The handwriting has been on the wall for nearly 10 years: The Supreme Court does not smile on patent owners who try to exercise their rights beyond the first sale of their product.

On Tuesday, reviewing a Federal Circuit en banc decision that held otherwise, the high court spelled it out in big block letters: “A patentee’s decision to sell a product exhausts all of its patent rights in that item, regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose or the location of the sale,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote in a 7-1 ruling.

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