CASRIP Newsletter - Winter 1998, Volume 5, Issue 1
Three Cases: Ethicon, Sage Products, and Monarch
Pitfalls for Non-US Patentees: Who Are Inventors?
Ethicon, Inc. v. United States Surgical Corp.1
For patent practitioners outside the United States (and possibly Germany2), inventorship is not a big issue as long as ownership of a patent is properly identified in the patent. However, as typically illustrated in Ethicon Inc. v. United States Surgical Corp., an error in inventorship on a U.S. patent may fatally invalidate the patent or result in a license to an omitted co-inventor, which may significantly reduce the value of the patent.
In Ethicon, a dispute over inventorship happened between a medical doctor, Dr. Yoon, and an electronics technician, Mr. Choi, who worked together to develop a trocar, a surgical instrument essential for endoscopic surgery and used for making small incisions in the wall of a body cavity to admit endoscopic instruments. Dr. Yoon identified a problem on conventional tractors--the tractor blade might accidentally damage internal organs and structures. He conceived of an idea to solve this problem by providing: (a) a safety system to prevent the blade from cutting into organs and (b) a device to alert the surgeon when the incision was complete. In 1980, to implement his idea, Dr. Yoon invited Mr. Choi to work with him to develop the safety system and the alert device. After eighteen months collaboration, in 1982, believing that the collaboration would not result in any marketable product, Mr. Choi left Dr. Yoon.
Right after Mr. Choi's departure from the projects, Dr. Yoon filed an application for a patent, naming himself as the sole inventor and disclosing various embodime nts of a safety tractor. That application matured into U.S. Patent No. 4,535,773 (the'773 patent). Under this patent, Dr. Yoon granted an exclusive license to Ethicon but did not inform Mr. Choi of the patent application or its issuance.
In 1989, Ethicon brought an action against U.S. Surgical, alleging infringement of claims 34 and 50 of the '773 patent. In 1992, while this action was still pendi ng, U.S. Surgical found out about Mr. Choi. Believing that Mr. Choi was a co-inventor, U.S. Surgical obtained from Mr. Choi a retroactive license to practice his tractor-related inventions and moved to correct the inventorship with respect to Claims 23, 33, 46 and 47 in the '773 patent. The district court granted U.S. Surgical's motion and found Mr. Choi's co-inventorship with respect to the subject matter recited in claims 33 and 47.
U.S. Surgical then moved to dismiss the infringement action, alleging a defense of license from Mr. Choi. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the suit. Ethicon appealed from the district court judgment. Noteworthy d iscussions on issues Ethicon advanced for the appeal are: (1) whether Choi's participation in Dr. Yoon's projects gav e rise to their inventorship of the claimed subject matter and (2) whether Choi's ownership extended to the patent as a whole irrespective of his contribution to each claim.
With respect to the first issue, the Federal Circuit applied a two-step test in determining (1) what Choi's contribution was and (2) whether that contribution's role appeared in the claimed invention. In applying the test, the court first looked at the embodiments in the specification and drawings to understand the subject matter of Claim 33 directed to a trocar with a safety system, and then identified that a blunt rod provided in an aperture on a trocar blade prevents the blade from accidentally causing an injury to internal organs. The Federal Circuit noted that the district court relied extensively on Mr. Choi's testimony corroborated by his own sketches, but discounted Dr. Yoon's testimony because a drawing depicting the blunt rod presented to corroborate Dr. Yoon's testimony was found to be altered and unreliable. The Federal Circuit did not find any error in this finding.
The same test was applied to Claim 47 directed to an embodiment of another safety system using a cocked spring to pull the trocar blade into a protective sheath. The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that Choi invented one of the two structures constituting the detaining function recited in the claim to trigger the retracting of trocar blade based on one of Mr. Choi's sketches, although it found that D r. Yoon conceived of the retractable blade system in general. It, however, found clear error in the district court's finding of Mr. Choi's conception of the other structure since the sketch that the court relied on disclosed a structure that functioned differently from the structure adopted in the embodiments of the specification. When a claim in dispute is in the means -plus-function format, one who contributed to the conception of one of the alternative examples disclosed in the specification which examples corresponded to the function of the claim. Because Mr. Choi conceived one of the structures which provided the function of the claim in dispute, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's finding of Mr. Choi's co-inventorship for Claim 47.
