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First-Sale Doctrine Lost Overseas

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-buy-nit-you-keep-it dept.

The Courts 775

Max Hyre writes "In a 4-4 decision, the US Supreme court let stand the Ninth Circuit's decision that the First-Sale Doctrine (which says once you buy something, the maker gets no say in what you do with it) only applies to goods made in the US. That Omega watch you bought in Switzerland last year? It's yours now—forever. You can't sell it without Omega's permission."

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775 comments

First sale doctrine (5, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564778)

That is the most absurd and arbitrary distinction I've ever heard. A law of convenience if I ever heard of one. One step closer to stripping our rights in the name of international legal harmony.

Re:First sale doctrine (5, Interesting)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564890)

Just wait till the chinese manufacturers start toying with one. Want to sell your used motherboard on craigslist? Sorry, no can do, this luxuriuously ASUS-branded product was sold to YOU and only YOU.

Considering the amount of stuff that gets produced abroad, I suspect this decision will soon be so full of holes and exceptions that it wont be an issue.

Re:First sale doctrine (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564918)

If this is the worst one you've ever heard of, then you're not very familiar with the history of the court. Look up a few of their previous failures, like Wickard v. Filburn, Kelo v. New Haven, and Gonzales v. Raich.

-jcr

Re:First sale doctrine (1)

Agent00Wang (146185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565014)

Do you mean Kelo v. New London?

Re:First sale doctrine (2)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565018)

It's Kelo v. New London [wikipedia.org] , not New Haven.

You're going back a ways because Wickard v Filburn [wikipedia.org] was in 1942. Then the Dred Scott [wikipedia.org] slavery decision might be in the running for worst SCOTUS decisions.

Re:First sale doctrine (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565016)

Meh... all it means is thats the law they will enforce. Its not like there is anything actually stopping you from selling it. You can sell anything you want, even stuff they ban. All they can do is pubnish you or rule against you in the highly unlikely event that you end up in court over it.

Like most of their silly rules, you can ignore this all you want, as long as you don't get caught.

-Steve

But wait... (2)

theghost (156240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565186)

But wait, it gets better! This decision is based on a copyright claim over the tiny fucking logo on the back of the watch! Ridiculous barely begins to describe it.

Exercise Civil Disobedience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565234)

I hope anyone wishing to sell something belonging to them goes right ahead in spite of anti-American (anti-freedom) laws that American politicians pass and courts unwisely uphold. Exercise civil disobedience!

Huh? (2)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564782)

"In a 4-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme court let stand the Ninth Circuit's decision that the First-Sale Doctrine (which says once you buy something, the maker gets no say in what you do with it) only applies to goods made in the US. That Omega watch you bought in Switzerland last year? It's yours now—forever. You can't sell it without Omega's permission."

How are those last two sentences related to the rest of the summary?

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34564812)

Why don't you RTFA and find out, it's only slightly longer than the summary and explains it quite fucking clearly.

Re:Huh? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564842)

Because that's what the summary says. If it's made outside the US then the first sale doctrine does not apply. While it does seem to imply that you "can never sell something you bought outside the US" what it means is there is a chance that someone will go after you legally if you try to and I'm guessing the Omegas, Pradas and Guccis of the world will be some of the first to take advantage of this.

That's Not What The Article Says (5, Insightful)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564966)

"prevent U.S. retailers from selling goods they obtained overseas."

There is a difference between "produced overseas" and "obtained overseas".

Re:That's Not What The Article Says (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565134)

You're right, poor choice of words. It's about good made outside the US, not bought outside the US. Thanks for clarifying...

Re:Huh? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565002)

"In a 4-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme court let stand the Ninth Circuit's decision..."

As I understand it, a 4-4 vote is the same as if the court never heard the case.
The end result is that the case only stands as precedent in the 9th Circuit.
Obviously, other juridictions will take this into account, but it is not binding upon them.

Re:Huh? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565058)

Because Omega is specifically named in the article.

I know, I know. I read the article. Sorry.

Pirst fost (2)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564800)

And you can't pass it on without my permission!

The stupidest thing is (4, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564808)

that they based it on copyright law: an Omega logo on the watch.

I thought it would be something like a signed contract, or buying from a foreign wholesaler, then importing to the US.

But the copyright on the logo?

