The Ninth Circuit's decision in Omega v Costco, denying Costco an international exhaustion copyright infringement defense.
In this opinion, we address whether the Supreme Court’s
decision in Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. L’anza Research
International, Inc., 523 U.S. 135 (1998), requires us to overrule
our precedents that allow a defendant in a copyright
infringement action to claim the “first sale doctrine” of 17
U.S.C. § 109(a) as a defense only where the disputed copies
of a copyrighted work were either made or previously sold in
the United States with the authority of the copyright owner.
Plaintiff-Appellant Omega, S.A. (Omega) filed claims for
infringing distribution and importation under 17 U.S.C.
§§ 106(3) and 602(a) in response to Defendant-Appellee
Costco Wholesale Corporation’s (Costco) unauthorized sale
of authentic, imported Omega watches bearing a design registered
at the U.S. Copyright Office. The district court granted
summary judgment to Costco on the basis of the first sale
doctrine, and awarded attorney’s fees. We have jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we reverse.