In the most recent Supreme Court term, justices heard oral arguments and granted certiorari on several cutting-edge questions of intellectual property law. The court is poised to clarify the legality of importing copyrighted material for domestic sale as well as the use of “covenants not to sue” to pre-empt counterclaims challenging the validity of patents. Moreover, the court recently agreed to review two potentially blockbuster cases concerning certain antitrust law applications to generic-drug manufacturing and the patentability of the human genetic code — two cases that could have huge ramifications for the way new scientific techniques and products are developed and marketed.
In 2007 and 2008, a Thai immigrant named Supap Kirtsaeng imported educational textbooks published in Thailand by Wiley Asia, a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary of the American textbook manufacturer John Wiley & Sons Inc. Kirtsaeng sold these textbooks on eBay.com and other similar websites to help finance his own education, amassing almost $100,000. Such sales are commonly referred to as “grey market” sales because of their uncertain legality.
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