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Post #3 of our Top 10 of IP in 2020

Calidad Pty Ltd v Seiko Epson Corporation [2020] HCA 41 (12 November 2020)

This High Court case about printer cartridges has created some excitement among intellectual property lawyers, as it upturns a century of understanding about the rights of patent owners to control patented products that have moved into the hands of purchasers.  

No longer can patentees use their patent to control the use of a patented product after sale, with the adoption of the “exhaustion of rights” doctrine in Australia.  

This new position could have some impact on specialist equipment and machinery, for example used in mining or agribusiness. I suspect things go one of two ways.  

Either “right of repair” advocates will be pleased that patents can’t be used to prevent owners of equipment from doing what they please with their property.  

Or, we will start to see patent owners hire out products that embody their inventions, to maintain control over the physical equipment.  

The response of patentees may depend on the nature of their product, its use, and its cost.  Maybe 2021 will reveal if these predictions are correct.

I posted about the details and possible impacts of this case here. ☁︎

2020 has seen a very healthy amount of activity in intellectual property law in Australia.  In no particular order, my Top 10 of 2020 series of posts contains my top ten things in IP from the year, and what they might mean for 2021. 

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