SoftMan Products Co. v. Adobe Systems Inc.

SoftMan Products Co. V. Adobe Systems Inc.

Court Case
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SoftMan Products Co. v. Adobe Systems Inc.

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SoftMan Products Co. v. Adobe Systems Inc. was a lawsuit heard in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 2001 by Judge Dean D. Pregerson.

Adobe Systems contended in a counterclaim that the original plaintiff, SoftMan, distributed unauthorized Adobe software, specifically Adobe Educational software and sold individual units the software titles that were purchased from Adobe as a single boxed "Collection". Adobe claimed that these actions are infringing Adobe's copyright and violate Adobe's terms of service. Adobe also alleged SoftMan of trademark violation by distributing incomplete versions of their software.

Judge Pregerson ruled that Adobe has sold its software instead of licensed the software. Thus under the first-sale doctrine, Adobe can not control how SoftMan resells those particular copies of Adobe software after the initial sale. The Court also found that SoftMan had not infringed on the EULA because SoftMan had never run the program and therefore never assented to the terms. In addition, the Court found that factual disputes exist on whether the separately sold copies are materially different from the original copies, which is central to Adobe's trademark claim. Since Adobe was unable to demonstrate a likelihood of success on both copyright and trademark claims, the Court denied Adobe's application for a preliminary injunction against SoftMan.


Adobe produces a suite of publishing software. SoftMan sells various...
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