February 18, 2015


Helferich licensed relevant portions of its patent portfolio to mobile handset manufacturers. Then it turned around and sued content providers that feed users through their handsets. In a whitewash ruling, Judge John W. Darrah of Illinois district court found non-infringement via exhaustion. A CAFC panel (2014-1196) reversed that sloppiness, noting that the lower court "did not focus on the particulars of any of Helferich's claims." "We see no sound basis for expanding exhaustion doctrine to hold that authorized sales to persons practicing the handset claims exhaust the patentee's rights to enforce the asserted content claims against different persons."

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:39 AM | Exhaustion

May 21, 2013

Going To Seed

In Bowman v. Monsanto, the Supreme Court creates a glaring exception to patent law as a boon to corporate power. Such plutocratic largesse is the norm, as is ignoring facts to rule by bias, while crafting law from the bench without respect to statute. The abject corruption of the courts in this country continues.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:31 PM | Exhaustion

September 21, 2011

Down On The Farm

Vernon Hugh Bowman bought and planted Monsanto's patented soy seeds for his first crop. For his late-season second crop, which he considered "riskier planting," he skimped and "purchased commodity seed from a local grain elevator." He applied the same toxic and ecologically devastating Monsanto herbicide, finding, to his satisfaction, that the second-crop seed survived. Hayseed Bowman even told Monsanto of his experience. His candor got him sued for patent infringement.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:29 PM | Exhaustion

April 19, 2011

Not A Rembrandt

Rembrandt got its hands on some old patents: 5,602,869 & 5,844,944. But Rembrandt recognizing previous owners and licensees eluded it on a greedy rush to a payday. Not to mention ersatz claims drafting. Rembrandt sued AOL and a slew of telecommunications companies for infringing an industry standard, the V.34 modem protocol. The protocol to payday didn't go Rembrandt's way.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:28 PM | Exhaustion

June 1, 2010

Photo Finish

Jack C. Benun must really have wanted to be in pictures. Benun had a string of companies in film roll processing (lens-fitted film packages (LFFPs)), which digital technology has rendered obsolete. In the process of processing, Benun infringed Fujifilm patents. This episode, after injunction, interdicted shipment, illicit re-importation, bankruptcy, damages, and a finding of contempt, "is the sixth appeal from decisions finding liability for infringing Fuji's LFFP patents by Benun and companies under his control."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:09 PM | Damages

September 16, 2008


Hapless Excelstor, a Chinese company, wanted to sue its patent licensor, Papst, for not notifying it of a patent license agreement that Papst had for the same patent Excelstor licensed. The district court pitched the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The appeals court affirmed, with a bit of patent law 101, namely, that the patent exhaustion doctrine is not a cause of action.

Continue reading "Inexhaustible"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:47 PM | Exhaustion

June 9, 2008


Justice Thomas, delivering the 9-0 opinion in Quanta v. LG Electronics:

For over 150 years this Court has applied the doctrine of patent exhaustion to limit the patent rights that survive the initial authorized sale of a patented item. In this case, we decide whether patent exhaustion applies to the sale of components of a patented system that must be combined with additional components in order to practice the patented methods. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the doctrine does not apply to method patents at all and, in the alternative, that it does not apply here because the sales were not authorized by the license agreement. We disagree on both scores. Because the exhaustion doctrine applies to method patents, and because the license authorizes the sale of components that substantially embody the patents in suit, the sale exhausted the patents.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:22 PM | Exhaustion

March 1, 2008

Pedaling Exhaustion

John Osborne at Morgan & Finnegan argues for reversal in his article: "Justice Breyer's Bicycle and the Ignored Elephant of Patent Exhaustion: An Avoidable Collision in Quanta v. LGE "-

The parties and amici in Quanta v. LGE have proposed either (1) eliminating any ability to restrict downstream use of a product made under a patent (Petitioners) or (2) allowing an essentially unfettered right to restrict a purchaser's use rights by contract (Respondent). Both approaches ignore the actual rights granted to a patentee by statute.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:26 PM | Exhaustion

January 16, 2008

Exhaustion Exasperated

Today's oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Quanta v. LG over patent exhaustion were exasperating, if you thought patents should always be exhausted by first sale. Maureen Mahoney, on behalf of Quanta, attempting to exhaust, was so scripted she could hardly do more than spit case law citations. Thomas Hunger, U.S. Government lapdog, ostensibly arguing for Quanta's position, that a patent exhausts with first sale, regardless of contractual terms, sounded so mixed up that he prompted Chief Justice Roberts to observe: "That would sound like your friend on the other side, the Respondent, had actually won in this case."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:38 PM | Exhaustion | Comments (7)

November 16, 2007

Good Ole Exhaustion

Consumers Union (CU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a joint brief to the Supreme Court strongly urging the court to overrule the misguided Mallinckrodt line of cases, thereby restoring the traditional patent exhaustion doctrine.

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Posted by Mr. Platinum at 2:26 PM | Exhaustion | Comments (1)

July 7, 2006


LGE sued several OEMs for patent infringement in selling computer systems. The OEMs had bought Intel microprocessors, which where under LGE license, but then combined them with non-licensed components. The license excluded such combination, thus opening the door for infringement assertion. But an 1873 ruling states that "[A]n unconditional sale of a patented device exhausts the patentee's right to control the purchaser's use of the device thereafter," providing the basis for the district court to grant summary judgment of noninfringement on system claims. There were also claim construction disputes. The appeals court differed from the district court in instances, particularly in regard to patent exhaustion.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:30 PM | Claim Construction