3. Lexmark International Inc. v. Impression Products Inc.
In this case between Lexmark International, a Chinese-owned laser printer and imaging product manufacturer, and Impression Products, a family-owned West Virginia printer and cartridge company, rules surrounding the first sale doctrine changed.
The Supreme Court decided that after the sale of a patented item, the patent holder cannot sue for patent infringement relating to further use of that item, even when in violation of a contract with a customer or imported from outside the US.
Impression Products has been buying used Lexmark cartridges, filling them, replacing a microchip on the cartridge ands reselling them. This of course resulted in a lawsuit for infringement of several patents related to the ink cartridges. This decision can now affect many manufactured products, from high tech consumer goods to prescription drugs.