When a patent owner sells a product the sale exhausted patent rights regardless of any restrictions the patentee attempts to impose on location of the sale.
Earlier this morning the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., a case requiring the Court to revisit the patent exhaustion doctrine. In an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, and joined by all members of the Court except Justice Ginsburg (concurring in part and dissenting in part) and Justice Gorsuch (taking no part in the case), the Supreme Court determined that when a patent owner sells a product the sale exhausted patent rights in the item being sold regardless of any restrictions the patentee attempts to impose on the location of the sale. In other words, a sale of a patented product exhausts all rights — both domestic and international.
– This is great news for innovation and companies that offer value on other companies’ products. It represents an almost unique show of sanity in patent law.