Fonar Corp. v. General Electric Co.

107 F.3d 1543 (1997)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 43,000+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Fonar Corp. v. General Electric Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

107 F.3d 1543 (1997)


Fonar Corporation (plaintiff) owned a magnetic-resonance-imaging (MRI) patent that claimed a method of using an MRI machine to obtain images of a patient’s body at multiple angles in a single scan, a technique called multi-angle oblique (MAO) imaging. This was deemed an improvement over prior-art machines, which could only obtain multiple images by running multiple scans. Fonar sued General Electric Co. (GE) (defendant) for patent infringement. GE contended that Fonar’s patent was invalid for noncompliance with the best-mode requirement under 35 U.S.C. § 112 with respect to three aspects of Fonar’s claimed invention: (1) software routines; (2) a gradient multiplier board (GMB), for which no comparator was disclosed; and (3) a computer chip for implementing certain functions of the hardware. At trial, Fonar acknowledged that it had a best mode as to all three aspects, but it introduced evidence that its patent adequately disclosed all three of those best modes. Regarding software routines, Fonar’s witnesses testified that disclosing the software functions was more important than providing the source code for the software. Regarding the GMB, Fonar’s witnesses testified that the patent specification sufficiently described the GMB’s function. Witness David Hertz testified that the GMB of Fonar’s machine was not the only way to attain MAO imaging; that someone skilled in the art would have understood that a comparator should be used (thus rebutting GE’s argument that the lack of disclosure of a comparator violated the best-mode requirement); and that each machine had its own set of requirements for the GMB, which is why Fonar’s patent specification described the GMB in only general terms. Regarding the computer chip, Fonar showed that Figure 7 of its patent schematically illustrated the chip and that Fonar’s patent specification textually described the chip’s functions. The jury returned a verdict finding infringement and that Fonar’s asserted claims were not invalid for failure to comply with the best-mode requirement. GE moved for a judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on several issues, including the best-mode verdict. The district court denied GE’s motions, and GE appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 687,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 687,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 43,000 briefs, keyed to 988 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 687,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 43,000 briefs - keyed to 988 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership