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Right to resell foreign made goods in the USA

LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
edited December 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/12/first-sale-under-siege-if-you-bought-it-you-should-own-it

Worth a quick read, an upcoming Supreme Court case counts, even for LEGO.

I bought this up a few months ago, and the general mood of the thread at the time was, "this is copyright, for books, doesn't count for a physical good like LEGO".

Well, here is the rub. If this court case is lost, any foreign made good (which includes LEGO that has a copyright anything on it (and LEGO boxes DO have a copyright on the box), cannot be resold as NEW or USED without permission of the copyright holder.

Sounds insane, right? First sale and all that? Well, this case challenges "first-sale" and seeks to limit it to US made goods only.

Ironicly, this will give the remaining US manafactures a reason to move overseas, go figure.

But the key is that if TLG so desired, they could put a stop to the resale of LEGO, even used LEGO.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/10/parade-horribles-supreme-court-first-sale-kirtsaeng-v-wiley

Comments

  • Ma1234Ma1234 Member Posts: 693
    This case is irrelevant and of no concern here.

    Further, the copyright of LEGO is on the physical box, stickers and instruction booklet, and not the actual set. A toy is protected by a combination of utility patents (the individual bricks) and design patents (the combination of bricks that make the set). Copyright doesn't come into play.

    I am a licensed attorney, and formerly worked primarily in trademark/copyright.
  • spacefan6901spacefan6901 Member Posts: 17
    I could inject something here about shills for corporatist 1%ers, but this is not really the forum for that sort of discussion.

    Let's just stick to LEGO here.

    Doesn't TLG claim a trademark of the "studs & knobs" design of the LEGO bricks? That is their fallback position since most of the actual brick patents have expired.

    (Similar to how Apple claims they have copyright / trademark protection of the physical appearance of their products, and sue companies that bring out tablet PCs that have rounded corners instead of square ones.)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Ma1234 said:

    This case is irrelevant and of no concern here.

    Further, the copyright of LEGO is on the physical box, stickers and instruction booklet, and not the actual set. A toy is protected by a combination of utility patents (the individual bricks) and design patents (the combination of bricks that make the set). Copyright doesn't come into play.

    I am a licensed attorney, and formerly worked primarily in trademark/copyright.

    Thank you for the post.

    Does that mean that you could sell the bricks used, but not the box, manual, or stickers? Could TLG not stop the sale of those items?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Ma1234 said:

    Further, to add, EFF is leftist and, therefore naturally, dishonest and misleading. It is trying to take a narrow issue - digital rights - and applying it to a wider set of circumstances (I.e. the ridiculous shampoo example) than any real world application would.

    EFF is one of the few leftist entities that I support.

    Left to their own devices, corporations would restrict the freedom of information the Internet provides.

    I am all for profit, but there is also the balance of public good. Corporations (and myself) have a right to make a profit, but not at the expense of harming society.
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 318
    Even if most LEGO sets are unaffected because there is no copyright on the sets (only printed materials), it could still affect Mindstorms sets and possibly trains. Those sets include PC software and/or embedded software, both of which generally carry copyrights.
  • Ma1234Ma1234 Member Posts: 693
    edited December 2012

    Ma1234 said:

    This case is irrelevant and of no concern here.

    Further, the copyright of LEGO is on the physical box, stickers and instruction booklet, and not the actual set. A toy is protected by a combination of utility patents (the individual bricks) and design patents (the combination of bricks that make the set). Copyright doesn't come into play.

    I am a licensed attorney, and formerly worked primarily in trademark/copyright.

    Thank you for the post.

    Does that mean that you could sell the bricks used, but not the box, manual, or stickers? Could TLG not stop the sale of those items?
    Technically, it could mean that. In reality, it won't, because no law so broad and oversweeping would ever pass judicial muster. EFF is ignoring legal common sense in its propaganda.

    And, yes, companies use trademark and trade dress to protect basic design elements. It doesn't always work, but the protection exists.



  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272
    Ma1234 said:

    This case is irrelevant and of no concern here.

    Further, the copyright of LEGO is on the physical box, stickers and instruction booklet, and not the actual set. A toy is protected by a combination of utility patents (the individual bricks) and design patents (the combination of bricks that make the set). Copyright doesn't come into play.

    I am a licensed attorney, and formerly worked primarily in trademark/copyright.

    I disagree with the points above.

    Look at the precedent set in Omega v. Costco. Costco was prohibited from importing Omega watches due to the U.S. copyright protected image on the back of the watch. The prohibition wasn't due to utility patents, design patents, or trademarks for that matter. It was solely because of a copyrighted engraving that wasn't even visible when the watch was worn as intended.

    Even if the copyright is only on the "physical box, stickers, and instruction booklet" that would be sufficient to prohibit resale of those items. It would be trivial for TLG to take the small additional step of adding a small copyright protected image to each part (say on the stud).

    I also disagree with characterizing the EFF as "leftist" in any way. The EFF is primarily libertarian, as were many of the early homesteaders of the internet, and exists solely to protect digital rights. I've never seen the EFF take a simple left or right position on any issue.
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