The irreversible quarantine consequences, as measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, have affected all life spheres, both the economy of Ukraine in general and ordinary citizens of our country in particular.
According to the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, import of goods for the last five months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 was decreased to 14.5% and amounted to 20.2 billion UAH. According to experts, the downward trend in import will continue in 2020. Despite the import negative trend in Ukraine, GFK analysts in their report analyzed the sales dynamics in the segment of home appliances and electronics, recording a recovery of the market in this segment by an average of 13% in UAH for the first five months of 2020.
The irreversible consequences of quarantine, as measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, have affected all spheres of life, both the economy of Ukraine in general and ordinary citizens of our country in particular.
According to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, imports of goods for the last five months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 decreased by 14.5% and amounted to 20.2 billion UAH. According to experts, the downward trend in imports in 2020 will continue.
Despite the negative trend of import in Ukraine, GFK analysts in their report analyzed the dynamics of sales in the segment of home appliances and electronics, recording market recovery in this segment by an average of 13% in UAH for the first five months of 2020.
What is the reason for sales increase with a decrease in imports? We offer to understand in more detail:
According to Netpeak, Ukrainian e-commerce market does not exceed $ 1.5 billion, while in Germany – $ 35 billion, the United Kingdom – $ 52 billion, the United States – $ 184 billion. Despite the fact that Ukrainian e-commerce market is small, it confidently develops in several directions. According to the independent expert-analytical center BRDO, in 2019 Ukraine ranked second among European countries in terms of its growth rate.
By 2022, 67% of all online shopping in the world is projected to be through marketplaces.
Over the past 3 years in Ukraine, all market leaders have partially or completely become marketplaces (every fifth of the top twenty e-commerce storefronts).
This fact is confirmed by statistics, according to which Ukrainians began to visit online stores and marketplaces more often – Rozetka.com.ua, Olx.ua, Prom.ua kept their positions in the top ten. Bigl.ua appeared in the top.
Thus, quarantine, as a measure to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, has made adjustments to market approaches, clearly positioning online sales as one of the key areas of home appliances sales and electronics to the end consumer.
There are several main regulations governing the activities of e-commerce entities in our country:
Order of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine dated 19.04.2007 N 103 “On approval of the Rules of sale of goods to order and outside commercial or office premises”.
After analyzing the provisions of these laws, a more detailed analysis is given in the publications: “Gray” market of home appliances and electronics in Ukraine. Online commerce.
How consumers cannot be deceived when buying goods and services online;
Buying drugs online – safe and with possible scenarios of drug trade development on the Internet in Ukraine), it should be noted that the mentioned legislative acts are declarative in nature and in some respects contradict both the norms of European legislation, in particular EU Directive No. 2000/31 of 08.06.2000, and the principles modern information society (transparency of e-commerce).
Thus, a certain type of public relations (Internet sales) has been formed in the information space of Ukraine, which has not yet found a comprehensive regulation at the legislative level, which leads to:
The experience of DEGA Partners allows us to formulate the most effective mechanisms to combat the proposals of “gray” importers (to grade them on efficiency):
Legal mechanisms for blocking offers of “gray” imports by protecting the intellectual property rights of the right holder on the Internet.
Having systematized the information about business models, which in the vast majority use Internet resources that offer the buyer products illegally imported into Ukraine, we can identify the main violations of the rights of the right holder:
The presence of these violations allows the legal adviser on the basis of the possibilities of national legislation of Ukraine and international regulations, to apply to the offender measures of legal influence:
Initiation of domain disputes with violators. An example of successful application of such a method of protection is the lawsuit against DEGA Partners’ defense of the WILO brand in a domain dispute. The court fully satisfied the legal position of the rights holder’s lawyers, obliging the offender to stop illegal use in the domain name and on the pages of TM WILO online store, domain name registrar – to delegate such a domain name in favor of WILO SE (owner of the trademark). The decision came into force and was fully implemented.
Initiation of criminal prosecution of offenders under Article 229 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal use of a trademark). An example of successful application of this method of brand protection by DEGA Partners lawyers is a criminal case against the owner of an online store who illegally used the MIELE TM. The verdict of Solomyansky District Court found the owner of the online store, as well as the person involved in this resource, guilty of committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 229 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, Part 3 of Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The violator suffered the punishment provided by the Criminal Code of Ukraine, as well as paid damages to the brand related to the illegal use of its TM.
Initiation of claims work both with the infringer, and with the companies providing services of hosting, advertising or providing the platforms for placement of offers of “gray” import by the infringer (marketplaces). For example, DEGA Partners’ pre-trial claims work with infringers of brands that sold illegally imported products to Ukraine on the Internet allowed blocking gray import offers on 1,000 web resources, including price aggregators and marketplaces, from the beginning of 2019, which showed high application efficiency of this control method. More details about the mechanism of carrying out the specified legal work on the link.
Application of the DMCA protocol to violators who use illegal copying and use on the pages of the Internet resource of photo and video content, which rights belong to the right holder. This method of protection was considered in more detail in the publication “Copyright protection in the digital age. Note to site owners!”
“Gray import” fight with official importers in modern realities. PocketBook experience (based on https://ain.ua)
According to PocketBook estimates, about 30% of the brand’s devices sold online in Ukraine in 2019 were not intended for sale in our country, and were most likely imported into Ukraine in law. In 2020, every third call to the call center from Ukraine contained a question about the lack of a Ukrainian interface, the inability to synchronize books using the cloud service, or to use warranty support.
More details concerning the methods and results of combating “gray” imports in Ukraine can be found at the link.
It should be noted that many official industry importers are concerned about protecting customer from the possible purchase of “gray” imports, for example:
In addition to protecting brand’s interests in the judiciary, LLC “BSH Home Appliances” (General importer of Siemens, Bosch) on its official website created a page by following the link, the consumer can see the sites (sales of goods, service centers) official importer, as well as check the purchased goods for the integrity of the seller and warranty support;
Samsung Electronics Ukraine on its official website at the link explains to consumers the benefits of buying officially imported Samsung equipment in Ukraine, explains how to distinguish official equipment of the brand, intended for use in Ukraine, from the products of “gray” imports; provides a list of authorized online stores of partners, buying equipment in which the consumer will not buy a “cat in a bag”.
Thus, the competent construction of a coordinated work of legal services and official importers is guaranteed to effectively combat the manifestations of “gray” imports on the Internet, despite the imperfect legislation of Ukraine.
However, the challenges of modern reality require Ukrainian parliament to address such issues as a principles’ introduction of European (continental) classical model of regulating the Internet: