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
Holding and Reasoning (Markey, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 147,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,300 briefs, keyed to 182 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.