Supreme Court to Address Limits of Patent Exhaustion in Lexmark Case

December 9, 2016

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review the limits of the patent exhaustion doctrine, granting certiorari in Impression Products v. Lexmark (2015-1189) on December 2. Petitioner Impression Products, a reseller of refurbished printer ink cartridges, argues that a patentee cannot sidestep patent exhaustion through restrictions on re-sale and re-use, on the basis that the Supreme Court’s decision in Quanta v. LG Electronics overruled the Federal Circuit’s holding in Mallinckrodt v. Medipart. In addition, Impression has asserted that patent exhaustion also applies to foreign sales, claiming that the Supreme Court’s holding in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons as to copyright exhaustion is also controlling in the patent context.

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