This past July the United Kingdom Supreme Court issued a ruling which will hurt information-technology users in the United Kingdom by costing them more than any other developed nation in the world for the same equipment. The ruling was also a new type of protectionism, protecting manufacturers at the cost of the citizens of a nation. In years past, countries would prohibit the import of products by placing tariffs on goods in an effort to protect the livelihood of their citizens. The Ruling made by the UK Supreme Court did just the opposite by “tariffing” its own citizens in favor of Oracle/Sun.
The Case involved a company that bought and sold Oracle/Sun Microsystems products. Sun Microsystems accused the company, M-Tech of buying products outside of the UK and reselling them inside the UK without Sun/Oracle’s permission.
Companies like M-Tech work within a long-standing international community of legitimate independent resellers. Many times they will buy a product based upon the Model Number, not knowing where that product was originally sold. In order to be in compliance with the UK law, they now can only resell the product if that serial number was first sold in the UK. In the case of Sun Microsystems, they are the only ones who know where their products where first sold and they won’t tell. Obviously as a reseller, if you don’t know that the product you are buying can be resold, you won’t buy it. That makes Sun/Oracle the only one who can legitimately resell their products which enables them to set prices no longer subject to the laws of supply and demand or the effects of competition.
Taking it a step further, using this law someone in the UK could not legally use eBay to buy a used Rolex watch in the US and bring it into the UK without Rolex’s permission. Since Rolex is in the business of selling new watches how often do you think they would grant permission?
What the ASCDI did and is doing about it
The ASCDI was involved with the M-Tech Case early on. We offered testimony in the case on behalf of M-Tech. By most accounts, it was our testimony that carried the case as far as it did for M-Tech. In addition, the ASCDI led efforts to raise funds from our members to assist M-Tech in this case. Thanks to the generosity of our members we raised over $60,000.
Last year the ASCDI formed a Legislative Committee to address issues around the world that we could affect through the legislative process. The Committee continues to work on the implications of this restrictive practice in Europe as well as some threatening trends in the U.S. We will soon be publicizing more specific details and guidelines as a result of those efforts.
We have begun to put together position papers which describe where the ASCDI stands on these types of issues. Take a look at “What we stand for” at https://www.ascdi.com/asna/public/whatwestandfor.aspx
What you can do
For now, just by being an ASCDI you help our industry. When we contact legislators and other organizations, the more members we show the better. Your $900US a year dues, your attendance at our meetings and your membership in the ASCDI Equipment Trading Network (eTN) all help to fund our operations and enables us to do what we do. Thank you for that.
We have a long hard battle ahead of us, but one that I am sure we will be triumphant in because ours is a just cause. I am sure we will be calling on you in the future as we move forward in our battle for fair trade practices around the world and again, thank you for your support.