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564948)

What I am a little confused by is how copyright law has anything to do with this. Nobody is copying the logo, so how could a copyright be violated? Does copyright apply to activities that do not involve the creation of copies?

Re:The stupidest thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565068)

yes. it also applies to creation of derivative works, public display, public performance, and _distribution_.

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565260)

The prohibition is on distribution of copies or derivative works. Not resale of the original.

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565136)

I think the point is that Omega copied the logo, but didn't license it for Costco to use. The judgement of the 9th court is saying that Costco did need such a license and agrees with all the recent garbage about shrink wrap licenses etc. It's essentially an extension of copyright in a way which is contradicts the US constitution, but is okay and constitutional because the US supreme court says it is. Hey, but INAL; I can only go by the words as they are written, not as they are "interpreted".

Re:The stupidest thing is (2)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565264)

Part of the copyright provision is that you are prevented from importing goods which are being sold first-hand in the US by a licensee or manufacturer. This has historically been applied to books, movies, and music. More recently to games. But thanks to this court ruling it now applies to anything with a copyrighted logo.

Mind you, last I checked logos and their like are the domain of trademarks. How they got a copyright for something that should, by all rights, be a trademark is something that seems to be missing from this conversation.

Re:The stupidest thing is (2)

Synchis (191050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565312)

The short answer to that is: Yes.

Copyright laws center around the right to create and *distribute* copyrighted works.

The idea behind the first-sale doctrine was that you could purchase a copy of a copyrighted work, and then do with it as you pleased as long as you did not make additional copies of it. I buy a book, I can now lend it, trade it, sell it, or even give it away. Without the first-sale doctrine, only the copyright holder can determine if that work can be distributed, even after its been sold.

Now, an interesting way around this decision would be this: Purchase the watch, and then in some way *remove* the logo from it. There would no longer be a copyright issue, and the watch could be freely sold.

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565080)

that they based it on copyright law: an Omega logo on the watch.

Does this mean that if you destroy the logo you can sell the watch?

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565126)

It's because copyright doesn't only pertain to the right to copy, but also the right to distribute.

17 USC 106 gives a copyright owner the exclusive right to: "(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; "

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00000106----000-.html#3 [cornell.edu]

However, 17 USC 109 limits that exclusive right to control distribution beyond the first sale.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/109.html [cornell.edu]

Thus, the First Sale doctrine is, essentially, a defense against a claim of infringement of the copyright owner's right to distribute. Sure, nobody's copying, but what Costco is doing is distribution, which also is covered.

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565314)

Wrong. They key word you are forgetting is the word copies. Except for this egregious ruling, you can resale the original of anything you want and copyright does not matter.

Re:The stupidest thing is (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565128)

So then if this holds, the secondhand game market is pretty much dead, yeah? Since I doubt any of the discs are pressed in the US.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565240)

It only affects games which have a logo. Shit, that's all of them.

Will this ever improve? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564814)

It seems like the dominant trend in U.S. legislation is that if favors rich corporiations and individuals, at the cost of what seem like basic freedoms of common citizens.

Does anyone know, historically, whether all countries have this trend? And if so, historically, what things (if any) have lead to the reversa of these trends? I.e., does it require a reboot (i.e., full-blown revoluion), or is even that never enough?

Re:Will this ever improve? (0)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564908)

Yes historically its called: facism. The only distinction being that in other countries they did not give a corporation the rights of an individual. That way, when you got tired of being shit on by the guy with a funny mustache and a propensity for opiates, you could drag him into the street and have a good olde tyme hanging. Now, we have a hydra and there are just too damn many necks to snap. Welcome to the new order.

Facism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565178)

Facism [fay-siz-uhm]

Discrimination based on Physiognomy

Re:Will this ever improve? (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564914)

Russia moved from totalitarianism to freedom relatively blood- and revolution-free.

Here in the US we could solve the problem by amending the Constitution to strike the copyright clause. Or else change the words from an indefinite length to a fixed length (say 14 years). I don't get paid for work I did two decades ago, and I don't think any other professional should either.

Good luck (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565004)

Until people wake up and realize that they do not owe copyright owners anything, nothing will change. I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a person who used to work for the recording industry, and when I suggested that there might not be any ethical problem with downloading unauthorized copies of music and movies, he became so emotional that the conversation ended with him demanding that I never speak to him again. When the people "on the other side" of the issue are fighting like it is a matter of life and death, what hope do the rest of us have when most people just do not see copyright as being a particularly big deal?

