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A US Supreme Court Case to watch concerning refilling!

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by turbguy, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. Dec 3, 2016
    turbguy

    turbguy Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Per today's NY Times:

    Supreme Court to Hear Printer Cartridge Patent Case



    By ADAM LIPTAKDEC. 2, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether Lexmark International, which makes toner cartridges for use in its printers, can use patent law to stop companies from refilling and selling the cartridges.

    • The case, Impression Products v. Lexmark International, No. 15-1189, will decide how much control patent holders have over how their products are used after they are sold.

      Lexmark sold the cartridges in question on the condition that they not be reused after the ink ran out. Impression Products, a small company in Charleston, W.Va., nonetheless bought Lexmark cartridges in the United States and abroad, refurbished them and sold them more cheaply than Lexmark does.

      Lexmark sued for patent infringement, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized court in Washington, accepted both of its main arguments.

      The appeals court acknowledged that the general rule is that buyers of patented products can do with them what they wish. But it said the conditions Lexmark placed on the sale of its cartridges could be enforced as a matter of patent law.

      The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to hear the case, saying that ruling was mistake.

      “For more than 150 years, this court has held that, once a particular patented article has been sold in the United States by the patentee or with his authorization, the patent laws do not constrain the subsequent use or resale of that article,” the administration’s brief said.

      The appeals court also ruled on foreign sales, saying that patent holders could control what was done with their products after they were sold abroad and re-imported by buyers like Impression Products. That ruling may be in tension with a 2013 Supreme Court decision in a copyright case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that it was lawful to import and resell textbooks that were first sold abroad.

      Advocacy groups including Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a brief supporting Impression Products, saying Lexmark’s approach was part of a disquieting trend.

      “Product manufacturers have routinely attempted to expand their rights under intellectual property law to restrict the spread of information about their products and to prevent customers from using their devices in new and useful ways,” the brief said. “The court should ensure that patent law does not provide a road map to legitimize such practices.”

      In another brief supporting Impression Products, Intel expressed concern about the potential consequences of the federal appeals court’s ruling on foreign sales.

      “High-technology products are often designed in one country, manufactured in another, assembled into finished products in a third, and then shipped around the world,” the brief said. “These high-technology products include components covered by thousands of different patents.”

      “Under the decision below,” the brief said, “a U.S. patent owner could sell its technology for use in such a component, and then turn around and sue the end-user for infringement when the finished product is sold in the United States.”


     
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  2. Dec 4, 2016
    Roy Sletcher

    Roy Sletcher Printer Master Platinum Printer Member

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    Could be interesting, especially as SCOTUS currently has only 8 justices. Does that mean they need 5/3 to get a majority decision? What happens if a 4/4 split decision?

    Will refilling become like the old world moonshiners, refilling at night in the hills to hide from the lawman? :(


    rs
     
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  3. Dec 4, 2016
    stratman

    stratman Printer VIP Platinum Printer Member

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    Yes.

    End of appeal. The lower court's decision stands, meaning the previous ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the final judgement.

    If the analogy with toner cartridges were followed then it would be reuse of the bottles the legal booze came in originally, cleaned up and filled with something other than the OEM's beverage. It is a good thing this wasn't a case of refurbishing spent toner since that would mean the anaolgy require reclaiming urine after the alcohol is consumed. :sick

    It is legal in the US to distill your own moonshine (spirits) as long as you have a permit. Paying taxes figures in somewhere along the way. Homemade beer and wine for personal consumption that is not for sale are legal up to certain gallon amounts per year per household. (https://www.ttb.gov/faqs/genalcohol.shtml)
     
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