The Federal Circuit’s Lexmark decision confirms that foreign sales do not exhaust U.S. patent rights and that post-sale restrictions are permissible

February 23, 2016

In its much anticipated en banc decision in Lexmark International v. Impression Products, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reaffirmed its prior rulings that (1) overseas sales of a product do not exhaust a patent owner’s patent rights under U.S. law and within the U.S., and (2) the sale of a patented article, when made under a restriction that is otherwise lawful and within the scope of the patent grant, does not give rise to patent exhaustion. In doing so, the Federal Circuit rejected arguments for overruling its precedents based on the Supreme Court’s decision concerning exhaustion in the copyright context in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley and the Supreme Court’s ruling concerning patent exhaustion in Quanta Computer v. LG Electronics.