Anderson's Black Rock, Inc. v. Pavement Co. (901422128)

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Read for 1/31/11

Reading Notes

  • Decided in 1969
  • Respondent brought action against petitioner for infringement of patent "Means for Treating Bituminous Pavement"
  • Blacktop is usually laid in strips connected by a cold joint
    • Patent tried to fix the problems with this
  • Infringement because it used a similar, although not identical, process to produce the same effect as the patent
    • Use of radiant-heat burner dates back to 1905
      • Softens asphalt without burning it
  • The burner alone is not patentable due to prior art
    • Placement alongside the bituminous paver is the central feature - prevents cold joint versus just patching limited areas
  • District Court found the patent invalid, Court of Appeals reversed
    • USSC reverse the CoA and find it invalid as well
  • Question of whether the combination created a patentable item
    • District Court said the combination was relevant to commercial success, not invention
  • USSC says the combination was reasonable obvious
    • No "new or different" function

Non-obvious standards

  • Commercial success without invention does not make an object patentable

Class Notes