United StatesSupreme Court takes a second look at patent exhaustion, but is it déjà vu again?

In its much-anticipated decision in Quanta Computer, Inc v LG Electronics, Inc (128 S Ct 2109 (2008)), the US Supreme Court – addressing the patent exhaustion doctrine after a 60-year hiatus – repeated its earlier Univis rule that “the initial authorized sale of a patented item terminates all patent rights to that item”. Because Quanta may generate renewed interest in the exhaustion doctrine, it is important that patent portfolio managers and practitioners understand the origins of this doctrine and the specific analysis in Quanta, to help them deal with potential patent exhaustion issues that might surface when drafting licence agreements, and in planning patent enforcement and settlement strategies.

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