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Baxter International, Inc. v. COBE Laboratories, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
88 F.3d 1054 (1996)
Baxter International, Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corporation (Baxter) (defendants) owned a patent for a blood-separating sealless centrifuge. More than one year before Baxter’s patent-application date, a third-party scientist experimented with such a centrifuge designed by a fellow scientist to test whether separated blood could be used to produce plasma. The experiments were unknown to the inventor of Baxter’s patent but were conducted in open laboratories at National Institutes of Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, where other scientists witnessed the centrifuge in operation. There was no obligation that the witnesses keep their observations confidential. The designer of the centrifuge used in the plasma experiments gave permission for the separator to be used. However, in his own patent application for the centrifuge, he declared that there had been no public use of it despite the plasma experiments conducted more than one year before either patent application was filed. The district court found that the invention had been reduced to practice and used publicly for purposes that were not experimental. Accordingly, the court granted summary judgment that Baxter’s patent was invalid as barred on the ground of prior public use under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). Baxter appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)
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