After finding Mr. Choi's co-inventorship with respect to only two of the fifty-five claims in the '773 patent, the Federal Circuit made clear that each co-inventor owned an equal, undivided interest in the entire patent. Since the Patent Act provides options for whether or not to file plural inventions of different inventorships jointly or separately, "where inventors choose to cooperate in the inventive process, their inventions may become joint property without some express agreement to the contrary." In this case, Mr. Choi shares with Dr. Yoon the ownership of the entire patent and thus had the power to license the entire patent.
In interpreting the terms of the license agreement between Mr. Choi and U.S. Surgical, "license to make, have made, use, market and sell Choi's trocar-related inventions", the Federal Circuit did not limit the scope of license to the subject matter of the two claims which were found to be co-invented by Mr. Choi. This interpretation was supported by other provisions in the same agreement that indicated the parties' intent to grant a license for the entire patent. The court agreed with Ethicon that Mr. Choi could not release U.S. Surgical from the pre-license liability for damages to Ethicon but could release only from such liability to him. Nevertheless, the court dismissed Ethicon's claim against U.S. Surgical 's pre-license infringement, applying the important principle that all co-owners must join to file a patent infringement action. This principle is supported by the policy expressed in Section 262, which guarantees patentees the freedom to exploit their patents without a duty to account to other co-owners, and such freedom is applicable to the right to license. Because Mr. Choi refused to join as plaintiff in this suit, the dismissal of t his suit was proper.
Judge Newman wrote a dissenting opinion, arguing that the ownership of a co-inventor extended only to the subject matter of claims to which he or she contributed and did not extend to the entire patent. The 1984 amendment to Section 116 relaxed the inventorship requirement for filing an application to accommodate the needs to prosecute inventions resulting from team-research activities along with the growth of technology-based industry. It, however, did not deal with the ownership but made obsolete the premise for the joint ownership that each named person made a full and equal contribution to the entire patented invention. She emphasized that "the law had never given a contributor to a minor portion of an invention a full share in the originator's patent," and she believed that this was what had happened in this case.
The resolution adopted by the majority is in line with those of many other countries. For example, under Japanese law, because a patent right is issued to the application as a whole, one cannot divide the rights with respect to claims and transfer such divided rights to someone else. The exception to this rule is a request for a revocation or invalidation proceeding with respect to each claim.3
This case clearly demonstrates pitfalls for non-U.S. patent practitioners in prosecuting U.S. patents. First, non-U.S. patent attorneys would readily make an error in identifying an inventor if they do not know the extensive case law on conception that determines inventor-ship. An error in inventorship may destroy the patentability or validity under Section 104, and the inventor may be forced to tolerate exploitation by someone other than "so-believed co-inventors under Section 262. In Japan, as well as in many of other European and Asian countries, an error in inventorship is not a reason to challenge the patentability or validity. Therefore, if two inventors are obligated to transfer their rights to the patent to the same per son and that person applies for a patent, the application for a patent resulting from such application will have no flaw.
Like other European and Asian patent laws, Japanese patent law subjects a co-owner's right to license to consent from all other co-owners,4 although they are free to exploit the patented invention.5Thus, third party-accused infringers cannot be released from their liability by getting a license from a co-owner. However, whether co-owners must jointly file a patent infringement action is a point of controversy among Japanese patent scholars.6 Court decisions are also split.7 If the same theory adopted by the Ethicon majority were to apply under Japanese Law, a co-owner of a Japanese patent would be able to file an action without joining all the co-owners and enforce her right against a third party who had obtained a license from a co-owner without her consent.8
What Is Left For Infringement Under the Doctrine of Equivalents after Warner-Jenkinson?
