General. The following hypothetical examples teach this concept:
Hypothetical Example No. 1. Enrico believes he is the first to discover and grow in pure culture a microoganism and files a U.S. patent application on his discovery. The Examiner happens to know that the microorganism is not new and, at Enrico's request, produces evidence of that knowledge. Enrico's patent application is rejected.
Hypothetical Example No. 2. Isadora believes she has discovered a process for converting lead into gold. She files a U.S. patent application on the process but the disclosure in the application contravenes sound scientific principles. Moreover, she is not able to produce credible evidence that the process will function as intended. Isadora is denied a patent.
Hypothetical Example No. 3. Andrea files a U.S. patent application on her invention after she hears a radio broadcast describing exactly what she has invented. She discloses the radio broadcast in her Information Disclosure Statement. When the Examiner uses that knowledge to reject her claims under 35 U.S.C. 102(a), she produces evidence that her date of invention preceded the date of the broadcast. Andrea is granted a patent on her invention.
Hypothetical Example No. 4. Stephanie invents a widget. She then attends a conference in Europe and hears a talk in which Hedy states that she independently made the same widget in Italy (three months ago), i.e., before Stephanie made the invention (two months ago) in the U.S. Stephanie had filed a U.S. patent application on her invention one month after she invented it. She is granted a U.S. patent on the invention because knowledge of Hedy's invention did not enter the U.S before Stephanie's date of invention.
Case Law. The following examples from U.S. case law teach this concept:
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