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Dawson Chemical Co. v. Rohm & Haas Co.

448 U.S. 176 (1980)

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Dawson Chemical Co. v. Rohm & Haas Co.

United States Supreme Court

448 U.S. 176 (1980)

Facts

In the late 1950s, Dawson Chemical Co. (Dawson) (plaintiff) and Rohm & Haas Co. (Rohm & Haas) (defendant) manufactured and sold propanil, a nonstaple herbicide used for rice cultivation. At the same time, Dawson sought a patent for a rice-cultivation process using propanil. The patent issued in 1974; however, Dawson did not stop selling propanil with instructions for its use, the process then patented by Rohm & Haas. Rohm & Haas sued Dawson for contributory infringement, and a district court granted summary judgment in favor of Dawson, concluding Rohm & Haas misused its patent in a way not immunized by 35 U.S.C. § 271 (d) and denying relief. An appellate court reversed, and the US Supreme Court granted certiorari to settle the laws of contributory infringement and misuse related to nonstaple, unpatented products that are only useful for practicing patented inventions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (White, J.)

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