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White Consolidated Industries v. Vega Servo-Control

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Citation Edit

White Consolidated Industries, Inc. v. Vega Servo-Control, Inc., 214 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 796 (S.D. Mich. 1982), aff'd, 713 F.2d 788, 218 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 961 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

The plaintiff sued the defendant for patent infringement. The patent for a machine tool identified a computer program in the patent specification, but the program was not disclosed in the specification, but was maintained as a proprietary trade secret.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The lower court held that, absent disclosure of the program, the specification would require a great deal of experimentation by a skilled programmer to develop a workable program to make the invention operational. The proprietary nature of the program was found irrelevant, given that it was the only way of disclosing the best mode of practicing the invention.

Federal Circuit Proceedings Edit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated the patent on the ground that the disclosure failed to satisfy the enabling requirement under 35 U.S.C. §112.

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