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02-19-2012, 04:35 AM   #16
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Location: Massachusetts
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Prior to the mid 1970's a foreign manufacturer could not directly market goods in the U.S.A.- they had to go through a U.S. importer. In the case of Pentax cameras, Asahi Pentax was the parent company and they marketed their products as Asahi Pentax outside the U.S. but Honeywell was the official U.S. Importer thus Pentax cameras marketed in the U.S. were marked "Honeywell Pentax." We saw the same thing on high end eletronics..Akai was a world class audio system, but in the U.S. it was marketed at "Roberts".

There was an exception in the customs rules. If you had the item in your possession for at least 6months before bringing it into the U.S. it came in as used equipment and was duty free.

When I returned from Germany in August of 1973 I had an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic black body, Asahi Pentax II chrome body, two Super Takumar 50mm f 1.4's, a Super Takumar 28mm, a Super Takumar 105mm, A Tele-Takumar 200mm, A Tele-Takumar 300, a Tele-Takumar 500, A Tele-Takumar 1000mm and a 50mm Bellows Takumar, as well as an Auto Bellows, A Professional model Braun Hobby Flash with the 4lb external battery pack, A Minolta 330 TLR, A Crown Graphic press camera with 4x5 grafloc back, polaroid back and both a 120 & 220 roll film backs and a complete B&W & Color darkroom with a Durst 600
color enlarger and all the toys to go with it.. All together my photo equipment was valued by customs in excess of $14k, but I did not pay one penny in duty because I had documents to show that it had been in my personal possession for at least 6months outside the U.S.

Over the next 30 years I acquired a Pentax K-1000, ME, ME Super,*ist (film camera) and about 25 or 30 more Pentax lenses, as well as a number of Sigma & Tamron's.

About four years ago I decided to bite the bullet and step into the digital world so I bought a used Pentax *ist digital, which I loved, but I soon ran into a deal on a Pentax K10d body & 18-55kit lens for $75. I could not turn that down.

I have since added another 8 or 10 Pentax autofocus lenses, mostly zooms, and another half dozen Sigmas.

Needless to say, I am a died in the wool Pentax fan, especially when I consider that I can still use all of the Takumar & Pentax glass on my digitals.

03-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #17
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The headlines today about the Feds confiscating goods wrongly marked with registered trademarks shows that they are still enforcing illegally marked items. Back in the "Honeywell Pentax" days Honeywell owned the Pentax trademark in the US, so even if Asahi made the item it could still be barred from import by anyone but Honeywell. Today the manufacturers generally hold the Trademarks, so it is enforced against "counterfeit" items. However, this shows it is a matter of government enforcement as it is imported, just like in the old days.
Bottom Line - Busted: Feds nab $325 million in fake Gucci, Ugg, Coach goods
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