Monday, August 15, 2011
Can We License Individual Patent Claims?
Patent it Yourself author, David Pressman, the answer is "Generally yes, unless the licensing of less than all of the patent claims is in furtherance of a scheme to monopolize a certain industry beyond the monopoly conferred by the patent -- for example, in one case when a company was willing to license a critical patent only if the licensee took licenses under some additional undesirable patents, that was held to be an illegal antitrust practice since it extended the patent monopoly beyond its ordinary scope." Occasionally, a party sued for patent infringement will raise this issue as a defense (known as "patent misuse"). Pressman reminds readers that when it comes to questions of antitrust law, things can get complicated (as the law is often vague on the subject). It's one of those areas where an attorney's consultation is probably necessary.