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Conditional Sale Doesn’t Trigger Patent Exhaustion


In LG Electronics, Inc. v. Bizcom Electronics, Inc. et al. , (No. 05-1261, July 7, 2006), a Federal Circuit panel affirms in part, reverses in part and vacates in part a district court's summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of third-party installers who purchase microprocessors and chipsets from Intel Corporation, which is itself authorized to sell such products under an agreement with LG Electronics (“LGE”). Under this agreement, however, Intel is required to notify its customers that combining Intel products with non-Intel products is not permitted.

In reversing the district court's holding that the system claims of LGE's asserted patents were “exhausted” by Intel's sales, the panel reasons that requiring Intel to notify its customers that they were prohibited from infringing LGE's combination patents makes both the license and subsequent sales by Intel expressly conditional and, as such, does not trigger the patent exhaustion doctrine.

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