Sage Products, Inc. v. Devon Industries, Inc.9
The Federal Circuit has affirmed an increased number of summary judgments in non-infringement suits after the Supreme Court decisions, Markman10 and Warner-Jekinson.11 Sage Products, Inc. clearly shows the trend in the Federal Circuit that limits the use of the doctrine of equivalents to the extent of nothing more than literal infringement. The policy discussions supporting the restrictive use of the doctrine signify the court's determination to change the case law direction. Such discussions, which are surprisingly similar to those found in the judgments of Japanese courts that follow the inventor's recognition limitation theory in blaming inventors for not drafting perfect claims to clearly cover accused embodiments, are quoted below:
"Once again, this case raises the question of why the law restricts application of the doctrine of equivalents without further fact finding. . . . The claim at issue defines a relatively simple structural device. A skilled patent drafter would foresee the limiting potential of the 'over said slot limitation. No subtlety of language or complexity of the technology, nor any subsequent change in the state of art, such as later-developed technology, obfuscated the significance of t his limitation at the time of its incorporation into the claim. . . . If Sage desired broad patent protection for any container that performed a function similar to its claimed container, it could have sought claims with fewer structural encumbrances. Had Sage done so, then the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) could have fulfilled its statutory role in helping to ensure that exclusive rights are issued only to those who have, in fact, contributed something new, useful, and unobvious. Instead, Sage left t he PTO with manifestly limited claims that it now seeks to expand through the doctrine of equivalents. However, as between the patentee who had a clear opportunity to negotiate broader claims but did not do so and the public at large, it is the patentee who must bear the cost of its failure to seek protection for this foreseeable alteration of its claimed structure. . . . This court recognizes that such reasoning places a premium on forethought in patent drafting. Indeed, this premium may lead to higher costs of patent prosecution. However, the alternative rule--allowing broad play for the doctrine of equivalents to encompass foreseeable variations, not just of a claim element, but of a patent claim--also leads to a higher costs. Society at large would b ear these latter costs in the form of virtual foreclosure of competitive activity within the penumbra of each issued patent claim. Because the doctrine of equivalents blurs the line of demarcation between infringement and non-infringing activity, it creates a zone of uncertainty, into which competitors tread only at their peril. Given a choice of imposing the higher costs of careful prosecution on patentees, or imposing the costs of foreclosed business activity on the public at large, this court believes the costs are property imposed on the group best positioned to determine whether or not a particular invention warrants investment at a higher level, that is, the patentee. In sum, the ' 728 patent claims a precise arrangement of structural elements that cooperate in a particular way to achieve a certain result. Devon achieves a similar result--restricted entry to a medical disposal container--but it does so by a different arrangement of elements. Because this issued patent contains clear structural limitations, the public has right to rely on those limits in conducting its business activities. This court will not effectively remove such a limitation under a doctrine to prevent 'fraud on a patent'."12
The premise adopted by Judge Rader in the above policy discussions is highly contrasted with the premise that applicants have incomplete information on the prior art and future modifications or variations developed by competitors, which German courts have historically been based on and the Japanese Supreme Court has recently adopted. Because of the impossibility for patent drafters to cover all possible variations excluding the prior art, the doctrine of equivalents enables the patentee to capture variations that are considered equivalents to the claimed invention.
In Sage Products, two competitors, Sage and Devon, sued each other for infringement of various patents relating generally to medical instruments disposal containers. Regarding Sage's '728 patent, the district court interpreted the claim to require (1) "an elongated slot" to lie at the top of the container body, in other words, at the highest point, level or part of the container body and (2)"a first constriction means of barrier means" to extend over the slot. Because the slot lies within Devon's container, the district court found no literal infringement. After affirming the district court's claim interpretation and finding of no literal infringement, the Federal Circuit also refused to find infringement by equivalents, stating that the doctrine of equivalents could not be used to effectively remove entirely the "top of the container" and "over the slot" limitations from the claim.
The Federal Circuit also affirmed the district court's finding of no literal infringement and no infringement under the doctrine of equivalents with respect to Sage's '849 patent that was directed to a needle removal and disposal device. The claims of the patent employed the word "means" to name elements in the claims in dispute. In determining whether Section 112, Paragraph 6 controls the interpretation of these claims, the Federal Circuit stated that the use of the word "means" gave rise to a presumption that the inventor used the word advisedly to invoke means-plus-function treatment, unless the patentee established that the "means" was not used in conjunction with functions. Since the "means in the claims in dispute were recited in conjunction with functions without reciting any particular structures, the court had to interpret the claims in accordance with the mea ns-plus-function claim interpretation under Section 112, Paragraph 6.
