901281608: Quanta Brief
Brief of Various Law Professors as Amici Curiae in Support of the Respondent.
The amici state that they have no stake in the outcome of this case, but are interested in ensuring that patent law develops in a way that best promotes innovation and competition. The amici argue for the Supreme Court to reject the petitioner's request for a new standard to overturn the first sale doctrine. They argue the first sale doctrine is primarily a gap filling default rule that implies into contracts, where not explicitly stated, certain rights for the buyer. The overturning of present doctrine would have the effect of discouraging innovation and interfere with efforts to establish rights via contract. This would harm third parties unaware of licensing and their protection from this has been firmly legally established. The freedom of corporations to make contracts is an essential feature of business and should remain legally binding to promote industry and innovation.
The first sale doctrine complies with legal precedent, but under this, express license contracts should not trigger the first sale defense. The precedent dates back to Adams v. Burke (1873) which established the doctrine of first sale, but also mentioned the possibility of opting out of this through a mutual contract connected to the sale. Furthermore, this has be reinforced and maintained through many Supreme Court cases as well as patent law. Thus, unless contrary to positive law, there is no room for the law to imply terms that are contrary to a legal, express contract that both parties have agreed to. Furthermore, the specific terms of this particular contract were reasonable and justified because of the circumstances of electronic hardware sales. The overturning of this case could potentially lead to third parties abusing this law to assert licenses for their own profit. If precedent were overturned, the courts could be flooded with suits by buyers of previously limited-licensed patents claiming additional rights. Furthermore, contacts such as these are essential in resolving disputes and the reversal of this policy would greatly complicate this matter.
US v. Univis Lens does not support the broad interpretation of the petitioner. The Univis case was substantially different as the contract violated anti-trust laws, which was the central issue of the case, but that issue is not present here. The US Patent Act of 1952 supports the contract-based view of the first sale doctrine and was in fact one of the central motivations behind it.