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565320)

I'll be your friend betterunixthanunix. /me hugs you.

Re:Will this ever improve? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565274)

Sure, if by "freedom" you mean the freedom of a few mobsters to defraud the public of their property, creating an oligarchy of incredibly rich people in just a couple of years. Russia is still an authoritarian shithole.

Re:Will this ever improve? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565026)

The US is trying to push other countries into have as strict of copyright law as we do. I think our legislatures see that our major export as "ideas" Which is laughable as we outsource our coding and design to India and then claim copyright on those "ideas" The fact of the matter is, when our only real export are our patent trolls lawsuits, the rest of the worlds going to get fed up and put an end to all of this fairly quick.

So Almost Nothing? (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564818)

only applies to goods made in the US.

So nothing then? Why pick a Swiss watch? Why not go with something like a Nike football. Good ole' American Nike making American football, right? Wrong [answers.com] . I bet all the clothes on me right now came from Vietnam or Cambodia or Thailand or some other Asian fabric powerhouse. Donating them to a Goodwill store to be resold would be ... illegal?

Furthermore the article notes CostCo but what about Wal-Mart and Target. They resell these same articles of clothing as a middleman. Do they have some special contract protecting them from the largest copyright lawsuit to ever hit the retail industry?

This is so bizarre and just another indication of how copyright is seriously broken. If I understand the article, it's just because there's an Omega emblem on the watch? So since CostCo now owns that watch, they can chip the logo off and sell it for whatever price they want? This makes about as much logical sense as smearing my face with my own feces before a job interview.

Is there any lawyer out there with some background in this that might tell me what implications this holds for something like clothing being sold at Wal-Mart on the cheap? Or does it need to have an MSRP on it? How does this apply to software developed here but pressed overseas? So many questions I could dream up to ask about this new court decision.

Bad Summary (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565064)

The summary is written is misleading. The distinction made by the Ninth Circuit depends both on where an item was made as well as where it was sold. If you legally purchase a foreign made product in the US (ie from an authorized reseller like Walmart), then the right of first sale still applies. However, you can't buy foreign products in a foreign country and then resell them in the US without permission.

I still think it's a bad decision but the summary makes it out to be even worse.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565144)

So... a retailer purchasing a product from a (foreign) distributor/manufacturer is treated differently from an individual buying from a retailer?

From the point of view of a scientist/coder it seems like an arbitrary distinction, but businesses make a lot of such arbitrary distinctions (which then require other arbitrary distinctions). So I'd need to digest it a bit before deciding if it's a bad idea, or where this is the "original" bad idea or just a consequence of the original arbitrary distinction.

Re:Bad Summary (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565292)

So... a retailer purchasing a product from a (foreign) distributor/manufacturer is treated differently from an individual buying from a retailer?

Yeah, but the difference isn't just between retailers and individuals, it is between authorized distributors and everyone else.

Re:Bad Summary (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565206)

Thank you for the further explanation. I did read the article (the original SCOTUS blog) and it said:

Under other provisions of copyright law, importing a copy of a protected work amounts to an infringement of the copyright if the copy was made abroad and brought back into the U.S. without permission.

Emphasis mine. What is "permission?"

So what I'm asking is whether or not Wal-Mart signs agreements with Vietnamese companies that say they can bring them into the United States and did CostCo, like, drop the ball on that one? Did they smuggle them in their coat over to the US? I assume they passed customs from both countries, what level is this illegal on?

How on Earth would this deal go down any differently for Timex watches made in China sold in CostCo? Are you telling me that CostCo was making money by purchasing Omega watches at MSRP in Switzerland and then reselling them below MSRP in the United States? I'm not an economist but something sounds really strange in that case. This is what the SCOTUS Blog said:

The case involved a company, Omega S.A., that makes watches in Switzerland and sells them around the world through authorized distributors and retailers. Costco, a membership warehouse club that sells brand-name merchandise to members at prices lower than its competitors, had bought Omega's Seamaster watch abroad and re-sold it in the U.S. Costco's price was $1,299, about a third less than Omega's suggested retail price of $1,999.

