International Property Owners Group Argues in Favor of Lexmark in Impression Products’ Case

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Law360 reports that another organization has come out in support of Lexmark International in the contentious Impression Products Inc. v. Lexmark International Inc. case that is scheduled to shortly be heard by the United States Supreme Court.

The Intellectual Property Owners Association, a trade association, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last Wednesday, arguing in an amicus brief that the court should uphold the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision that overseas sales of a product don’t exhaust a patent owner’s right to sue in the United States.

According to Law306:

“The trade association, which represents entities that own and license intellectual property rights, told the court it should avoid upending well-established patent-law precedents and affirm that patent owners should be given flexibility to control the way products are used after they’re sold.

‘That holding will provide the parties to sales and license contracts maximum flexibility to arrive at commercially feasible and pro-competitive arrangements,” according to the brief.'”

The Intellectual Property Owners Association argued that giving patent holders the right to reasonably oversee the life of a product “is in everyone’s best interest,” noting ““Allowing a patentee to exercise control over end products incorporating patented technology by imposing restrictions on, for example, quality or resale, protects the consuming public and the patentee’s reputation.

The group told the justices that overturning the Federal Circuit’s decision, which concluded a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that foreign sales exhaust copyrights has no impact on patent law, would have a disruptive effect.

“Recognizing international patent exhaustion undercuts the incentive to innovate and market patented articles abroad, stifling foreign commerce and its benefits in both the developed and developing world,” the brief said.

Law360 also reports that earlier this month, Lexmark filed its own brief, arguing that Impression Products “is basically seeking to establish “an unalterable rule” that would have impractical implications, and that under Impression Products’ requests, “every patentee-authorized sale of a patented article anywhere in the world, no matter what the agreed terms of sale, must transfer all U.S. patent rights over that article.”

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