W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. v. Garlock, Inc. (901422128)

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Read for 3/4/11

Reading Notes

  • Decided by the CAFC in 1983 on appeal from the District Court
    • DC held two patents owned by Gore invalid
    • CAFC affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands
  • Patents were developed to help solve the problem of PTFE tape breaking in the stretching machine
    • Original machine was patented in 1969 by his father and does not reference stretch rate or matrix tensile strength greater than 7300 psi
  • In 1969 Dr. Gore realized that increasing the stretch rate prolonged breakage, contrary to teachings
    • Used this method to develop several products
  • In May, 1970 Gore filed the application for the two patents in issue
    • First is for the specific process with rate above 10% per second and temperature between 35 C and crystalline melt point
    • The second has claims directed at the products made by the process
  • Inventions filled long sought need, enjoyed prompt commercial success, and were met with skepticism
  • Garlock first produced the accused product as a substitute for the patented product and advertised it as a "new form" of PTFE
  • Sued Garlock on 11/2/79 for infringement
    • Garlock claimed declaratory judgment for invalidity
  • District Court ruled for process
    • One claim invalid under 102 by Gore's use of the original machine
    • All claims invalid under 102 because of public use or on sale (Budd's use of Cropper machine)
    • Three claims invalid under 103 for reference pairings
    • All invalid as indefinite under 112
  • DC ruling for products
    • Claims invalid under 102 and 103
    • Invalid and indefinite under 112

Statutory Bars

Class Notes