Does anyone else think this sounds like Omega struck a deal selling thousands of watches to CostCo only to find out that when people saw them for $1300 they perceived a devaluation of the one they bought at the mall for two large? I mean, it sounds like Omega is trying to force CostCo to maintain a minimum profit margin. That's not capitalism. It's becoming more and more clear that copyright and capitalism are mutually exclusive concepts. And I'm guessing that this is some bizarre abuse of copyright that any foreign manufacturer could hold over the largest retailer/reseller's head. Evidently it happens on a smaller basis [amazon.com] with Omega.

Re:So Almost Nothing? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565268)

Why pick a Swiss watch? Why not go with something like a Nike football. [...] Furthermore the article notes CostCo but what about Wal-Mart and Target.

Because the case that the Court heard was between a Swiss watchmaker and Costco, not between Nike and Wal-Mart or Target.

Re:So Almost Nothing? (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565316)

You know you shouldn't discriminate against people that are shit faced. It is the law.

Only if they catch me (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564822)

Like speeding, just because a law exists doesn't mean I will obey it. If I want to convert my Watch to cash, I will find a way to do it.

Bradley Manning smiles and nods. (0)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564882)

Laws are legal, after all.

Re:Bradley Manning smiles and nods. (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564982)

So let me get this straight:

I'm a free citizen who merely wants to convert one type of property (watch) to another type of property (paper dollars), per my natural, inalienable rights as a Freeman. Your response is to compare me to a guy who is equivalent to Benedict Arnold (sharing secrets with a foreigner)??? I'd say your analogy is "fail"

Re:Bradley Manning smiles and nods. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565116)

You can call him that, I call him the only hero I can remember hearing about in recent history, and the only member of that military doing anything that I support. Period.

That aside, the point is the same. What he did was illegal, he did it anyway. he got caught, just like you technically could. He is being punished, just like you could. Or I could... I speed too.

The law is just a bunch of arbitrary rules enforced by a few men, for their own benefit. Its nothing that anyone should feel in any way bound to follow.

-Steve

SCOTUS is losing it. (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564832)

Nothing illustrates the collective ridiculousness of the current Supreme Court than this decision.

So now, foreign companies have vastly greater control of their products in your home than American companies do.

That is not exactly a decision that is in the best interest of the American people.

Re:SCOTUS is losing it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34564998)

Funny how I started to smell fish after reading this.

No precedential force (5, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564836)

The headline is overstating things a lot. The First-Sale Doctrine isn't lost overseas. Since this is a 4-4 tie decision by the Supreme Court, only the lower court decision is upheld. There is no precedential force behind the decision at all. Thus, the only thing that can be said about this is that Costco loses this particular instance, but the right of First-Sale overseas remains in effect since this decision isn't useful for any subsequent precedent.

http://www.slate.com/id/2109077/ [slate.com] --- A good analysis of what happens when a tied decision occurs.

Re:No precedential force (4, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564850)

For the curious, here's the actual decision.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1423.pdf [supremecourt.gov]

It's two sentences long and simply states:

"PER CURIAM
The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.

JUSTICE KAGAN took no part in the consideration or decision of this case."

Re:No precedential force (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565162)

And here is the original 9th circuit ruling [google.com] which does have precedent in that circuit, and will likely be referenced in other circuits.

Re:No precedential force (1)

alSeen (41006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565212)

I can't believe that I'm the only one that wants to know how the individual justices decided on this case. I can't find anything (not even on scotusblog) about which side each of the groups of four were on.

Re:No precedential force (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565228)

And you won't. It's a per curiam decision, so the Supreme Court issues the decision as a whole.

Re:No precedential force (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565308)

First giveth the inch. Now the lawyers will taketh the mile.

Since every Corp. that matters is global don't think for a fucking second that any american produced goods will be "purchased" from within the boarders of this country.

Also the SCOTUS is thinking about its Citizens. The Forbes 500 ones.

Re:No precedential force (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564894)

That makes little more sense. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:No precedential force (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564900)

Doesn't the Ninth Circuit decision stand as precedent within the Ninth Circuit's jurisdiction?

Re:No precedential force (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564968)

Yes, but a limited application of Right of First-Sale as a defense in 1 Circuit out of 13 Circuits is hardly the same as saying saying "First-Sale Doctrine" is lost overseas. This particular Supreme Court decision has no precedential force behind it.

