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Rosaire v. Baroid Sales Division

218 F.2d 72 (5th Cir. 1955)

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Rosaire v. Baroid Sales Division

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

218 F.2d 72 (5th Cir. 1955)

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Facts

Two patents were issued to Rosaire (plaintiff) and Horvitz for a method of prospecting for oil and other hydrocarbons, by sampling and treating soil to evolve the hydrocarbons as gas, and then measuring the amount of gas evolved from each location. Rosaire claimed that he and Horvitz invented the method in 1936. Rosaire filed suit against Baroid Sales Division (Baroid) (defendant), alleging infringement of the patents. Baroid argued that Rosaire’s patents were invalid because Abraham Teplitz and his coworkers at Gulf Oil Corporation (Gulf) knew of the same prospecting method and extensively used the method in fieldwork between 1935 and 1936, prior to Rosaire and Horvitz’s purported invention. It was established that Teplitz spent extended time on location collecting and testing samples according to the method, until a time in 1936 when Gulf suspended its gas prospecting program to allow for review of the experimental test results. Rosaire conceded that Teplitz discovered and used the method first, but contended that Rosaire was nevertheless entitled to the patents because neither Teplitz nor Gulf applied for a patent for the method until 1939, published any information on the method, or formally provided the benefit of the method or completed experimental work to the public. The trial court found Rosaire’s patents to be invalid and void. Rosaire appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tuttle, J.)

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