Supreme Court hears arguments today regarding first sale doctrine and international purchases

November 08, 2010
Post by Blog Staff

This morning the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega S.A., a case regarding the potential international scope of the first sale doctrine. Costco lawfully purchased authentic Omega watches abroad and imported them to the United States for sale in its stores. Omega sued for copyright infringement, arguing the watches bore a copyrighted design and the purchase abroad did not exhaust its rights under the first sale doctrine.

The Ninth Circuit agreed with Omega, holding the foreign purchase did not exhaust Omega's copyright rights in the United States (our post regarding the Ninth Circuit's decision is here). Costco sought review by the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari in April after inviting the United States to file a brief with its views on the matter. The Solicitor General (at the time, Elena Kagan) filed a brief recommending the Court deny certiorari. As a result of her involvement, Justice Kagan is recused from the case.

For our discussion of the Ninth Circuit decision being reviewed, click here.

For SCOTUS Blog's collection of documents relevant to the case, click here.

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