Merchant & Gould Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Plantronics in Key Patent Exhaustion Case Pending before U.S. Supreme Court

February 23, 2017

Merchant & Gould client Plantronics, a leading global designer, manufacturer, and marketer of headsets for business and consumer applications, has filed a brief in a closely-watched U.S. Supreme Court case addressing when and how a patent owner's U.S. patent rights may be exhausted upon the first authorized sale of the patented product. Plantronics is not a party in the case, Impressions Products, Inc. v Lexmark Int'l, but instead has filed a brief as an "amicus" or friend of the court in which Plantronics provides the viewpoint of a company that manufactures and sells high-quality finished goods all over the world.

Plantronics explains that third parties have been acquiring Plantronics' products overseas and then reselling the products (known as "grey goods" or "grey market goods") back into the U.S via online marketplaces. Plantronics argues that an authorized sale in a foreign jurisdiction does not exhaust U.S. patent rights, citing the harm to companies like Plantronics and their customers that would otherwise occur.

Rachel C. Hughey, partner and chair of the firm’s appellate practice group, led the Merchant & Gould team working on the brief Plantronics Chief IP Counsel Francois deVilliers and Patent Counsel Jeremy DesRosier also made significant contributions to the presentation.

View the filed brief