Anheuser-Busch InBev China loses lawsuit over parallel-import beer

China’s Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court ruled on June 22 in favor of Guangzhou-based importer GZDF in its lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch InBev China Co., Ltd. who alleged its wheat beer Franziskaner Weissbier imported by GZDF into China infringed its trademark rights. The trial court ruled in plaintiff Anheuser-Busch InBev China ’s favor and ordered defendant GZDF to cease its infringement and pay the plaintiff 200,000 yuan ($31,000) in damages. GZDF appealed the decision to the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court. The court of second instance overturned the decision by affirming that the beer imported by GZDF was a parallel import.

Parallel imports, or goods sold on the grey market, are goods intended by their manufacturer for use in one country, but imported and resold in another. They are often cheaper than goods for which the distribution channel is determined by the manufacturer.