When "Exclusive" is not "Exclusive" and "Compulsory" not "Compulsory": eBay v. MercExchange and Paice v. Toyota

July 3, 2008

David L. Applegate

The source of American patent law, Article I, section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, empowers Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive  right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” But what does it mean to grant inventors the “exclusive Right” over their respective inventions (albeit for limited times)? And have Congress and the courts been faithful to that grant of power?

When "Exclusive" is not "Exclusive" and "Compulsory" not "Compulsory": eBay v. MercExchange and Paice v. Toyota