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In re Brown

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Citation Edit

In re Brown, 477 F.2d 946, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 691 (C.C.P.A. 1973) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

This case involved the invention of an all weather terrestrial navigation system. The applicant disclosed the invention in general block diagrams and furnished mathematical equations. It was also disclosed that an operating "mathematical model" had been constructed, but no programs were provided.[1] Instead, the applicant furnished affidavits asserting that a program had been prepared and that its preparation, given the disclosure, was within the skill level of general practitioners at the time of filing.[2]

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The question before the court was the adequacy of the disclosure to teach the invention.[3] The court held that a "mathematical model" was not adequate to teach the actual invention. Of more interest, however, was the holding that the affidavits inadequately demonstrated that the specification could teach the program behind the "mathematical model.”[4] They were held to lack sufficient factual content and were unreliable evidence of the skill level of general practitioners because the affiants had discussed the invention at length with the applicant before programming the invention.[5] By disposing of the case on these grounds, the court effectively declined to require actual program disclosure.


  1. Id. at 950, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 694.
  2. Id.
  3. Id. at 951, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 694.
  4. Id. at 951, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 695.
  5. Id. at 951-52, 177 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) at 695.

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