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Law School Case Brief

Rosaire v. Baroid Sales Div., Nat'l Lead Co. - 218 F.2d 72 (5th Cir. 1955)

Rule:

An unsuccessful experiment that is later abandoned does not negative novelty in a new and successful device. Nevertheless, the existence and operation of a machine, abandoned after its completion and sufficient use to demonstrate its practicability, is evidence that the same ideas incorporated in a later development along the same line do not amount to invention.

Facts:

Plaintiff Rosaire filed an action for copyright infringement in relation to patents that related to methods of prospecting oil or other hydrocarbons. Plaintiff claimed that defendant Baroid infringed and refused to take a license to use the patents. The trial court ruled that the patents were invalid and void, and thus, there had been no infringement by defendant.

Issue:

Is there a copyright infringement when the alleged patents refer to an unsuccessful or incomplete experiment?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The judgment of the trial court that the patents were invalid was affirmed because the record supported those determinations that the patents were anticipated by publication. A close analysis of the evidence on which the parties relied to resolve this question clearly demonstrated that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the finding of the trial court that there was more here than an unsuccessful or incomplete experiment. It is clear that the work was not carried forward.

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