Omega v. Costco Wholesale Corp.
September 08, 2008
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.