Atco, NJ asked in Products Liability and Patents (Intellectual Property) for New Jersey

Q: I have invented a way to reload a patented one-use product. What risk do I take by developing a kit for the market?

My invention in no way modifies the product it simply allows the one-time use consumable to be reused more than once in the same manner for which it was intended.

1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen E. Zweig
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  • Patents Lawyer
  • Los Gatos, CA

A: The answer is, "it depends." In some situations, such as refiling printer cartridges, the rule of "patent exhaustion" may apply. This rule is that a patent owner uses up their rights when they first sell a product.

However, the patent owner may also have engaged in additional contracts with the purchaser to limit this right. Further, there may be other types of patents on using the consumable (rather than the consumable itself) that may also apply.

So the answer will vary according to the specifics of your situation.

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