Bonito Boats (Homework 1)

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Bonito Boats vs Thundercraft boats

Bonito boats filed suit against thundercraft after the florida legislature passed a law stating that prohibited others from duplicating the manufacturing process. Trial court in florida dismissed the case because the statuate was a federal matter, not a state one.

there are problems with states administering patent law protections (federal process is well developed) however in areas the federal code does not cover, states may make laws that do not harm federal laws.

California Court of appeals concluded that the statuate from california legislature posed no threat to the policies behind the federal patent laws. The Florida supreme court struck down a similar florida statuate saying it conflicted with the federal patent process.

The court sided with the Florida Court. The State is not allowed to enforce the statuates banning the molding process.



Original case:

The statute also makes it unlawful for a person to “knowingly sell a vessel hull or component part of a vessel duplicated in violation of subsection (2).” § 559.94(3). Damages, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees are made available to “[a]ny person who suffers injury or damage as the result of a violation” of the statute. § 559.94(4). The statute was made applicable to vessel hulls or component parts duplicated through the use of direct molding after July 1, 1983. § 559.94(5).

The dissenting opinion from the florida supreme court was that the statuate,"does not prohibit the copying of an unpatented item. It prohibits one method of copying; the item remains in the public domain."

History lesson about current Patent law.

interesting part:

“A person shall be entitled to a patent unless-

“(a) the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent, or

“(b) the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country more than one year prior to the date of application for patent in the United States....”

Patents last 17 years

In 1811 The Court concluded that the patent was invalid due to the prior public sale, indicating that, “if [an inventor] suffers the thing he invented to go into public use, or to be publicly sold for use” “[h]is voluntary act or acquiescence in the public sale and use is an abandonment of his right.” Id., 2 Pet., at 23-24

This applies to Bonito Boats case.

Sears case and Kewanee Oil case establish that some state statuates on trade secrets did not violate established federal patent laws. among many reasons, because they dont afford the same protections and arent, by definition in the public domain.


Crescent Tool Co. v. Kilborn & Bishop Co., 247 F. 299, 301 (CA2 1917), where he wrote:

“[T]he plaintiff has the right not to lose his customers through false representations that those are his wares which in fact are not, but he may not monopolize any design or pattern, however trifling. The defendant, on the other hand, may copy plaintiff's goods slavishly down to the minutest detail: but he may not represent himself as the plaintiff in their sale.”

In this case, the Bonito 5VBR fiberglass hull has been freely exposed to the public for a period in excess of six years. For purposes of federal law, it stands in the same stead as an item for which a patent has expired or been denied: it is unpatented and unpatentable.

In this case, the Bonito 5VBR fiberglass hull has been freely exposed to the public for a period in excess of six years. For purposes of federal law, it stands in the same stead as an item for which a patent has expired or been denied: it is unpatented and unpatentable.

By offering patent-like protection for ideas deemed unprotected under the present federal scheme, the Florida statute conflicts with the “strong federal policy favoring free competition in ideas which do not merit patent protection.”