EB: Wednesday, March 23: "Printed Publication"

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Jockmus v. Leviton, 28 F.2d 812

Charles Jockmus sued Evsor and Isador Leviton (Leviton Manufacturing Company) for infringement of his patent (filed on May 27, 1912) on an electric light fixture made to look like a lighted candle. The defendants presented a German catalog as a prior art, "printed publication" which discloses the invention. The Gogarten & Schmidt catalogue was dated 1908, printed in French, and according to the testimony of Schmidt as well as one of his employees approximately 1000 copies of the publication were sent out to their customers. One page of the catalogue depicted a candle socket very similar to that claimed in the invention.

The District Court for Eastern New York ruled that the catalogue was not sufficient to be considered prior art, but on appeal the Federal Circuit court ruled oppositely. The Circuit judge ruled that "a single copy in a library, though more permanent, is far less fitted to inform the craft than a catalogue freely circulated." Multiple copies of the catalogue were distributed specifically to people who were suspected of having an interest in the art, thus making it far more accessible than any library document (In re Hall). Although there was some questioning as to the disclosure involved in the catalogue, the court ruled that "the whole of this very simple invention was before the reader at a glance." The catalogue did not show "how the end of the upper leg was fastened to the stud," but this detail is irrelevant as it is not the focus of the claimed infringement. Furthermore, the court ruled the testimony of Schmidt and his colleague, along with reasonable application of common knowledge regarding marketing, sufficient to assume the catalogue had been distributed during 1908 or before. Thus, the accusation of infringement was dismissed.


In Class

1)In re Baxter

Technical report brought forth by the patentee upon application for the patent. The invention was not explicitly described in the report, but it could be inferred from the report. The court held that the inference was sufficient to allow a person of ordinary skill in the art to conceive the invention.

2)In re Klopfenstein

14-slide presentation displayed at a conference (2 times), but the slides were not archived Patent was for a method of feeding animals which improved health, and it was displayed at a conference of people specifically interested in the art. There was no ban on taking notes, pictures, or coping the slides during the presentation

3) Light Bulb for Traffic Applications

Patentee published experimental results (testing). The court ruled that published works have not "experimental" exception as in the case of public use.

4) Mehl/Biophile International Corp. v. Milgraum Invention =Method to remove human hair with laser

  • Publication 1: Instruction manual
  • Publication 2: Article on tissue damage in animals

Instruction manual was missing an element of the invention - didn't fully disclose the invention. The article implied all aspects of the invention (including the critical vertical alignment of the laser).

5)Jockman v. Leviton: my case

6)SRI International v. Internet Security

  • Document on PTP server, address given to 1 person; without the exact address the document would be impossible to find because the server was not indexed - therefore, the publication was NOT freely accessible.

Overall Attributes:

  • Ordinary skill matters
  • Audience important in cases of limited exposure (targeted audience)
  • Publication must disclose all aspects of the invention (either explicitly or inherently)
  • A mere presentation given to the right audience counts as a publication