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Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from software reseller

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t reopen a decision blocking an online merchant from selling unopened secondhand software.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Timothy S. Vernor, who wanted to sell unopened software made by Autodesk Inc., on eBay.

The Supreme Court has ruled that copyright holders can’t prevent a buyer from reselling or renting a product after an initial sale. That principle, called the first sale doctrine, allows used book and music stores to operate.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the original purchasers of Autodesk were licensees, not owners of the software. The judges said that means the first-sale doctrine didn’t apply and Vernor could not resell the software.

The case is Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., 10- 1421.