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Titanium Metals Corp. of America v. Banner

Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
778 F.2d 775 (1985)


Facts

Titanium Metals Corp. of America (TMCA) (plaintiff) sued Banner (defendant) in his capacity as Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks. TMCA originally claimed a metal alloy, which is a blend of distinct metals, and alleged that it had certain desirable properties. The patent examiner, however, rejected two of the claims as anticipated by a Russian article and a third claim as obvious, also in light of the Russian article. The Board of Patent Appeals affirmed, but mistakenly ruled that all claims were anticipated, having not addressed obviousness. Proceeding only on anticipation, the Board argued that all of the claimed alloys were anticipated by the Russian reference, even though the Russian reference was silent on at least one claimed physical feature of the invention. The Board argued that one of skill in the art would be able to review the date plots and information on the Russian reference, would see that the claimed alloys were already known, and that the silence was irrelevant. TMCA filed suit against Banner, asking the district court to require the patent office to grant the patent application claims. After a brief bench trial, where the patent office called no witnesses, the district court found for TMCA, and the patent office appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rich, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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