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Moleculon Research Corp. v. CBS, Inc.

793 F.2d 1261 (Fed. Cir. 1986)

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Moleculon Research Corp. v. CBS, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

793 F.2d 1261 (Fed. Cir. 1986)

Facts

Larry Nichols had the idea to create a square puzzle capable of rotational movement. Between 1957 and 1962, Nichols made these puzzles out of paper and showed his friends at school. In 1962 Nichols started working for Moleculon Research Corp. (Moleculon) (plaintiff). In 1968 Nichols made a wood prototype of the puzzle. One day at work, the president of Moleculon saw the wood prototype and expressed interest in selling it. In 1969 Nichols assigned his rights in the invention to Moleculon in exchange for a portion of the proceeds if the puzzle was sold. In 1970 Nichols filed a patent application for his invention on behalf of Moleculon, and Moleculon’s patent was issued in 1972. When Moleculon discovered that CBS, Inc. (defendant) sold a similar puzzle called a Rubik’s Cube, Moleculon sued CBS for patent infringement. CBS argued that Moleculon’s patent was invalid for being in public use and on sale before the patent application was filed. The district court held in favor of Moleculon on this issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baldwin, J.)

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