Samsung has sent a letter to all its distributors warning that it will
take legal action against anyone found selling grey stock outside the EU.
The problem centres on
manufacturers’ inability to honour warranties on grey stock, as well as control
prices, volumes and quality when its products are imported from outside the UK
and eventually bought by British consumers.
The letter refers to the Levi-Strauss versus Tesco and Costco court
cases, in which the clothing manufacturer successfully sued the two
supermarkets for selling jeans bought in America.
Samsung believes it has a
stronger case because of copyright infringement on its manuals and boxes used
to replace foreign manuals.
Samsung has also cited safety
issues, referring to the third-party three-pin UK
chargers that are put alongside Samsung phones bought on the grey market.
The letter says: ‘‘Samsung
takes the issue of trade mark infringement very seriously… Accordingly, Samsung
reserves the right to take action it considers necessary to prevent
distributors, dealers and retailers infringing its rights by dealing with such
grey market handsets.’
Mark Mitchinson, Samsung UK VP, told Mobile:
‘Our aim with this letter was just to clarify our position. We’re not out to be
suing our customers – we’re making the point that we would prefer that our
customers don’t engage in importing our products.’
Several rival manufacturers endorsed
Samsung’s position. ‘Samsung can totally do this. They would argue that the
culprits are affecting the business Samsung are generating in the UK.
There is also an integrity issue of operators and large retailers questioning
the pricing when it is being offered cheaper by a distributor.’
Read the letter in full here