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Supreme Court Rules: Sale of Invention can Prevent Patenting

Following passage of the America Invents Act, questions arose as to whether a secret sale by the inventor more than one year before patenting was prior art under section 102(a)(1) that would prohibit patenting of the invention. The language of the statute provides an invention cannot be patented if “in public use, on sale, or […]

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Protecting Your Nanotechnology Inventions – Part 4: Don’t Forget About Trade Secret Protection

By Jonathan L. Kennedy

When you have a new invention, the right question to ask at the outset is whether you want to consider patenting it. This is important because many common activities in research and commercialization can create a bar to patent protection or at least start a one-year clock by which a patent must be filed. Some […]

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Is your Confidential Sale Prior Art Against You? The Supreme Court has Decided to Weigh In.

You have a new idea and have found an interested buyer. If you sell your product or process to the buyer prior to filing a patent application, have you created your own prior art? If it is prior art, it would bar a later filed patent under 35 USC §102. Prior to the change in […]

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Supplier’s Agreement to Manufacture May Trigger On-Sale Bar

In an Opinion on August 14, 2013 (Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. v. Sunbeam Products, Inc.), the Federal Circuit ruled that the on-sale bar was triggered when a purchase order for slow cookers by patentee Hamilton Beach was confirmed by its supplier. The Court stated that Hamilton Beach’s transaction with its supplier was an offer for […]

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Ninth Circuit: Sufficient evidence of fraud to defeat summary judgment on Walker Process claim

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit addressed the antitrust implications of so-called "reverse payments" between brand name and generic pharmaceutical companies. A health care provider brought suit against the two companies, alleging their agreement to delay the introduction of a generic pharmaceutical (which involved payment to the generic manufacturer of $4.5 million per month) […]

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Today’s lesson for litigators: make sure you present all your arguments to the district court

In a decision Tuesday, the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court's holding that two patents were invalid under the on-sale bar of 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). The inventor filed a declaration during prosecution that the invention was reduced to practice before the critical date of the patents, and thereafter sold the claimed method, also before […]

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On-sale bar cannot be avoided by experimentation conducted by patentee’s customer

In a decision Thursday, the Federal Circuit provided additional guidance on the on-sale bar of § 102(b). In the case, the patentee developed a series of prototypes that were then sold to its customer, who then experimented with the prototypes and requested modifications to the prototypes. The prototypes were also accompanied by offers to sell […]

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Federal Circuit addresses claim construction, on-sale and public use bars, and DJ jurisdiction

In a decision Friday, the Federal Circuit vacated in part a district court's claim construction of a several terms as well as its decision to find no infringement of patents owned by Honeywell. The court did, however, affirm the district court's retention of jurisdiction over the several withdrawn claims and the decision that Honeywell's pre-critical […]

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Dippin’ Dots: brought to you by inequitable conduct, but not an antitrust violation

What do Dippin' Dots, the little beads of ice cream sold at fairs, stadiums, and malls, have to do with patent and antitrust law? For the Federal Circuit, they presented the "close case" where a patent holder can be found to have engaged in inequitable conduct during prosecution of the patent but is not liable […]

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