First Sale Doctrine in Copyrights and Trademarks

Strategies to Maintain IP Rights Throughout the Supply Chain

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide guidance on understanding the first sale doctrine for counsel to companies in the supply chain. The panel will discuss when and where the doctrine applies, recent case law developments, and effective approaches to protect IP rights.


While the first sale doctrine may appear straightforward, recent court decisions have questioned its application. The doctrine protects the resale of copyrighted or trademarked goods. However, if there is a likelihood of confusion, it will not apply.

Copyright owners have the right to prevent infringing goods from being imported into the U.S., but lawful purchasers of copyrighted goods have the right to resell those goods. The location of the goods' manufacturer can make the difference in determining which party controls the fate of the goods.

U.S. companies frequently manufacture their goods overseas and have discovered that practice can lead to unanticipated results when it comes to the first sale doctrine.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys examines the first sale doctrine, discusses recent developments in the case law, and outlines when and where the doctrine applies. The panel will offer their insights and guidance on best practices for protecting IP rights.



  1. First sale doctrine recent developments
    1. Competing interpretations of section 109(a)
    2. Omega v. Costco Wholesale Corp. (9th Cir. 2010)
    3. Au-Tomotive Gold Inc. v. Volkswagen of America Inc. (9th Cir. 2010)
    4. Pearson Education Inc. v. Liu (SDNY 2009)
  2. Application of the first sale doctrine
    1. When and where it applies
    2. Triggers that can result in loss of protection under First Sale doctrine
    3. Post-sale confusion and free-rider
  3. Best practices for protecting IP rights
    1. Policing copyrights and trademarks
    2. Use of disclaimers


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • When and where does the first sale doctrine apply?
  • What rule controls when copyrighted or trademarked goods are purchased outside the U.S. and then imported?
  • What steps can companies and counsel take to strengthen the first sale defense?


Andrew P. Bridges
Andrew P. Bridges

Winston & Strawn

He litigates and counsels clients in high-stakes and complex commercial matters relating primarily to trademark,...  |  Read More

Lynn M. Humphreys
Lynn M. Humphreys

Of Counsel
Morrison & Foerster

She focuses her practice on intellectual property counseling and litigation involving trademark, copyright,...  |  Read More

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