My colleague Till Jaeger drew my attention to a recent decision of the German Federal Court of Justice (X ZR 33/10) that demonstrates in a rather curious way the effects of patent exhaustion.
In the case at issue the plaintiff was the holder of a process patent for the coding, transfer and decoding of video signals used when producing and playing of DVDs under the MPEG 2 standard. The defendant, a Greek DVD producer had no business relationship with the plaintiff, in particular no license agreement with the plaintiff was in effect. However, the plaintiff suspected that the defendant made use of its patent and decided to test the defendant’s abidance by the law. Continue reading