Judge Linn Dissent: File Wrapper Should Not Serve as Prior Art

Bruckelmyer v. Ground Heaters (Fed. Cir. 2006).

The majority held that an unpublished patent application that eventually issued as a Canadian patent was a “printed publication” under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).  Judge Linn dissented:

[T]he text of an issued patent does not generally serve to guide researchers to the file history for a more expansive disclosure of the described invention, and it certainly does not lead researchers to the file history for disclosure of subject matter not described in the issued text. . . . The fact that an additional drawing, disclosing additional structure, is present in the application file is a matter of sheer happenstance nowhere indicated in the issued patent. For this reason, it is my view that, as in Cronyn, the anticipatory drawings at issue in this case are “not accessible to the public because they have not been cataloged or indexed in a meaningful way.” . . . In this case, in addition to not being meaningfully indexed, as discussed above, no copies were known to have been made or distributed during the critical period, and the ’119 application was available for viewing only at the Canadian Patent Office in Hull, Quebec.


2 thoughts on “Judge Linn Dissent: File Wrapper Should Not Serve as Prior Art

  1. 1

    I am trying to understand this post. Does it mean that we need to re-look at the definition of Prior Art?

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