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What’s the Kessler Doctrine and how can it help protect you from patent trolls?

Running a business comes with its fair share of challenges. One of these is the issue of patent infringement. If you are accused of patent infringement, you may use claim preclusion and issue preclusion as your defense strategies. Issue preclusion prevents a party from re-litigating a matter that has already been decided in a prior case. Claim preclusion, on the other hand, bars subsequent laws from the same parties or their proxies on the same matter.

Claim preclusion, however, can leave a “gap” that the patent owner can exploit to file another lawsuit against a party that was previously not found guilty of patent infringement. And this is where the Kessler doctrine comes in.

Some background

The Kessler Doctrine has been around since 1907. Initially, the doctrine’s application was limited to issues that have been determined through litigation. However, the Federal Circuit recently reviewed and expanded the doctrine to include earlier dismissals with prejudice, thus, making it an important tool in the fight against patent trolls.

So what is the Kessler doctrine and how does it work?

The Kessler doctrine is a unique patent law that is separate from claim and issue preclusions. The doctrine is meant to take care of any gaps left by issue preclusion and claim preclusion that the patent owner would utilize to file a lawsuit against a product that has been cleared of patent infringement. In other words, if the court declares that your product has not infringed any patent in the first case, the patentee cannot sue you or your customers for producing, using or selling the product in question.

The Kessler doctrine gives you the right to sell your product without fear of unending lawsuits based on the same product. Find out how you can utilize the Kessler doctrine to protect your business’ rights and interests when dealing with a parent infringement lawsuit.


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