General. The following hypothetical examples teach this concept:
Hypothetical Example No. 1. Nikola delivers a talk that enables a skilled person to practice his invention in France and distributes copies of his talk. One day later, John independently invents the same invention and files a U.S. patent application on it. The USPTO rejects John's application under 35 U.S.C. 102(a) using a copy of Nikola's French talk as a reference.
Hypothetical Example No. 2. An interview of Orville about his widget is published as an article in a British newspaper. He files a U.S. patent application on his invention. Abraham independently invents the same widget after the newspaper article reached its readers and files a U.S. patent application on it just before Orville does. The USPTO denies a U.S. patent to Abraham on the widget but grants one to Orville.
Hypothetical Example No. 3. Dorothea submits a paper on her invention to a technical journal for peer review and publication. The paper is published, and just after it reaches its readers all over the world, she files a U.S. patent application on the invention. The USPTO grants a patent to Dorothea.
Hypothetical Example No. 4. Thomas conceived his invention in November and immediately began to diligently reduce it to practice, which occurs in January. In December, Wilbur publishes an article about the same invention that had been independently invented by Thomas. In February, Thomas files a U.S. patent application on his invention. The USPTO grants a patent to Thomas after he offered proof that his diligent efforts to complete the invention began before the article was published and continued until the invention was reduced to practice.
Case Law. The following examples from U.S. case law teach this concept:
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