December 2, 2023

Tullio Corradini

Trusted Legal Source

China: Alternative Strategies to Trademark Enforcement against Parallel Import of Cosmetics by Unauthorized Sellers

China: Alternative Strategies to Trademark Enforcement against Parallel Import of Cosmetics by Unauthorized Sellers

China: Alternative Strategies to Trademark Enforcement against Parallel Import of Cosmetics by Unauthorized Sellers

E-commerce platforms are entire of Chinese traders selling overseas beauty products and solutions they obtained at a lessen value exterior China. These branded goods are sold without the trademark owner’s consent for a considerably decrease price tag than that of the official retailer. The implications of this sort of so-identified as “parallel imports” are perfectly-acknowledged: the foreign model and its official Chinese distributor go through financial losses and the brand name is diluted by inexpensive profits of parallel imports. The latter difficulty is specifically acute if the overseas model markets by itself in the luxurious phase.

The Related Regulation on Parallel Import of Cosmetic Goods into China

On line product sales of parallel imports constitute an specially challenging issue in China. E-Commerce platforms do not have takedown resources from parallel import as they do versus counterfeit sales and offer for income. E-commerce platforms’ takedown devices are in actuality restricted to trademark infringement cases. On the other hand, in accordance to the Chinese law, parallel import into China of real merchandise obtained overseas does not violate the Chinese trademark law. The first reputable sale of the legitimate item overseas exhausts the rights of the trademark holder in China. Thus, takedown steps for the e-commerce in such situations deficiency lawful floor and will be rejected.

Even so, parallel import of cosmetics might continue to be illegal if it violates one the numerous complicated beauty registration and labeling laws of the People’s Republic of China.

Alternate Lawful Avenues from Imported International Cosmetics

China will allow the sale of imported cosmetics — without the need of will need of registration with the China Fda — but only if the solutions are sold to Chinese individuals (not B2B) by means of selected Chinese e-commerce platforms like Tmall (Alibaba) and (JingDong). The items, coming immediately from outside the house China, are exempt from any licensing and recordation requirements with China Fda. Even so, only the reputable holder of the trademark legal rights in excess of the imported cosmetics or its licensees can sign-up and market merchandise on these platforms. In fact, Tmall and constantly request proof of trademark registration from the seller in advance of permitting it to open up a shop on their system.

Outside the designated e-commerce channels, the import of unregistered international beauty items by any human being or entity for resale is not exempted from the necessity of prior recordation with the China Fda and the similar labeling provisions. As soon as the Chinese importer has been given the merchandise procured abroad, and saved them in a Chinese warehouse, the importer will have to exhibit China customs that those cosmetics have been recorded with the China Fda in advance of getting able to apparent and provide them to the conclusion Chinese consumer. The violation of these kinds of provisions by the vendor of the parallel imported cosmetics in China may perhaps lead to the confiscation of the concerned good and call for payment of a high-quality 3 to 5 instances their illegal profits. We have witnessed many administrative punishment selections issued based mostly on these grounds.

The functional trouble with attacking parallel importers for violation of the registration provisions is that China Customs does not have the capability to look at every parcel and shipment. As a result, parallel importers of international cosmetic goods typically ship compact portions that will most likely stay undetected by the customs’ authorities.

There is, having said that, another way to attack such traders — even when they are trading in compact portions to keep away from currently being caught by China Customs. Imported cosmetics will have to bear a Chinese white label on the back of the most important solution packaging. This label includes required information about the international solution, whose labels would normally be in other languages (i.e. those people of the marketplaces in which they have been initially commercialized). If the imported cosmetics do not bear the Chinese white labels, they will violate Write-up 35.2 of China Polices on the Supervision and Regulation of Cosmetics (for failing to connect the Chinese label to the parallel imported cosmetics). Such violations can be described by anyone to the neighborhood Marketplace Supervision Administration (MSA) and the goods will be confiscated and fines will be issued towards the importer. The administrative selection need to be issued in 90 days from the day of the complaint and in apply decisions are normally issued in 3-40 times. If the infringer then refuses to abide by the decision and keeps providing illicit parallel imports, the appropriate holder can file a next administrative complaint. The administrative authorities will insert other types of punishment to those already indicated, including the suspension or revocation of the importer’s company license.


Parallel import of foreign cosmetics into China is an at any time increasing challenge for foreign models. On-line trade and compact shipments make it challenging for foreign brand names to monitor and punish these gray market place importers. Despite the fact that these kinds of phenomenon could be minimized by tightening the provide chain outside China (e.g. by tightening sales disorders of EU or US distributors and monitoring of the source chain), not all makes have that ability. Also, even when restricted distribution regulations are in position, parallel import does not wholly vanish. At some position, a brand name owner will have to offer right with these Chinese importers or hazard dealing with industry losses.

Provided the over facts, initiating administrative actions versus parallel importers that violate the white label polices seems to be an productive strategy. Not only will infringers be stopped and deterred by the issuance of a high-quality, and the confiscation of illicit earnings, but with these an administrative selection in hand, the proper holder can legitimately and efficiently receive the removing of the infringing listings from the pertinent e-commerce platforms. Last but not least, showing a pro-active stance against parallel imports will correctly reduce the hazard of the trademark owner in opposition to merchandise legal responsibility statements from Chinese customers.