Brief Fact Summary. National Lead Co. (Defendant) claimed that Rosaire’s (Plaintiff) patents were invalidated by a prior reduction to practice the same method and therefore Defendant had had not infringed on Plaintiff’s patents.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An invention that was known or used by others in this country before the patentee’s invention is not patentable.
Issue. May an invention that was known or used by others in this country before the patentee’s invention be patentable?
Held. (Tuttle, J.) No. An invention that was known or used by others in this country before the patentee’s invention is not patentable. The lack of publication of Teplitz’s work did not keep the alleged infringer, National Lead (Defendant), from claiming prior use as a defense. The work was done openly and in the ordinary course of the activities of the employer, a large producing company in the oil industry, and therefore no further affirmative act was required to bring the work public’s attention at large. Affirmed.
Discussion. The non-secret use of a claimed process in the usual course of producing articles for commercial purposes is considered a public use. â€œPublicâ€ in this case would seem to mean â€œnot secret.â€ Those who criticized this expansive view would require that the invention be generally known or used before creating a statutory bar.