Eric Paul's Printed Publication Case - 23 MAR 2011

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Bros Inc v. Browning Mfg Co.

The decision in this case was made by the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit. It analyzed the validity of a patent for a Pneumatic Roller Compactor developed by Bros Inc, the defendant. The patent in question was filed on 17 NOV 1949, thus the critical date was 17 NOV 1948. In July of 1948 at the Road Show of the American Road Builders' Association, the defendant distributed pamphlets advertising a design for a "50 Ton Compactor with Oscillating Wheels". The pamphlet contained four pictures of the design from different perspectives as well as a description of its technical specifications and potential uses. There was no question that the pamphlet was given to public use prior to the critical date. The trial court ruled that the information in the pamphlet was sufficient enough to enable one having ordinary skill in the art to replicate the design, thus making the patent invalid by 102(b). The Circuit Court upheld this ruling citing a previous case, Collins v. Owens, which ruled that information in a foreign publication was enough for one skilled in the art to replicate the invention, thus making the patent invalid. Ultimately, the court ruled that the Bros patent was invalid because the pamphlet contained sufficient information for one with ordinary skill in the art to construct the invention. As a result of the published pamphlet, a patent is no longer required to present the elements of the design to the public. To allow the patent would be to remove the invention from public use.