Re:No precedential force (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565280)

So perhaps you can explain the part about the court issuing an order "granting no further cases". I, quite frankly, don't understand the meaning behind that statement, given the context.

Re:No precedential force (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565304)

So Kagan was recused from this case (among others)? What is the point in having nine jutices if one isn't going to participate when it counts? Too bad we can't add a 10th or 11th was "backup" justices.

leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34564838)

Does it applies to leaks ?

Idiocy (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564844)

Do they really think that anyone is going to care? You will see those watches resold. Good luck trying to stop people from reselling tangible goods.

Decision? (1)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564856)

What does a 4-4 decision mean, anyway? TFA called this a "non-decision" but if that's the case, what are we reading about besides some remarks on the issue? Anybody got any clarification, because the folks at Forbes' sure don't.

Re:Decision? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564892)

It means the ruling of the (lower) appeals court stands, which was against the first sale doctrine.

Re:Decision? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565050)

In the specific case, Omega wins, because they had won in the lower court.

However, this case doesn't have any precedential value going forward. It's basically a pass, the legal issues involved have not been decided by SCOTUS. The justices did not even write down their reasons, or say who voted which way. The judgment was literally something like, "We're split 50-50, so we're not deciding anything, whatever Ninth Circuit said is what we're going with, peace out." If another case exactly like this one reaches the Supreme Court next year, then assuming Kagan doesn't recuse herself again, we'll get a real decision. All we can really say about that is that it will probably be a 5-4 decision either way, since the justices are split 4-4 without Kagan.

Re:Decision? (1)

KarrdeSW (996917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565146)

It means that, in the absence of a definitive ruling from a higher court, the decision of the lower court will stand. So technically the decision is the same as that of the circuit court. The "news", I guess, is the fact that the power of the First-Sale doctrine will stand as diminished.

Good thing... (1)

wholestrawpenny (1809456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564878)

I bought my Omaega watch from Kazakhstan!

Holy moley (2)

bazmail (764941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564928)

Lol. Even in Iran you are allowed sell your stuff second hand without permission. What the fuck is going on over there in the states? I thought Obama would bring a new age of freedom, not bend you all over and make you give 2 good coughs.

Legitimate problem with grey market (3, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564932)

The problem with allowing third-party imports to be sold is that consumers will buy the items, expecting the manufacturer to support them (providing warranty service at a minimum). If the product in question is not sold directly domestically, then the manufacturer may not be prepared for the support. Further, the product may have been sold in a country where the cost and level of support is different.

The solution is to require that any imports not authorized by the manufacturer must be clearly advertised as not supported by the manufacturer, with all service provided by the importer.

Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565028)

That's about as dumb as the logic used by the court.

Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (1)

Okind (556066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565078)

The solution is to require that any imports not authorized by the manufacturer must be clearly advertised as not supported by the manufacturer, with all service provided by the importer.

Which is the law here in the Netherlands.

Say I buy an object from a seller. Then anything that's wrong with the object (and under warranty, whether by choice or by law) is a matter between me and the seller. The manufacturer has nothing to do with it directly. If they're going to be involved (which is likely), that's a matter between the seller and the manufacturer -- I have nothing to do with that.

Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565104)

The problem with allowing third-party imports to be sold is that consumers will buy the items, expecting the manufacturer to support them

So what? Either the manufacturer was going to support the product anyway, in another country, or they will not support the product, in which case the consumer should just be told that.

If the product in question is not sold directly domestically, then the manufacturer may not be prepared for the support.

Then tell the customers that, "this product does not come with any warranty or support." Oh, what, the poor manufacturer does not want their name tarnished by having people believe they do not stand behind their products? Then they should stand behind their products regardless of where they are sold.

Further, the product may have been sold in a country where the cost and level of support is different.

I would be more sympathetic if tech support was not being outsourced to third world countries.

The solution is to require that any imports not authorized by the manufacturer must be clearly advertised as not supported by the manufacturer, with all service provided by the importer.

Or better yet, the manufacturer could just ship a redeemable tech-support coupon that activates your support, so that the support is not transferred when the item is resold, unless it was not activated in the first place.

Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565110)

Car Analogy:

If I buy a car from another person (quite standard), and the company that made the car had to do a recall for something (maybe the brakes would fail), the company must provide support and fix the problem for free.

