Goodyear announced today that it has reached an agreement with De Klok Banden B.V., S & H Tires B.V and their affiliated companies to resolve a parallel import case between the two groups. The agreement resolves the pending trademark infringement claim initiated in Q3 2020 by Goodyear following seizure of tires often referred to as grey market imports.
On behalf of the De Klok Banden, Mr Van der Heiden declared that the agreement “enables De Klok Banden and S&H Tires to avoid the cost of an expensive litigation and will help them to further improve their internal controls with the support of Goodyear to prevent sourcing of illegal imports in the European Union.”
David Anckaert, VP Consumer Replacement Europe at Goodyear, expressed satisfaction in the resolution of the matter. Goodyear’s European organization has the exclusive rights to first place Goodyear and Dunlop branded tires on the market in the European Unions. If a tire is imported into the European Union (including from the United Kingdom after 1 January 2021) by a non-Goodyear organization without Goodyear’s consent, that tire is an “unauthorized” or “illegal” import and may not be distributed, sold or offered for sale in the European Union. Such activity infringes Goodyear’s trademark rights or other legal rights.
In legal terms, a “Grey Market" or illegal "Parallel Import” refers to a tire which, even though it may not violate any law or infringe any rights in the export country, when imported into the European Union (EU) or other member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) infringes a trademark, design, or patent right, or violates other applicable laws such as unfair competition laws.
Some tires are made in the European Union specifically for export to and distribution outside of Europe. Other tires are made outside of the European Union expressly for local distribution. Buying these tires outside of the European Union and then importing them into Europe constitutes an illegal parallel import and trademark infringement.
Goodyear has taken legal action against a large number of distributors in various European markets. These actions have included obtaining injunctions, delivery of tires back to Goodyear, disposal of tires, obtaining details of upstream sources of supply, recovery of damages and recovery of legal costs. Anckaert added that “Goodyear is resolved to protect its rights and take legal actions against illegal (grey) tire imports. Any tire professional can support in flagging potential illegal imports by contacting its Goodyear sales representative or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 62,000 people and manufactures its products in 46 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.