Avoiding Patent Immortality for Self-Replicating Technologies


The Supreme Court in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc. reaffirmed the principle that the authorized sale of a patented item exhausts patent protection as to that particular item. However, it is unclear how the patent exhaustion/first sale doctrine should apply in the context of self-replicating technology, such as genetically modified or transgenic seed. Especially given the extreme results possible in cases such as Monsanto Co. v. Bowman, this article proposes that contract law rather than patent law should govern the patent holder’s rights in an object embodying self-replicating technology after an authorized sale.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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