There is a reason for proof of purchase / receipt requirements for many maintenance calls, which is to solve the issue that you are discussing. I don't know of anyone that would buy a used car and automatically assume that it comes with the manufacturer warranty, unless it was "Certified" and sold by them directly.

Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565160)

You clearly only read the title and then drew your own conclusions.

Only goods made in the US? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564944)

Since it's only appled to goods made in the US, wouldn't it have been simpler for them to just list them? As in: {} (the null set)

Re:Only goods made in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565108)

Nokona gloves are made in the US. Best damn gloves on the market.

Elena Kagan (0)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564958)

is the reason for the 4-4 split. She recused herself because of having been the solicitor general of the US.

Having argued so many other cases for the RIAA^H^H^H^H Obama Administration, she'll be recusing herself a lot as cases work their way up to the court.

As opposed to Scalia (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565074)

Who refused to recuse himself when presiding over a case involving his good friend and hunting buddy, Dick Cheney.

Meanwhile "conservatives" lose their collective mind that Kagan might "support the RIAA/Hollywood" when in fact she behaves properly.

Re:Elena Kagan (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565250)

For a while, yes. But Kagan is only 50 years old. From a political standpoint, they may lose some cases that they didn't have to in the next few years, but they've gained somebody who will be in their court (heh heh) for decades.

Not making a value judgment on that; it's just political hardball same on both sides. I wish it were different. I would also like a pony.

The argument (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564964)

They've posted the audio and transcript of the oral argument online.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=08-1423 [supremecourt.gov]

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-1423.pdf [supremecourt.gov]

One might actually learn something from the actual arguments about what the decision means. The actual decision itself is uninformative: it just declares the circuit court's decision affirmed by a 4-4 vote. It doesn't even say who voted which way, though I bet you could infer it from looking at the transcript.

Not Imports (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34564996)

Everyone making ridiculous claims that this applies to all goods manufactured outside the US take a Chill pill. If it can be legally imported for sale to the US then the doctrine still applies. It's goods that are NOT imported for sale that cannot necessarily be resold. The summary is false and misleading.

Omega Watches For Sale !!! Buy Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565006)

while supplies [huffingtonpost.com] last !

Yours In St. Petersburg,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

Switzerland... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565012)

The US' legal lap-dog.

From the article linked to by the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565034)

"Such an even split among the Justices has the effect of upholding the lower court decision at issue, without setting a nationwide precedent."

What would that be? RTFAA? :(

What does this mean? (1)

klui (457783) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565048)

So the Dell notebook that's made in China cannot be resold? The article says this indecision would trigger more companies to move manufacturing overseas--way to go if they do that. I guess most corn-based products are safe but they're one-use.

What does a tie like this imply? The Supreme Court will hear a similar case again or they will ignore it?

Re:What does this mean? (1)

kdekorte (8768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565176)

What I think that this means is that Costco can't go to a distributor in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. where Omega watches are sold much cheaper than in the US, buy them, import them and then sell them at the store in the US.

Basically Costco is using the grey market to sell products cheaper. Omega wanted to block that, and to have Costco use an authorized Omega importer, that charges a whole lot more for the same item, because it is coming to the US.

This happens with drugs and other products all the time. The suggested retail price in the US is much higher than for the same item in a less affluent country. Omega wants to ensure that people in affluent countries pay more for items because they can.

Re:What does this mean? (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565216)

"Other products" - Especially college textbooks. Half of the people I knew would grab the international editions online just because they were a fraction of the price.

Not "your watch" (1)

worf_mo (193770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565072)

The following sentence from TFA might be worth pointing out:

The decision [...] has serious implications for U.S. retailers that obtain their goods on the gray market.

As fas as I see you are still free to sell you watch if you please. What you can't do is to turn selling watches into a business while getting these goods from the gray market.

Re:Not "your watch" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565252)

I think the only thing protecting you there is that it's not worth suing you over selling your watch. It's worth suing the guy selling a thousand of them.

Now the U.S. will be no better than the EU (2)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565094)

There they have a different system [wikipedia.org] where creators have more control of their works.

Any ideas??? (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565120)

I'm a bit confused by the wording of the ruling, does this apply to goods purchased online via a company outside of the country and shipped to me? For example, if I purchase a video games and/or consoles from a source outside my own country/region, does this mean I won't be able to sell these items at some later date if I so desire?

