Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Adopts International Exhaustion of Patent Rights

Just a few minutes ago, the Court reversed the Federal Circuit's decision in Impression Products v. Lexmark International.  From the opinion by Chief Justice Roberts:
This case presents two questions about the scope of the patent exhaustion doctrine: First, whether a patentee that sells an item under an express restriction on the purchaser’s right to reuse or resell the product may enforce that restriction through an infringement lawsuit. And second, whether a patentee exhausts its patent rights by selling its product outside the United States, where American patent laws do not apply. We conclude that a patentee’s decision to sell a product exhausts all of its patent rights in that item, regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose or the location of the sale.
I'll start reading the full opinion and may have more to say about it later in the day.  My initial reaction is one of disappointment, for reasons previously stated here.

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