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Vernor v. Autodesk

Public Citizen represented an eBay vendor in a case against Autodesk, a California-based software company. The suit alleged that Autodesk used its copyright to suppress competition from the sale of used copies of its products online, leading to higher prices for consumers. Although Autodesk claimed that its shrink-wrap license prohibits resale of its products, Public Citizen argued that the contract language is unlawful under the Copyright Act, which guarantees that the owner of a copyrighted product can resell that product without permission. In October 2009, the district court ruled that Autodesk sells, rather than licenses, its software, and therefore that Vernor is permitted to resell it. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. We filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the Court denied.