Earlier this week, in slightly investigative mode, the IPKat wondered about the parallelimportseurope.com website, asking whether it was all quite kosher and whether any reader knew much about it.
Right: parallel importation - good news for consumers, (some) retailers and the transport industry
Several of the IPKat's friends, including Christopher Stothers and Peter Groves, lost no time in conducting whois searches that revealed the man behind the website as Alessandro Marinelli of Spinetoli, Italy. Christopher guessed that he was looking to make money as a Google affiliate on the AdSense program, adding: "If you click on the ad links, it certainly appears that way". The IPKat also heard directly from Alessandro, who writes (among other things, and lightly edited):
So now we know. The IPKat's suspicions that there is something fishy going on have been allayed, though he remains curious to know the criteria by which the site approves (for example) advertisers of parallel imported goods and those who seek to buy from them. He hopes that this site will provide a facility for transparently honest trade. Merpel says: but we all know the problems - you can't realistically check out the credentials of most of the people who are advertising their businesses on the internet, and even the European Court of Justice doesn't find it easy to explain which goods are legitimate and which are not.
"About www.parallelimportseurope.com: we decided to build this website after 1 January 2007, when the new Member States come into the EU, because we feel there is not enough "free" informations about this matter, even if the free movement of goods is a pillar of EU policy. Our mission is to build a "qualified" community, to know more about and to develop the parallel trade in Europe. Then our message to post "classified ads" on our e-marketer section is directed to European operators that, we feel, could give us a good contribution to this. After our approval, we will link - it's absolutely free of charges.
More, our aim is to inform European citizens about the European rules in a simple and practical way, without needing to be a lawyer to know it.
Naturally, we don't refer to the counterfeit trade! We think our work will help to avoid misunderstandings between parallel import goods and counterfeits".