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Hybritech, Inc. v. Monoclonal Antibodies, Inc. - 802 F.2d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 1986)

Rule:

Conception is the formation in the mind of the inventor, of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention, as it is hereafter to be applied in practice. Actual reduction to practice requires that the claimed invention work for its intended purpose, and constructive reduction to practice occurs when a patent application on the claimed invention is filed.

Facts:

Hybritech Incorporated (Hybritech), a corporation in the business of developing diagnostic kits, sued Monoclonal Antibodies, Inc. (Monoclonal), alleging that the manufacture and sale of Monoclonal's diagnostic kits infringed Hybritech's patent with claims defining a variety of sandwich assays using monoclonal antibodies. The district court ruled in favor of Monoclonal, holding that all claims of Hybritech's patent were invalid for anticipation under 35 U.S.C.S. § 102(g), for obviousness under § 103, and under 35 U.S.C.S. § 112. Hybritech sought appellate review.

Issue:

Did the district court err in holding Hybritech's patent invalid in all respects?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed, holding that although some of Hybritech's inventor's laboratory notebooks were not witnessed until a few months to one year after their writing due to Hybritech's inexperience as a start-up company, the notebooks were still corroborative and clearly showed conception of the claimed invention before others. Furthermore, the large number of references relied upon by the district court to show obviousness skirted around but did not as a whole suggest the claimed invention.

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