Accordingly, the court looked at the embodiments in the specification to identify the structure that accomplished the functions recited in the claims. The court found that a pivotable lid that could be removed to and from the open a nd closed positions in the specification provided the closure means. Thus, it concluded that the closure means must move from a closed position to an open position and back, in order to control access to the slot means. Because Devon's device's lid locked in a closed position but could not be moved back into an open position, Devon's device did not infringe Sage's 40 patent. The Federal Circuit also rejected Sage's argument that Devon's permanently locking lid was equivalent to the claimed closure means. However, the court emphasized the presence of additional functional limitations on the closure , which tended to suggest that the closure means must have an ability to control access and selectively move between open and closed access positions. An infringement under the doctrine of equivalents between the claimed device and the accused device would result in the entire removal of these functional limitations, which practice was forbidden by the Supreme Court.
Although Devon successfully defended against Sage's charge of infringement, it had no luck with respect to its own claims. The district court interpreted Devon's '592 patent to require two openings that (1) respectively pass through the two baffles of the medical waste container and (2) are horizontally displaced from one another so that deposited waste can travel laterally as it passes through the space between the two baffles. The Federal Circuit found no error in this interpretation because it was supported by the description of the specification and the prosecution history. Based on this interpretation, no literal infringement could be found because one of the two openings in the accused container might be adjacent to the baffle but could not pass through it and one of the openings overlay another, instead of being displaced from another.
The Federal Circuit also rejected Devon's claim of infringement by equivalents by applying the prosecution history estoppel. The missing "pass through" and "displacement" limitations of the two openings were inserted during the prosecution to overcome multiple prior art references, reciting the arrangements of the openings. The court determined that the scope given up by the applicant through the amendment included all containers having no opening through the second baffle and those having one opening overlaying another, and that Devon could not recapture the scope including the accused device through the doctrine of equivalents. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of non-infringement because all claim interpretations and findings of no literal infringement by the district court were proper and no reasonable jury would find infringement under the doctrine of equivalents based on the properly interpreted claims.
This case clearly indicates the Federal Circuit's emphasis on other doctrines to restrict the application of the doctrine of equivalents. Some may wonder what is left for U.S. patentees as the range of equivalents after no literal infringement is found in the accused device or process, if courts attach a great significance to every limitation and prevent from ignoring any of them. Particularly, if the disputed terms are found to be amended or argued during the prosecution, a chance for the patentee to escape the application of the prosecution history estoppel is very slim. In spite of the fact that the Supreme Court agreed with the Federal Circuit that an argument or amendment during the prosecution does not automatically give rise to an estoppel bar, a patentee is left to defend his position without a clear guidance regarding what constitutes a sufficient reason to overcome the estoppel bar. The result of the current practice is effectively no different from the practice suggested by the Hilton Davis dissenters that required automatic application of the estoppel irrespective of the reason for argument or amendment.
It is too early to decide whether this case as well as many other recent cases indicate change in case law direction in reaction to the Supreme Court's instruction on claim functions. Reacting to the requirement imposed by the European Patent Convention, the German Supreme Court in Formstein13 indicated a clear determination to restrict their claim interpretation to the claim language but had shortly returned to their traditional view in determining the patent protection scope based on the general inventive idea. Some extreme views to extend the protection to patentable equivalents were modified by the most recent German Supreme Court decision, and the experience in German courts clearly indicate the difficulty in changing case law direction while maintaining the same judges to adjudicate patent issues.14 Whether this restrictive view indicated in recent Federal Circuit cases takes root in U.S. jurisprudence seems t o depend on how the Federal Circuit would resolve three pending cases remanded by the Supreme Court, namely, Litton,15 Festo16 and Hughes Aircraft.17 (Litton and Hughes were published on April 7, 1998 and will be reported in the next issue.)
Problem Solution Approach on Fire in the Federal Circuit
Monarch Knitting Machinery Corp. v. Sulzer Morat GmbH18
In Europe, a debate has recently started on whether the problem-solution approach uniformly adopted by examiners in the European Patent Office (EPO) is inherently subject to a hindsight because one must always compare the claimed invention and its solution with the most relevant prior art before the assessment of the inventive step in order to objectively determine the problem to be solved by the claimed invention. Such a risk of evaluating an invention with a hindsight in the assessment of the inventive step is well demonstrated by a recent Federal Circuit case, Monarch Knitting Machinery Corp. v. Sulzer Morat GmbH.
