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Intellectual Property and Commercial Court


2012 Min Zhu Shang Zi No. 7

Decision No. 2012 Min Zhu Shang Zi No. 7
Date November 22, 2012
Decision Highlight

Article 87 Paragraph 1 Subparagraph 4 of the Copyright Act stipulates that import of the original or any copies of a work legally reproduced abroad without the authorization of the economic right holder should be deemed an infringement of copyright. Thus, domestic exhaustion doctrine is adopted by the Copyright Act, prohibiting parallel import of genuine goods. The purpose is to entitle copyright owners to segment the market geographically. Anyone who attempts to import a large quantity of copyrighted products manufactured by foreign economic copyright holders, regardless whether there is an agent or not, should obtain permission from a domestic copyright holder. Therefore, “The original or any copies of a work” in the provision refers to genuine products, which are manufactured or authorized to be manufactured by the economic right holder in foreign territory. That is, the legal issue of parallel import involves the Copyright Act, Trademark Act, Patent Act, Fair Trade Act, etc. Different regulations treat parallel import issue in different ways. Due to the simplicity and mass of reproduction, copyright license agreements around the world generally state a particular geographic region and a certain period of time, limiting the geographic region of sales and exports. Considering the licensing terms altered by different regions, licensors may also prohibit mass circulation of the copies across regions, in order to segment market geographically. In sum, if the accused product is a genuine parallel import, its sales should be deemed an infringement of copyright.


Domestic Exhaustion Doctrine, Copyright Infringement, Parallel Import of Genuine Goods, Original Work, Copies of a Work

Relevant statutes Article 87, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 4 of Copyright Act
  • Release Date:2020-11-13
  • Update:2020-12-03