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Grey goods: A matter of life and death


Karen Kitchen

From a legal perspective, what happens in a situation when genuine articles manufactured by the actual manufacturer, such as high pressure vessels or electrical goods, are imported into South Africa, but where the manufacturer’s labels have been removed and replaced with falsified labels which bear fictitious serial numbers, and do not specify the electrical, oil and refrigerant information which is critical to safe and efficient installation and operation of the goods, but which bear the manufacturer’s trademarks?

The main consideration in the above scenario is the nature of the ‘grey’ goods being dealt in. The incorrect labelling of goods of the kind mentioned above, or the omission of critical information on such labelling applied to such goods, could result in the end user’s death.

The following legal considerations need to be analysed:

Trademark-related considerations

consumer protection, trademark, South Africa,


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