By  on April 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has made decisions and reviewed several key cases involving industry- related matters.

Among the most important were:

• Inwood Laboratories v. Ives Laboratories, 1982: The court found that companies and other sellers not directly responsible for trademark infringement by third parties such as online auction sites could still be held responsible for it. Brands have used the case to target flea market owners and landlords who allow counterfeiters to sell on their property.

• Nike Inc. v. Kasky, 2003: After hearing oral arguments, the court dismissed the case in which Nike sought free-speech protections for its public defense against allegations that Nike products were manufactured in Southeast Asian sweatshops. The accusation was made by San Francisco activist Mark Kasky. The court said it didn’t have enough information about the facts of the case and left unanswered the question of whether corporations have constitutional free speech protections.

• Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2007: The court ruled that victims of wage discrimination must file a complaint within 180 days of their first paycheck or lose the right to sue. Last year, Congress passed legislation that superseded the court’s decision and allows employees to sue as long as they file within 180 days of any paycheck deemed discriminatory.

• Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc. v. PSKS Inc., 2007: A landmark case in which the court gave apparel brands the ability to set minimum prices. A bill approved by House and Senate committees would supersede the court’s ruling and reinstate an almost century-old ban on minimum pricing agreements, shifting power on setting prices from apparel brands back to retailers.

• American Needle Inc. v. National Football League, et al., 2009: An antitrust case involving exclusive licensing agreements between apparel makers and professional sports leagues. The court heard oral arguments in January but has not issued a decision.

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