U.S. Supreme Court: "First Sale" Not Applicable to Foreign Watches

by Janette Spencer-Davis, Legal Editor, CCH Copyright Law Reports

In a 4-4 ruling on December 13, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the “first sale” doctrine did not apply to goods produced overseas. The ruling affirms the Ninth’s Circuit’s decision in Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2008 Copyright Law Decisions ¶29,623, holding that the first sale doctrine did not apply to Costco’s sale of watches that were manufactured and first sold overseas. However, because there was no majority decision, the ruling does not adopt a nationwide precedent. Justice Elena Kagan, who was solicitor general when the Obama administration sided with Omega in a friend-of-the-court filing, was recused.
(The above feature is selected from the newsletter published monthly along with full text documents and other materials provided to subscribers of the CCH Copyright Law Reports.)