SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

December 13, 2010 -

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision on Costco v. Omega, a case dealing with first sale doctrine. The court divided 4-4. The case had to do with watches bought overseas and sold at Costco discounts in the United States. The split denies a change in a lower court decision upholding the rights of the Swiss watch manufacturer, Omega.

According to Scotus blog, a different outcome might have been possible if the newest justice, Justice Elena Kagan, didn't recuse herself from the case. Kagan has recused herself from about half of the cases being heard during this term.

Costco argued in its appeal that the Ninth Circuit decision allows copyright owners who make products outside the U.S. to gain added legal weapons against those who buy goods overseas.

More from SCOTUS Blog:

At issue is the so-called “first sale doctrine.” Federal law provides that, if a copy of a protected work is made or purchased legally, that copy can be sold without the consent of the owner of the copyright. Once the owner of a protected work has sold a copy of it to someone else, that other person may sell it without permission of the owner of the copyright.

Under other provisions of copyright law, importing a copy of a protected work amounts to an infringement of the copyright if the copy was made abroad and brought back into the U.S. without permission. The first-sale doctrine is an exception to that provision. The Ninth Circuit, however, ruled that the doctrine applies only to copies made legally and sold inside the U.S.

Some good examples of how first-sale doctrine applies to software and DVDs can be found here.


Comments

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

I am not quite clear... how does copyright fit into this case since we are dealing with the sale of tangible goods?

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

Somehow Omega was able to convince some judges that Company logos are covered under copyright and not trademark. Since it was the logo that was being distributed without the permission of the copyright owner, selling the product was illegal.

I think it is a stupid ruling and a stupid case. The logo should not be allowed to have copyright protection and rather fall under trademark law which would have allowed for this sale as the logo is attached to a licensed good.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

Odd indeed.  If they were digital watches, I suppose you could claim copyright on the firmware, but as far as I know they were analog -- that's what precision Swiss watches are known for.

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

Ah!

Thanks for the explination.

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

Breakdown?

Re: SCOTUS Deadlocks on First-Sale Doctrine Case

Irritating, but according to the linked article it didn't set a national precedent.

 
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james_fudgeThere aren't many left in America08/21/2014 - 1:50am
MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
Andrew EisenStill looking for confirmation that High Moon Studios (dev behind the PS3/360 versions) isn't working on it.08/20/2014 - 4:38pm
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Andrew EisenI already updated the story with it!08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
Zenhttp://www.gonintendo.com/s/235574-treyarch-isn-t-working-call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-for-wii-u-either08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
ZenLet me send the link for the Tweet as well...they state Treyarch is not working on it. Grabbing it now.08/20/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenWhere does it say that "NO dev is working on it"?08/20/2014 - 4:33pm
ZenHere's the link for my last comment: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/08/20/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-not-coming-to-wii-u08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
ZenWell, Call of Duty is skipping Wii U completely it seems...they updated that NO dev is working on it. Great way to just skip a market.08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenYeah, Dave and Busters back in 2011 was the last time for me.08/20/2014 - 4:16pm
ZenWell, I tried lol. We just got a Dave and Busters on the beach but haven't been there yet...may go this weekend.08/20/2014 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenIt's called The Bar-Arcade? Missed opportunity. I would have gone with Barcade.08/20/2014 - 3:25pm
SleakerThe Bar-Arcade however did have a lot of good pinball machines, they were however always taken as the place was packed..08/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakerso I've been to an Arcade-Bar, not that great of a place has some okay machines, but generally over-packed. And then all the kid-friendly ones have is ticket-games nothing actually good unfortunately :(08/20/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightWith the current poll, I guess it all depends on how one defines "arcade". If Chuck E Cheese or similar multipurpose businesses count, then that is a yes for me.08/20/2014 - 11:59am
 

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