Anderson v. Natta

Anderson v. Natta
480 F.2d 1392
Bluebook cite
Anderson v. Natta, 480 F.2d 1392 (C.C.P.A. 1973).
480 F.2d 1392
Item Type
Appeal from interference proceeding in which priority was not awarded to any of the three parties involved (the board found that all parties were restricted to their respective filing dates. Two of the parties had the same filing date, so the board found that there was no first inventor). The subject matter at issue was a copolymerization process.

With regard to the party Anderson, the board found that the products of tests run by Anderson had no practical utility, and thus did not establish an earlier reduction to practice. These tests of the process at issue yielded a product which was formed into a film and used for infrared analysis. The court agreed. The court first stated that “{w}here the invention is a process, the product of the process must have utility,” and that “{t}he mere production of copolymers is not necessarily a sufficient utility for a process, unless the usefulness is obvious from the copolymers themselves.” Id. at 1395. Then, noting that the only alleged specific utility of the product produced by the process was as a self-supporting, tough, flexible film, the court found that “in the absence of standard testing for strength, for example, a sample film could not have been assumed to be practically fit for use as a film. We are not convinced that the mere production of a sample film for purposes of infrared analysis is sufficient to establish usefulness in a practical sense as film. We think there is a discernible difference between a small quantity of polymer product pressed into the shape of a film for infrared scanning, a procedure which must have been standard practice with polymerization reaction products, and a film which is determined to be practically useful in applications for which thermoplastic film is suitable. The absence of any testing for structural suitability of the film provides firm support for the board's holding.” Id. at 1396-97.

With regard to the party Ziegler, the court analyzed whether Zeigler’s U.S. application, and a German application to which he claimed priority, satisfied the utility requirements of § 101 and § 112. The board found that the only suggested utility in the Ziegler German application, that the products of the process are “plastic-like” copolymers, was not enough to establish utility. The court agreed, finding that “such a general description of the character of the polymer products would not convey to one skilled in the art any particular usefulness.” Id. at 1399. Since Ziegler admitted that the U.S. application disclosed no more utility than the German application, however, the court found that the board was in error in according to Ziegler a priority date based on the filing of the U.S. application.

Thus, the court reversed, awarding priority to the party Natta, whose reliance on a filing date of June 8, 1955 as a constructive reduction to practice was not challenged.

Excerpts and Summaries

Thursday 25 of September, 2008 14:09:36 GMT
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Thursday 25 of September, 2008 14:09:36 GMT
by Unknown

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