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Supreme Court Affirms Doctrine of Patent Exhaustion, Limiting the Ability of Patent Owners to Collect Multiple Royalties

June 11, 2008

By Terry D. Garnett, Vincent K. Yip, Maxwell A. Fox and Peter J. Wied

On June 9, 2008, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Quanta Computer Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., reaffirming the longstanding doctrine of patent exhaustion. At issue was what rights patent owners retain after an authorized sale of a patented product. This case marks the first time the Supreme Court had addressed the issue of patent exhaustion since its 1942 decision in United States v. Univis Lens Co.