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HP stops Expansys importing non-Euro PDAs

Justice Laddie says grey case is black and white

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Hewlett-Packard has claimed a knockout win in its High Court action to prevent Manchester-based Expansys importing HP PDAs from outside Europe.

HP said Expansys has been ordered to pay “substantial costs and damages”.

The case will likely have ramifications for other vendors keen to prevent distributors and resellers sourcing product from outside Europe.

HP sued Expansys earlier this year for importing iPaqs from outside Europe, claiming this infringes its trademarks. HP has been on the warpath over so-called grey marketing.

Expansys had fielded a three part defence, saying HP had left it too long to bring its case, that it had effectively consented to importation, for example by oversupplying non-European markets, and that HP was abusing its dominant position in the PDA market to fix prices.

After hearing the case last month, Justice Laddie came down on the side of HP when he delivered his judgement last week.

HP claimed this meant that “HP has the right to prevent iPAQ products being imported into the EU without HP’s consent and that any iPAQ product on the market in the EU without HP’s consent is a trade mark infringement."

In a statement, the PC giant claimed the judgement underlined the importance of sticking with its authorised channel and made it clear that resellers were playing with fire if they dabbled in the grey market.

HP said that as well as tightening business practices and controls and “improving education and training” it would take “appropriate action against resellers who violate terms of their authorized reseller agreements, including legal recourse if necessary.”®

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