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Brenner v. Manson

United States Supreme Court
383 U.S. 519 (1966)


In 1960, Manson (plaintiff) filed a patent application for a process for manufacturing certain known steroids. The Patent Office examiner denied the application, finding that Manson failed to disclose sufficient utility for the chemical compound produced by the process. Manson appealed, and in support of his claim of utility, submitted an article establishing that steroids similar and related to Manson’s steroid were useful as tumor inhibitors. The Patent Office Board of Appeals affirmed the application denial, concluding that Manson’s compound could not be deemed useful based solely on its similarities to another, already proven useful, compound, and that Manson failed to disclose a sufficient likelihood that Manson’s compound would also be an effective tumor inhibitor. Manson appealed. The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals reversed, holding that it is unnecessary for an applicant to prove utility for a known product of a chemical process if the product is not harmful to the public. The Commissioner of Patents, Brenner (plaintiff), petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari, which the Court granted.

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