Costco Ducks 9th Circ. Watch IP Row On 1st-Sale Doctrine

Law360, Los Angeles (January 20, 2015, 5:00 PM EST) -- The Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday that under the first-sale doctrine, Costco Wholesale Corp. wasn't infringing Swiss watchmaker Omega SA's copyright when Costco bought watches on the "gray market" and sold 43 of them in the U.S.

A split panel ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. — in which the high court found that the first-sale doctrine applies to copies of copyrighted objects made lawfully abroad — dictated that Omega couldn't enforce its copyright against Costco.

In other words, Omega lost its right to control the importation and distribution of its watches...

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