Logourl black

W.L. Gore & Associates v. Garlock, Inc.

Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
721 F.2d 1540 (1983)


W.L. Gore (plaintiff) sued Garlock (defendant) for infringement of two patents, one claiming a process for stretching Teflon tape under certain conditions and the other claiming products of the Teflon tape stretching process. Teflon tape and certain methods for stretching it were known in the art prior to the Gore patents, though Gore’s inventions were based on the surprising discovery that high speed stretching under certain conditions was possible, while one of skill in the art believed that the most effective manner of stretching tape without damaging it was by reducing the stretch speed. The machine for stretching the tape, known as the 401 machine, was also previously known in the art. Garlock counterclaimed for non-infringement and patent invalidity, the invalidity purportedly based on prior use by another company, Budd. A few years prior to the Gore patents’ filing dates, a New Zealander, Cropper, developed his own Teflon stretching machine. He offered it for sale to a Massachusetts company, though no sale or further disclosure ever occurred. Then, still prior to the Gore filing date, Cropper licensed the machine to Budd, who used the machine secretly to manufacture stretched Teflon tape similar to the new tape made by Gore. Budd and Cropper entered into a confidentiality sales agreement, and Budd further required its employees to sign secrecy agreements with respect to the machine. On the basis of this prior use, the district court held that the Gore patents were anticipated. Gore appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Markey, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 90,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,195 briefs - keyed to 164 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now