Examples - Contribution to Conception

General. The following hypothetical examples teach this concept:

Hypothetical Example No. 1. Buckminster is just sure that someone can figure out how to levitate a car and he exhorts his brother Yury to discover how to do it. When Yury does discover how to levitate a car only Yory and not his brother Buckminster is the true inventor (no matter how much moral support he gave Yory).

Hypothetical Example No. 2. John works for years in a laboratory painstakingly carrying out experiments designed by Amelia that prove that the cure for cancer that Amelia had conceived actually works. Only Amelia is the true inventor (although she magnanimously decides to share her royalties with John as a reward for all his hard work.)

Hypothetical Example No. 3. Ilya did not really think much about what he was doing but he did record his research findings in his laboratory notebook. In reading Ilya's notebook, his supervisor, Dorothea, noted that one of the compounds Ilya had synthesized using routine skill would have excellent coating properties and, in effect, recognized that Ilya had stumbled across something useful. Dorothea was the first to conceive the invention (by recognizing and appreciating it) and, hence, was the true inventor.

Hypothetical Example No. 4. Mary conceives of an invention in France and files a U.S. patent application four months later. Mary's date of conception is the date she introduces knowledge of the invention into the U.S. or into a NAFTA or WTO member country.

Case Law. The following examples from U.S. case law teach this concept:

Burroughs Wellcome Co. v. Barr Lab., Inc. 40 F.3d 1223, 32 USPQ2d 1915 (Fed. Cir. 1994)
Sewall v. Walters, 21 F.3d 411, 30 USPQ2d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 1994)
University of Cal. V. Synbiotics Corp., 29 USPQ2d 1463 (S.D. Cal. 1993)

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