (NZ) Ltd, said "contrary to the Government's assurances that there have not been a flood of fake goods entering the country, we now have a situation where not only are the markets full of counterfeit product, but mainstream retailers are being duped into selling it."

Reebok (NZ) discovered that a Hamilton pharmacy was advertising branded sports bags, including Reebok bags, at extremely competitive prices. Upon investigation the bags were found to be counterfeit and for sale throughout the country through pharmacies.

The importer of the bags, Central Pharmacy Rotorua Ltd, has been importing for a group of approximately 20 pharmacies for ten years. Reebok were told the bags were purchased from the supplier on the assurance that they were an end of line 'genuine' product.

Mr Corkill said, "if mainstream retailers are being duped into importing counterfeit goods, then those with intent to defraud have nothing holding them back."

"The current law makes New Zealand an easy target for the dumping of cheap copies. It puts the cost of policing against counterfeit goods squarely on the brand holder, which is an expensive and difficult task."

"The importation and sale of cheap counterfeit goods under the guise of parallel imports devalues genuine brands and also rips off customers who think they are getting the genuine article. Consumers should be particularly wary about this with Christmas coming up."

Mr Corkill said that Reebok was not the only company affected by the problem and the Government needed to recognise that the law was failing brand owners and consumers alike.


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