The patent in this case, '053 patent, relates to an improvement on thin metal needles for machines that automatically knit yarn into fabric. In 1976, the inventors of the '053 patent discovered that the risk of breaking needles as a result of a high speed knitting operation could be minimized by decreasing the height of a portion of the needle cal led a "first segment." On May 11, 1979, the inventors' employer, Sulzer Morat, filed an application in Germany. Claiming priority based on the German application, on May 11, 1979, a U.S. application was filed with the only independent claim for a knitting tool that required a first segment to have "a length (l) of at least eight millimeters (8 mm) and a height (h) of at most eleven-tenths of a millimeter (1.1 mm)."
During the prosecution at the USPTO, the examiner rejected the claim for being obvious over Kohorn patent, which disclosed the use of cutouts at the back of a needle to reduce vibration, thereby lowering the frequency of needle breakage. Since Kohorn had taught a cutout extending one half the distance from the back of the needle toward the front, the examiner reasoned that one skilled would have designed the claimed needle by applying the Kohorn's teaching on a needle with a shank height of 2.2 mm. Sulzer Morat responded that no needle which had a shank less than 2.85 mm had existed in the prior art. The examiner allowed the application, resulting in the '053 patent.
In 1985, Monarch Knitting filed a declaratory judgment action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and requested a reexamination at the USPTO based on a new prior art, a Japanese publication disclosing two needles with shank heights of 1.92 mm and 2.0 mm. Although the examiner rejected the '053 patent over Kohorn in view of the Japanese publication, on appeal, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interference reversed the decision, reasoning that the first segment of the needles in the Japanese publication had lengths of less than 8 mm.
After the reexamination proceeding, Grotz-Beckert, the assignee of Sulzer Morat '053, started an infringement action against Monarch and its supplier in the same district court. That action was consolidated with the declaratory judgment action which was stayed during the reexamination proceeding. The district court granted Monarch's first motion for a summary judgment, finding claim 1 of the '053 patent being invalid for obviousness only. Monarch filed a similar motion that most dependent claims were invalid for obviousness. The district court granted Monarch's second motion and entered a final judgment of invalidity. Grotz-Beckert filed an appeal.
The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the summary judgment, concluding that genuine issues of material fact remain and thus the district court should further discuss to resolve those issues. In determining that there was a dispute on factual issues underlying nonobviousness determination, the Federal Circuit examined the district court's formulation of the problem solved by the '053 patent. The approach adopted by the district court--determining the objective problem of the invention in terms of the most relevant prior art to understand the solution adopted by the inventor19--was exactly the same as the one uniformly adopted by the EPO and recently by the JPO. This approach, however, was rejected by the Federal Circuit, noting that "the problem in terms of its solution reveals improper hindsight in the selection of the prior art relevant to obviousness. It also affected the district court's determinations about the content of the prior art." The Federal Circuit found the district court's determination of obviousness improper because the district court relied on the trend of reducing the height of the first segment to affirm a suggestion to the solution improperly formulated and being subject to hindsight. According to Monarch court's proper assessment of nonobviousness, instead of finding a suggestion to a solution from the trend, one must decide whether one would have had a motivation to combine references to form a trend. This is highly contrasted with the EPO practice under which the solution of the invention must be identified before the assessment of inventive step, including the determination of an existence or absence of a suggestion to the solution.
Reexamining the Kohorn and other related references, the Federal Circuit found genuine factual issues on the existence of suggestion because they had taught several solutions to the problem, minimizing the breakage of needles, but were not motivated to select the one adopted by the inventors. Besides the improper finding of suggestion or motivation to combine, the court's finding of a trend to decrease the height of the first segment of a needle was also improper because a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the patentee with respect to four needles on which the district court's finding relied.
The Federal Circuit also found that evidence on secondary consideration disclosed genuine issue of fact with respect to the existence of a long-felt need. Relying on the evidence of contemporaneous developments of similar needles by Grotz-Beckert's researchers and a Monarch's Japanese supplier, the district court rejected the patentee's argument based on the existence of a long-felt need. The needles did not qualify as "prior art" for either novelty or nonobviousness determination; they were relevant to obviousness as a secondary consideration. The Federal Circuit noted that evidence of contemporaneous development must be reviewed to confirm the fulfillment of the need by the development. Because the evidence indicates a reasonable inference that the developments of two needles were isolated and failed to meet the need, the district court's conclusion against the patentee was improper.
