Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Intellectual Property Exhaustion and Parallel Imports

Research Handbook on Intellectual Property Exhaustion and Parallel Imports

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Irene Calboli and Edward Lee

From the Americas to the European Union, Asia-Pacific and Africa, countries around the world are facing increased pressure to clarify the application of intellectual property exhaustion. This wide-ranging Research Handbook explores the questions that pose themselves as a result. Should exhaustion apply at the national, regional, or international level? Should parallel imports be considered lawful imports? Should copyright, patent, and trademark laws follow the same regime? Should countries attempt to harmonize their approaches? To what extent should living matters and self-replicating technologies be subject to the principle of exhaustion? To what extent have the rise of digital goods and the “Internet of things” redefined the concept of exhaustion in cyberspace? The Handbook offers insights to the challenges surrounding these questions and highlights how one answer does not fit all.

Chapter 10: The exhaustion doctrine in Singapore: different strokes for different IP folks

Ng-Loy Wee Loon

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law

Extract

The arguments for and against the doctrine of international exhaustion of intellectual property rights have been canvassed by many.1 The reason probably most often cited in favor of international exhaustion is the benefit to the consumers in the country of importation because they can get access to genuine products at lower prices. Indeed, some studies have shown that this benefit is not merely a theoretical one. According to a study by Chen and Png on an international panel of changes in copyright law, legalisation of parallel imports was associated with a retail price reduction of 7.2–7.9 percent in the music CD market.2 Another study by Ganslandt and Maskus found that drug prices in Sweden that were subject to competition from parallel imports fell relative to other drugs.3 As far as Singapore is concerned, this benefit to consumers has emerged as the overriding consideration in most debates on whether, and to what extent, intellectual property rights should be exhausted. Thus, in the late 1980s when Singapore was fashioning its own copyright law, it decided that parallel imports would be permitted under the new copyright law (Copyright Act 19874) because:5

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