Studiengesellschaft Kohle mbH v. Eastman Kodak Co.

616 F.2d 1315 (1980)

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Studiengesellschaft Kohle mbH v. Eastman Kodak Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
616 F.2d 1315 (1980)

Facts

Studiengesellschaft Kohle (SGK) (plaintiff) sued Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak) (defendant) for infringement of a patent it owned on a catalytic process (patent ‘792). In its defense, Kodak claimed that patent ‘792 was invalid because it was not novel—according to Kodak, another patent (patent ‘987) had already disclosed prior art on the same process before patent ‘792 was filed. Patent ‘987 was owned by Giulio Natta, a third party to the lawsuit. Natta first filed for an Italian patent on July 27, 1954, and then filed for a US patent on June 8, 1955. His US filing therefore fell within the one-year period during which the Paris Convention (the convention) recognizes priority for applications in signatory countries. The inventor of patent ‘792 first filed in Germany on August 3, 1954, then in the US on June 8, 1955. This filing also fell within the convention’s one-year priority period. Kodak argued that because 35 U.S.C. § 119 extended the effect of US filing to applications filed in convention countries, patent ‘987’s Italian filing date established prior art. The district court agreed, concluding that patent ‘987’s Italian filing date functioned as the effective date for disclosing prior art in the US and holding that patent ‘792 was invalid. SGK appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coleman, C.J.)

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