The Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) is calling on the government to fix Australian laws around trademark protection and parallel importing.

Parallel importation, also known as importing ‘grey market goods’, is a method where companies purchase products offshore—usually of an unknown provenance—from a non-authorised supplier

A recent example of this incident was when global cosmetic brand Estee Lauder took legal action against Target in 2012 for selling supposedly fake MAC cosmetic.

According to ASGA executive director, Shannon Walker, the laws need to be fixed to avoid another Target/MAC Cosmetics debacle.

“Parallel importing is bad for Australian consumers, bad for Australian companies authorised to supply specific products and bad for retailers. We call on Labor and the Coalition to hold an enquiry into the dangers of parallel importing as part of their election commitments,” he said.

While parallel importing is not currently illegal, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to determine if the grey-market goods are really genuine or if they are counterfeit.

“Companies that purchase from authorised suppliers know they are getting the real deal – and consumers can also be assured they are purchasing exactly what they expect. Companies purchasing from an un-authorised supplier often have no idea if they are getting genuine products or not, or from just where those products may have originated,” Walker said.

“If the goods are counterfeit, they can be potentially dangerous and almost certainly badly made, meaning that even if the unsuspecting consumer isn’t potentially injured by those products once they use the goods, they still aren’t getting what they paid for.”