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The End of OwnershipPersonal Property in the Digital Economy$
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Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035019

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035019.001.0001

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Patents and the Ordinary Pursuits of Life

Patents and the Ordinary Pursuits of Life

(p.155) 9 Patents and the Ordinary Pursuits of Life
The End of Ownership

Aaron Perzanowski

Jason Schultz

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the battle for control between patent owners and purchasers of patented devices. By proclaiming users who violated the use restrictions as patent infringers, patent owners impose various kinds of conditions on purchasers’ use of their devices. The Supreme Court adhered to the principle of patent exhaustion and held in an 1852 case that once a patented good was sold, the patent owner could not interfere with the rights of purchasers to use it in the “ordinary pursuits of life.” While the Court stood firmly behind this principle for over 150 years, in recent years, with technological innovations like self-replicating technologies and with the development of international commerce, the common law principle of patent exhaustion is under attack. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will address the issue of patent exhaustion in future cases.

Keywords:   Patent exhaustion, Mallinckrodt v. Medipart, Self-replicating technology, International exhaustion, Lexmark

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