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Consumer Product IP: Coffee Isn't the Only Cure for Exhaustion

  • 01.31.14
  • Mark W. Rygiel and Daniel A. Gajewski
  • IP Today

In the recent case Keurig Inc. v. Sturm Foods, Inc., Keurig asserted that use of non-Keurig-brand disposable cups in Keurig-brand machines infringed its method claims covering brewing beverages from a disposable cartridge. Keurig sued Sturm for inducing and contributing to this infringement, based on Sturm's sale of such "off-brand" cups. The Federal Circuit held that Keurig's patent rights in its method claims were exhausted by its initial sale of its patented brewer, so it could not recover for infringement. In this article, Mark Rygiel and Daniel Gajewski summarize the case and discuss strategies for preventing this kind of "off-brand" intrusion into a branded "razor-razor blade" ecosystem, in view of the court's holding.

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