Kimble v. Marvel: A Misconceived Affirmation

  • Aditya Gupta National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, India
Keywords: Competition Act, 2002, Doctrine of Stare Decisis, Patent Misuse Theory, Per se Rule, Rule of Reason

Abstract

A clause in a patent license agreement which requires the licensee to continuously render royalty payments even after the intellectual property rights have expired has been a very controversial issue in practice. With the infamous United States Supreme Court Ruling of Brulotte v. Thys, and its subsequent affirmation in the case of Kimble v. Marvel, the legality of continued royalties seems to be a settled provision of law in the American Jurisprudence. However, the judgement rendered in the case of Kimble v. Marvel begs the question as to whether the affirmation was by reason of sound judicial interpretation or the coercion of stare decisis. The interplay between the rule of reason and the per se rule on one hand, with that of the patent misuse theory on the other, was alarmingly unclear. The three were presented as being so closely related that the two distinct dynamics of law could very well be addressed as excessive legislation on the same subject-matter. The present research seeks to analyze the 2015 ruling of Kimble v. Marvel, without the interference of stare decisis and defines the contours under which the judgement was rendered (patent law or anti-trust). Most importantly, the paper will assess the Indian jurisprudential stand with reference to continued royalties, both within patent law and the competition law.

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Published
2020-01-01