International exhaustion in Singapore
The point of law to be summarily determined by the court in the present case relates to the interpretation of the scope and meaning of section 29 of the Singapore Trade Marks Act which sets out “exhaustion of rights conferred by registered trade mark” as a defence to trademark infringement. The protection of registered trademarks in Singapore is governed under the Trade Marks Act 1998. The plaintiff, Samsonite intellectual property Holdings Sarl, is the proprietor of the SAMSONITE registered trademarks around the world, including Singapore and China. In support of free trade, the Singapore government upholds the policy of allowing parallel importation and adopts the principle of international exhaustion in respect of the intellectual property rights such as copyright, patents, and trademarks which are often relied upon by authorised dealers to curtail such acts of importation. The important criterion is the realisation of the economic value of the trademark through such acts.