Parallel importing in New Zealand

What is parallel importing?

"Parallel importing" allows retailers, wholesalers and other parties to obtain goods subject to intellectual property rights directly from licensed or authorised overseas sources, rather than dealing with local suppliers, licensees or agents. In doing so, parallel importing allows for competition between sources of the same or similar goods.

Parallel-imported goods are sometimes confused with pirated and counterfeit goods. The association is not correct. Parallel imports are goods that are manufactured and put into circulation in another country either by, or with the consent of, the owner of the applicable intellectual property rights. In contrast, pirated and counterfeit goods are infringing goods produced without the consent of the owner of the intellectual property right.

Study into the impact of parallel importing on the economy

In 2011 the Ministry of Economic Developement commissioned Deloitee Access Economics to provide some analysis on the costs and benefits arising from allowing parellel imports of copyright works in New Zealand. The report updated previous studies commissioned by the Ministry on parallel importing and concluded that allowing parallel importing continued to be beneficial to the New Zealand economy.

Parallel Importation of Films

On 31 October 2016 a temporary ban on the parallel importation of films, for commercial sale for a period of five months from the film’s international release, expired.

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Parallel importing and piracy and counterfeiting

Pirated and counterfeit goods are infringing goods produced without the consent of the owner of the intellectual property right and, therefore, constitute infringing copies.

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Questions and answers

List of Frequently Asked Questions about Parallel Importing.

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Further information

Contact details

For further information (except legal advice) please contact Business Law.

Legal advice

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is not able to provide legal advice. If you have concerns about your legal position, please contact a legal professional familiar with the law relating to intellectual property. You can search for an intellectual property lawyer in the following places:

  • in the Yellow Pages;
  • on the website of the New Zealand Law Society where you can find the district law society nearest you. The district law society may be able to assist you in finding a legal professional; or
  • you can view the list of New Zealand registered patent attorneys on the IPONZ website.


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For further information (except legal advice), please contact:

Business Law
Commerce, Consumers and Communications Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
15 Stout Street
PO Box 1473

Phone | 04-472 0030 
Fax | 04-499 1791
Email | 
Copyright Act Review