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Competition watchdog fines Nikon

The Competition Commission (Comco) has fined the Swiss subsidiary of Japanese camera company Nikon SFr12.5 million ($13.25 million) for restricting parallel imports.

In a statement on Thursday, Comco said Nikon had illegally closed off the Swiss market by inserting clauses into foreign distribution contracts restricting exports to Switzerland. Inversely, the company inserted similar clauses into its Swiss distribution contracts to restrict supply abroad.

Between spring 2008 and autumn 2009, Nikon had also exerted pressure over distributors of parallel imports, resulting in higher prices for the consumer, Comco said.

Such actions affected, but did not totally restrict, competition from parallel imports, Comco said. It said the amount fined reflected the gravity of the infringement and Nikon’s turnover in Switzerland during the time when the offences occurred.

Parallel imports are non-counterfeit goods which are imported into a county outside of distribution contracts agreed with the manufacturer. This means parallel imports are often offered to the market at cheaper prices through unauthorised distributors.

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