Brief Fact Summary. Metallizing (Plaintiff) had utilized their patented process commercially over a year prior to filing.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Commercial use of an invention constitutes a “public use” under Â§ 102(b) of the Patent Act, even if done in secret.
Issue. Does commercial use of an invention constitute a “public use” under Â§ 102(b) of the Patent Act, even if done in secret?Â
Held. (Hand, J.)Â Yes.Â Commercial use of an invention constitutes a “public use” under Â§ 102(b) of the Patent Act, even if done in secret.Â The lower court followed precedent correctly, however, this precedent confused two separate doctrines: (1) the effect an inventor’s commercial use has upon patent rights for a machine or process; and (2) the effect that the prior use of others has upon patent rights.Â Regarding the first doctrine, an inventor cannot commercially use his invention longer than the time required by statute to file for an application.Â No matter how little the public learned of the invention or process, the inventor loses his patent rights once it is utilized commercially.Â He must choose either secrecy or a legal monopoly.Â Judgment reversed, complaint dismissed.
Intentional suppression refers to situations in which an inventor designedly, and with the view of applying it indefinitely and exclusively for his own profit, withholds his invention from the public.View Full Point of Law