In re Robertson
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
169 F.3d 743 (1999)
Anthony Robertson (plaintiff) applied for a patent on an improved fastening system for diapers that made disposal more convenient. Claim 76 of the patent application provided for three mechanical fastening means—two to attach the diaper to the wearer and one to secure the diaper for disposal. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) examiner and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (the board) rejected Robertson’s application on the ground of anticipation by an existing patent (the Wilson patent). Although the Wilson patent provided for only two fastening means, the board held that one of the two fastening means could effectively operate as a third fastening means for disposal purposes. Thus, the board held, claim 76 was anticipated under the principle of inherency. Robertson appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Friedman, J.)
Concurrence (Rader, J.)
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