Should royalties end when a patent expires?
Abstract: After an inventor sued Marvel Enterprises for patent infringement and breach of a verbal contract in regard to a Spider-Man toy, an agreement was reached — but it had no expiration date. After several disagreements cropped up, the inventor filed a breach of contract action concerning the calculation of royalty payments. But the district court ruled that the royalties ended when the patent expired. The appeals court affirmed the decision, relying on a Supreme Court case known as Brulotte. This article explains why the appeals court felt it applied in this case. Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., No. 11-15605, July 16, 2013 (9th Cir.) Brulotte v. Thys Co., No. 20, Nov. 16, 1964 (Supreme Court)