The Court of Torino on the First Sale Doctrine

The Court of Torino lately has applied the First Sale Doctrine, which limits the exclusive right of an IPR holder in the market. In trademark law, this same doctrine enables reselling of trademarked products after the trademark holder put the products on the market. 

The case concerned the preventive requests proposed by a company operating on the cosmetics market. The firm aimed to inhibit the use of the company’s brand and the marketing of products by some assignees.

Italian law states that the exclusive right exercised by IPR holder on a product runs out at its first placing on the market and thus the right holder can not oppose following commercialization.

The rationale behind this rule, as the judge said, is to prevent brand owner to influence market trends of products covered by trade mark.

The only exception to this rule is the occurrence of unfair commercial practices carried out by dealers, who can arrange terms of sale detrimental for brand prestige. This type of practices can also lead to a drawback in terms of attractiveness and economic value of the product.

Except in these cases, all those who are entitled to use the trade mark and to distribute relative products shouldn’t be impeded in their business, either for the selling price or for the sales system. 

Therefore restrictions against distributors, relating to e-commerce sales and the application of discounts on the price, would be improper and unjustified.

According to the Court these sales condition don’t constitute a per se discredit practices.