Somewhere to Park those Aussie bikes?

Here's the latest on Honda Motor Co Ltd and another v Neesam and others [2008] EWHC 338 (Ch). This is a decision last Thursday from Sir Andrew Park, sitting as a judge of the Chancery Division, England and Wales. It originates from the increasingly useful LexisNexis Butterworths subscription service and is not, so far as the Kat is aware, available anywhere else.

Right: the IPKat with his freshly-imported bike. The red triangle is an allusion to the famous beer trade mark of the same shape and colour ...

By way of background, both claimants were companies within the Honda group. Neesam and his colleague were partners in the third defendant, a business that parallel-imported genuine Honda motorbikes from places were they were cheap and sold them at a decent profit where they were more expensive. Initially Honda got summary judgment against all three defendants, and against another defendant in respect of certain bikes that were the subject of proceedings noted by the IPKat here.

This case was about the parallel importation of Honda motorcycles into the UK and their subsequent resale by the fourth defendant . Between 1999 and 2004 the fourth defendant purchased a substantial number of bikes from an Australian company that had, in turn, purchased them from Honda Australia and from the worldwide parallel imports market. Honda Australia knew the Australian company was a dealer within the trade, and that it would be reselling the bikes it had bought to non-Australian purchasers who would resell the bikes in the course of retail or wholesale businesses. Honda however sued the fourth defendant in the UK, alleging trade mark infringement. The fourth defendant denied liability: since Honda, through its Honda Australia operation, had consented to it putting the motorcycles on the UK market and selling them (before that consent was officially withdrawn in May 2003), its trade mark rights were exhausted. Honda denied that any consent had been given to market the bikes on the UK market or elsewhere in Europe but added, just in case it was wrong, that any consent it might have given was terminated at the end of June 2002, when it discovered the final destination of the bikes it had sold to the Australian company.

Sir Andrew Park held for the defence. On the evidence, Honda Australia had impliedly consented to the sale of bikes to the fourth defendant, so that they could be resold in the course of its own business. Honda's claim for relief, except in respect of consignments of bikes supplied by the Australian company after consent was explicitly withdrawn on May 2003, failed.

Highly popular Australian exports here and here
Less highly popular Australian exports here and here
Somewhere to Park those Aussie bikes? Somewhere to Park those Aussie bikes? Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 Rating: 5

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