Costco v. Omega
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that pits the Swiss watchmaker
Omega against Costco over the warehouse club’s sales of the company’s timepieces
bought on the "gray market."
The case has made its way to the top court after a lower court sided with
Omega in the dispute. The watchmaker asserted it could restrict Costco’s sales
of its products because its symbol appears on each item and the logo is protected
under U.S. copyright law.
In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled that copyright protection does not
apply to products made in the U.S. that are sold outside the country and later
imported back for resale. What makes the current case different is that Omega
manufactures its watches outside the U.S.
Costco, which bought the watches from distributors and sold them below prevailing
market rates, has said that Omega is simply looking to use the copyright to
control who sells its products and at what price,
Discussion Questions: Is
the gray market a legitimate means for retailers to obtain goods from overseas
for resale in the U.S.? What control, if any, should manufacturers have over
the prices charged by retailers?
- Costco v. Omega Tests Power Of A Logo – Forbes.com
Court agrees to hear case about Costco selling Omega watches at discount
– The Seattle Times
top court to hear Costco-Swatch copyright case – Reuters