"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, June 08, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on First Sale and Patent Exhaustion Doctrines

We previously posted at Law Pundit about Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc.: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments: First Sale and the Patent Exhaustion Doctrine

and

First Sale and the Patent Exhaustion Doctrine in the Resale and Use of Printer Ink Cartridges

The (virtually) unanimous 8-0, 7-1 May 30, 2017 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts holds that the patent exhaustion doctrine applies to all products sold, domestically and abroad (Ginsburg dissenting on the latter), and that patents can thus not be used to circumvent the first sale doctrine.

Our previous analysis was thus once again proven correct, as it has been for many years in predicting U.S. Supreme Court reversals of what we have regarded to be clearly erroneous Federal Circuit Court decisions in the patent sphere.

For a detailed analysis of this eminently important patent case, see Patently-O: Impression v. Lexmark: Patent Rights Exhausted by Sale, Domestic or Abroad.

The "international" patent rule voiced here by the Supreme Court follows the same general and inexorable legal logic applied regarding the limitation on copyrights expressed in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, 568 U.S. 519, 133 S. Ct. 1351 (2013).