Appellate.net

 
home
about the group
appellate attorneys
briefs
docket reports
oral arguments
news
contact
 
13 December 2010

US Supreme Court Leaves Question of First-Sale Doctrine’s Applicability to Foreign-Manufactured Goods for Another Day

Under the Copyright Act’s first-sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109(a), the owner of any particular copy “lawfully made under this title” may sell or otherwise transfer ownership of that copy without the authorization of the copyright owner. In Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. L’anza Research International, Inc., 523 U.S. 135 (1998), which involved domestically manufactured goods that were sold abroad and then imported back into the United States, the Supreme Court held that the first-sale doctrine is applicable to imported copies. In April of this year, after the Ninth Circuit limited Quality King to its facts and held that the statutory phrase “lawfully made under this title” applies only to domestically manufactured goods, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, S.A., No. 08-1423, to decide whether the first-sale doctrine also applies to imported goods manufactured abroad.

Today, with Justice Kagan taking no part in the case, the Ninth Circuit’s decision was affirmed by an equally divided Court. The Court’s one-sentence order has no precedential effect. Accordingly, the issue—which is important to any retailer, importer, or distributor of copyrighted goods manufactured overseas—may come before the Court yet again should an appropriate case present itself.

For more information on this legal update, please contact Richard M. Assmus at +1 312 701 8623 or Andrew Tauber at +1 202 263 3324.

Learn more about our Supreme Court & Appellate and Intellectual Property practices.


[ Go Back ]

 
 
© 2014. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved. --  Legal Notices | Attorney Advertising

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the “Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. “Mayer Brown” and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.