Reconditioning, Reconditioned

One of the exceptions to intellectual property infringement in many legal systems is that someone can generally recondition and repair goods and sell the reconditioned items without infringing the intellectual property rights of the original manufacturer, even when reconditioning is prohibited – this is usually a result of exhaustion of rights. The classic case involved the recovering of patented convertible-car roofs Aro Manufacturing Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co. 365 U.S. 336 (1961). Other cases have involved refilling disposable cameras with film.

Since consumables from a high proportion of the revenue derived from products such as laser printers, packaging equipment, etc., considerable litigation surrounds this issue. The general principle is that unless the reconditioning requires the use of a patented process or components, it is usually legal. Care should also be taken to ensure that prohibitions on reconditioning or requirements that original manufacturer consumables be used does not constitute illegal tying and patent misuse. Also referred to as Right of Repair.