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Description de l’éditeur

The doctrine of patent exhaustion limits the ability of a patentee to control the disposition of a patented article after the item is sold. In some instances, however, patentees may contract with buyers in order to exercise downstream control of patented items. When and to what extent patentees may use contract law to limit patent exhaustion, generally through restrictive licenses or conditions at the time of sale, (1) remains an open question. (2) The Supreme Court has not articulated a bright-line test for determining when the transfer (3) of an item from a patentee triggers the doctrine of patent exhaustion. Last Term, in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., (4) the Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed that an unrestricted sale of a patented good triggers patent exhaustion. The Court's decision, however, does not squarely address the underlying question of whether a patentee may impose restrictions or conditions through licenses or other notice at the time of sale. By declining to address this issue directly, the Court left open at least two potentially competing interpretations of how the exhaustion doctrine should deal with restrictions or conditions. As a result, lower courts have insufficient guidance to apply the Court's holding consistently and correctly. LG Electronics (LG) owns a number of computer technology patents, three of which were at issue in Quanta. (5) Simply stated, these patents deal with technology and processes for transferring information to and from random access memory (RAM). (6) LG licensed the patents to Intel, authorizing Intel to manufacture and sell processors and chipsets that used the LG-patented technology. (7) Specifically, the LG-Intel License Agreement authorized Intel to "make, use, sell (directly or indirectly), offer to sell, import or otherwise dispose of" Intel products that practiced the licensed patents. (8) The License Agreement went on to limit the scope of the license with respect to third parties, stating that no license may be

Professionnel et technique
22 mars
Harvard Society for Law and Public Policy, Inc.

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