Exhaustion of Intellectual Property Rights

What is the exhaustion of rights?

It is a concept which, simply put, means that the right of a holder of intellectual property to certain products cannot prohibit other persons from selling and reselling those products after they have been placed on the market directly by the holder or with their consent.

What types of intellectual property are covered by the exhaustion of rights?

This principle can be found, for example, in trademarks, patents, designs, and copyrights.

Exhaustion of trademarks

Trademarks ensure the exclusive use of a particular designation. No one can interfere with a trademark, but once a product bearing a trademark has been lawfully placed on market (sold), it can be treated independently of the will of the trademark holder. Both the right of the trademark proprietor to place the product bearing the designation on the market and their right to prohibit the use of the designation on that product are exhausted. In the European Union, we are bound by community exhaustion, which means that placing a product in any of the countries will cause the exhaustion of rights for the entire European Union.

Placing a product on the market may be done only by the holder of the trademark, that is to say, the proprietor of the trademark or a person licensed by the proprietor to place the product on the market.

Extent of exhaustion

Exhaustion occurs individually, not generically. The mere introduction of a single product to the European Union market does not mean that the same products can continue to be marketed arbitrarily. Each additional piece may be placed on the market only with the consent of the right holder or licensee.

Are you interested in knowing whether the rights to the products you trade with have already been exhausted? Do you have permission from the intellectual property holder to expand into specific markets? Does anyone unlawfully supply products on the market bearing intellectual property to which you hold exclusive rights? Contact us to arrange free consultation on intellectual property and ensure the legal integrity of your product portfolio.

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