A lawyer explains why importing a PS3 into the UK is illegal, while Sony goes after a UK seller

UK publication MCV received legal advice from a top law firm informing them that any profits made from importing PlayStation 3s into the UK, where the machine won’t be officially available until March, could prove insignificant compared to the huge legal costs if Sony were to take matters to court.

According to Mitra Pahlabod of Davenport Lyons, Sony could play the trademark infringement card on those who import a PS3 into the UK. Sony is already investigating a company named Mastercash, who is advertising that it will sell PS3s before Christmas.

“They run the real risk of defending lengthy and costly trademark infringement proceedings,” Pahlabod stated. “It is up to the grey importer to prove that consent to resell the goods in Europe has been given by the trademark owner.”

“Brand owners should be aware of their rights with regard to grey importing, monitor closely the sale of their goods and where possible ensure that their trademark registrations are kept fully up to date,” she said.

In late October, Sony banned European imports of its PSP hardware from Hong Kong-based retailer Lik-Sang, which caused the shop to close its doors. Sony denied that it had anything to do with Lik-Sang’s closure, while admitting that its directors have illegally imported hardware previously from the retailer.

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