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Quanta v. LGE ruling by US Supreme Court on 9 June 2008

(Redirected from Quanta v. LGE (2008, USA))

Quanta v. LGE is a 2008 decision by the US Supreme Court which had a big influence on patent exhaustion.

NOTE: this page is very incomplete. It currently serves as a place to document the case to see if there are important aspects for software patents.

The context

  • LGE purchased patents
  • LGE licensed those patents to Intel
  • Quanta purchased chips from Intel
  • Quanta sold computers with the Intel chips plus non-Intel chips
  • LGE sued Quanta
  • The Supreme Court said: "the exhaustion doctrine prevents LGE from further asserting its patent rights with respect to the patents substantially embodied by those [Quanta] products"


Although the Court permitted postsale restrictions on the use of a patented article in Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., 224 U. S. 1 (1912), that decision was short lived. In 1913, the Court refused to apply A. B. Dick to uphold price-fixing provisions in a patent license. See Bauer & Cie v. O’Donnell, 229 U. S. 1, 14–17 (1913) . Shortly thereafter, in Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Universal Film Mfg. Co., 243 U. S. 502, 518 (1917) , the Court explicitly overruled A. B. Dick. In that case, a patent holder attempted to limit purchasers’ use of its film projectors to show only film made under a patent held by the same company. The Court noted the “increasing frequency” with which patent holders were using A. B. Dick-style licenses to limit the use of their products and thereby using the patents to secure market control of related, unpatented items. 243 U. S.,at 509, 516–517. Observing that “the primary purpose of our patent laws is not the creation of private fortunes for the owners of patents but is ‘to promote the progress of science and useful arts,’ ” id., at 511 (quoting U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 8)

Could this be used to argue for patents to be disallowed on file formats or other compatibility or interoperability information?

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