Having stated that the record also revealed an inference in favor of the patentees with respect to "unexpected results" and "teaching away," the Federal Circuit concluded that the evidence in the record raised genuine issues of fact concerning the content of the prior art and secondary considerations, which issues were material to an obviousness determination. Thus, the summary judgment was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings.
Because this is a case reviewing a summary judgment, the Federal Circuit's reasoning in evaluating the record is not applicable to the proceedings in other countries. The discussions on the nonobviousness assessment is, however, very instructive to European and Japanese patent professionals in their reevaluation of the problem-solution approach, particularly regarding the relationship between the step for formulating the object and solution and the step for identifying the motivation. The discussions on factors for secondary considerations are also informative because both EPO and JPO take account of these factors but do not rely on them as heavily as the USPTO and Federal Circuit in determining the inventive step. As clearly demonstrated by the discussions in Monarch Knitting, the limited proceedings at the EPO and JPO in evaluating the evidence on factors in secondary considerations would reduce the effective use of these factors. Further, many inventions have not been exploited by the time when the EPO and JPO examine patentability. Particularly, it would be very difficult for the EPO to establish a practice to rely on secondary considerations unless such practice reflects the practice uniformly adopted by all member states because questions regarding secondary considerations are more suitable for courts' review than the patent office's.
1. 135 F. 3d 1456, 45 USPQ2d 1545 (Fed. Cir. 1998).
2. The ownership of inventions made by employees is extensively regulated by an employee invention law. No or insufficient compensation for an invention qualified as a service invention prevents the transfer of the ownership of the invention from the employee to the employer.
3. Japanese Patent Law, Article 113 and Article 121, Paragraph 2.
4. Japanese Patent Law, Article 73, Paragraph 2.
5. Japanese Patent Law, Article 73, Paragraph 3.
6. Kosaku Yoshiguji, Tokkyo Ho Gaisetsu (Outlines of Patent Law) 552 (9th ed. 1992).
7. Compare, Judgement of Supreme Court, Aug. 31, 1961, 1961-62 Shinketsu Torikeshi Shu 7, dismissing an action brought by a co-owner of a patent as being improper; and Apr. 24, 1975, 7 Mutai Zaisankan Kankei Minji Gyousei Hanreishu (No. 1) 97, finding an action brought by a co-owner of a patent proper.
8. An influential professor indicated his view that an action filed by some but not all co-owners is proper. Nobuo Monya, Mutai Zaisanken Ho Gairon (Outlines of Industrial Property Law) 50 (1992).
9. 126 F.3d 1420, 44 U.S.PQ2d 1103 (Fed. Cir. 1997).
10. Markman v. Westview Instruments, 515 U.S. 1192, 132 L. Ed. 2d 921, 116 S. Ct. 40 (1995).
11. Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chem. Co., 137 L.Ed. 2d 146, 117 S. Ct. 1040, 41 U.S.P.Q.2d 1865 (1997).
12. 126 F.3d at 1425.
13. "Moulded Curbstone" (Formstein), 18 Int'l Rev. Indus Prop. & Copyright L. 795 (1987)(BGH).
14. "Segmentation Device for Tree Trunks" (Zerlegvorttichtung fur Baumstamme), 26 Int'l Rev. Indus Prop. & Copyright L. 261 (1995)(BGH 1994); Jochen Pagenberg, More Refined Rules of Claim Interpretation in GermanyAre They Necessary?, 26 Int'l Rev. Indus Prop. & Copyright L. 228 (1995).
15. Litton Sysm, Inc. v. Honeywell, Inc., 87 F.3d 1559, 39 USPQ2d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 1996), remanded, 117 S. Ct. 1240 (1997).
16. Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co. 72 F.3d 857, 863 (Fed. Cir. 1995), remanded, 117 S. Ct. 1240 (1997).
17. Hugh's Aircraft Co. v. United States, 86 F.3d 1566, 39 USPQ2d 1065 (Fed. Cir. 1996), remanded, 117 S. Ct. 1466 (1997).
18. 45 USPQ2d 1977 (Fed. Cir. 1998).
19. Romuald Singer, the European Patent Convention, 185 (Translated in English by Raph Lunzer, 1995).