A patent holder that restricts the reuse or resale of its printer ink cartridges can’t invoke patent law against a remanufacturing company that violates the restriction, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
The court ruled that Lexmark International’s patent rights are exhausted with its first sale of the cartridges, despite restrictions it tried to impose.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the opinion (PDF), joined in full by six justices. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch didn’t participate in the case.
The court ruled in Lexmark’s infringement suit against Impression Products for refurbishing and reselling Lexmark cartridges.
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