Feeds

US Supremes limit royalty double dippage

That's like putting your whole mouth right in the patent!

High performance access to file storage

The US Supreme court has overturned a lower court ruling that let South Korea's LG Electronics double-dip on royalty licensing.

In a unanimous decision today, the court favored Taiwan's Quanta Computers, delivering a ruling that will limit a patent holder's ability to collect royalties from companies at different stages of the production process.

The case reverses a previous Federal appeals circuit decision on patent exhaustion. The high court agreed to review the licensing dispute last September at the urging of the Bush administration.

LG had licensed a set of patents to Intel for use in its chips and chipsets, but the agreement specifically barred Intel from mixing the technology with components from other manufacturers.

Intel then sold the chipsets to PC manufacturers such as Quanta — which in turn used the chipsets to make computers for vendors such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

LG sued Quanta in 2000, accusing the manufacturer of infringing three patents because computers with the Intel chipsets also had kit from other companies.

A US District Court in California ruled in Quanta's favor, but an appellate court overturned the decision. The Bush administration then urged the Supremes to take the case on grounds the ruling went too far in letting patent holders extract royalties from down-stream companies.

The high court ruling today said LG couldn't extract royalties from Quanta because the initial sale to Intel had "exhausted" LG's ability to control how the technology was used.

"Nothing in the License Agreement limited Intel's ability to sell its products practicing the LGE Patents," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas for the court. "Intel's authorized sale to Quanta thus took its products outside the scope of the patent monopoly, and as a result, LGE can no longer assert its patent rights against Quanta."

However, the court did say Quanta's sale to computer vendors would not have been authorized if Intel had originally breached the contract with LG. So, although the ruling will limit downstream royalty collection, companies better hope everyone upstream read the fine print very carefully.

A copy of the ruling? That would be right over here. (PDF warning) ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.