Selling a Product Exhausts All Patent Rights

In a recent 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court held that selling or licensing a product exhausts all patent rights in the item, “regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose or the location of the sale.” This means that post-sale restrictions on an item covered by the seller’s patent may be enforced, if at all, only under contract law. The case arose from printer manufacturer Lexmark’s use of patent infringement claims to enforce its prohibition on re-filling and re-selling used Lexmark cartridges.

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