General. The following hypothetical examples teach this concept:
Hypothetical Example No. 1. Daniel allows his friend, Kate, to wear a novel backpack that he invented in public without restriction. One year and one day later, Daniel files a U.S. patent application claiming his invention. He also files an Information Disclosure Statement disclosing the public use of his completed invention by Kate. The USPTO rejects Daniel's application under 35 U.S.C 102(b).
Hypothetical Example No. 2. Henry displays his completed invention in at a trade show. Three years later, he files a U.S. patent application on the invention and forgets to disclose the public use to the USPTO. Later, when John infringes his patent, Henry sues John for patent infringement. A private investigator hired by John finds credible evidence that Henry had used his invention in public more than a year before Henry filed his patent application. Henry's patent is invalidated by the court. Because the case was exceptional, Henry is ordered by the court to the pay John's attorney's fees in addition to his own.
Hypothetical Example No. 3. Albert uses his invention in secret for ten years for a non-commercial purpose and then files a U.S. patent application on it. The USPTO grants a patent to Albert.
Hypothetical Example No. 4. Mary sends a package sample to Richard more than one year before she files for a U.S. patent on the package. Mary mentions the release of the sample in her Information Disclosure Statement. The USPTO denies patent protection of the package to Mary.
Case Law. The following examples from U.S. case law teach this concept:
Concrete Unlimited, Inc. v. Cementcraft, Inc., 776 F.2d 1537, 227 USPQ 784 (CAFC 1985)
Milliken Research Corp. v. Dan River, Inc., 739 F.2d 587, 222 USPQ 571 (CAFC 1984)
National Research Development Corp. v. Varian Assocs., Inc., 17 F.3d 1444, 30 USPQ2d 1537 (CAFC 1994)
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