The Implementation of Exhaustion Policies: Lessons from National Experiences

86 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014 Last revised: 13 Mar 2015

See all articles by Shubha Ghosh

Shubha Ghosh

Syracuse University College of Law

Date Written: February 3, 2014


The exhaustion doctrine is a corner stone of intellectual property law, its importance demonstrated by several recent United States Supreme Court decisions on the topic over the past several years, including the controversial Kirtsaeng opinion from 2013. This research paper, commissioned by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) in 2013, analyzes the major policy debates over the exhaustion doctrine and presents a comparison of the doctrine's implementation in the United States, European Union, Canada, India, China, and Brazil. The major conclusion is that the exhaustion doctrine can serve as a policy tool for development and the promotion of international trade and innovation. But the paper also warns of the limitations of the exhaustion doctrine as a means of promoting access to new technologies.

Keywords: Intellectual Property; International Trade; Comparative; Law and Development

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Ghosh, Shubha, The Implementation of Exhaustion Policies: Lessons from National Experiences (February 3, 2014). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1248, Available at SSRN: or

Shubha Ghosh (Contact Author)

Syracuse University College of Law ( email )

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