Can I say one thing... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565166)

FUCK YOU .gov

Get your guns Davey....Liberty is on a thin thread.

But nothing is made in the USA anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565202)

WTF? Nothing is made in the USA anymore, how does this help anyone?

I guess I`m stuck with my Touareg. I don`t mind. (1)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565222)

But still....

Implications are a bit more subtle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565238)

I'm guessing this has more to do with companies who go overseas, buy goods there at cheaper prices than a parent company would like to see them sold in the US (either new or used from people in that country who bought them) and then brings them back into the US to sell.

Think how inconvenient it would be for companies if they prices their goods differently in different countries and then someone circumvents that by moving the goods from a cheap market back into an expensive one. I'm guessing that's what's really at stake here, not whether someone can sell a souvenir they picked up in Europe (although of course the intent and the actual impact of things like this are often not the same... like too many things, selling the souvenir may be technically problematic and just overlooked because it is insignificant economically. Until someone in power wants to bother someone they don't like using the legal system, of course...)

The government no longer has any say in anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34565244)

and the power falls to the people of the United States when it is clear the government and the courts no longer are not only not in sync with the wishes of the people that give them permission to govern, but so far out that I, and indeed no sane man woman or child is ever only going to not follow their rules because they are so patently ridiculous and invoke 0 fear that any sane jury of my peers would ever find anyone guilty of a crime....ever. I've heard of a kangaroo court and now think a new term should be coined. A jester government. A government that makes laws that are so stupid and ridiculous that all you can do is scratch your head, laugh and move on. I don't know of anyone who would follow this law if they even were able to believe it was credulous. It doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Car Analogy (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565302)

It's like Ford or Dodge telling you that you cannot sell your vehicle.

I am sure someone has done a good job of making the water muddy on the specifics, but when you get down to it the manufactures never want you to own anything. The permanent dream is for you to always have to pay in pure rental agreement. Basically its the software model being forced onto the physical property model.

Yep just sitting here watching the idiots lose their freedoms one at a time while they continue to vote for their parties like there is a real different. Both seek to take your liberty away, they merely disagree on how to accomplish that!

Its not about the watches really.... (1)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565328)

I believe there is more here than Omega watches, imagine this applied to other 'copyrighted' items, like a Sony game, a Warner Bros Movie, a Telarc CD, a Apple computer.....
If this decision was broadly applied to all resale (new or used) its a mess that only the corporations could love, in effect it invalidates ownership and turns it into licensing.

Why 4-4? Because Kagan recused due to S.G. (5, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565336)

For the 81 cases listed for the October Term 2010 [scotusblog.com] , Kagan [wikipedia.org] is recused 31 times or 38% of the cases.

Why? Partly because she was the Solicitor General [npr.org] :

SHAPIRO: How common is it for a new justice to have to recuse from the number of cases that Kagan is recusing herself from?

TOTENBERG: Well, it's not common because, at least more recently, we haven't had top Justice Department officials migrating to the court. But it's happened many times in our history. Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was solicitor general, for example, recused himself from about half the cases the court heard in his first year. But that high number was largely because he remained SG until he was confirmed.

And Kagan didn't do that. She stopped being SG right after her nomination. So, this high number of recusals, I think, is front loaded. She'll probably be recused from about a third of the docket this year, and then next year her recusals will plummet to zero or something close to that.

One interesting thing, Ari, is that there are a number of cases that she's reused herself from that she really had nothing to do with. And these are cases that generally involve commercial disputes. And the Justice Department filed a notice that it was taking no position, and these are just routine evaluations. They're done by lower-level lawyers but she signed the filing, so she's taking herself out of those cases.

SHAPIRO: And when she's recused and there are eight justices on the Supreme Court, what happens then?

TOTENBERG: Well, the case goes forward, as usual. And if there's a four-to-four tie, the lower court opinion is automatically affirmed without the Supreme Court issued any opinion, then presumably the issue can come up in another case, later, where Kagan can participate.

Wait... (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34565338)

So a company, for example a book publisher, can move manufacturing overseas and require distributors to purchase from their overseas location? Then those books can be prohibited from resale?

Wouldn't this provide a major financial incentive to move any remaining manufacture and sales out of the U.S.?

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