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Civil Procedure Fall 2014

Jerry W. Gunn, et al., Petitioners v. Vernon F. Minton

Headnote

Summary/Edited Facts of Case: Vernon Minton developed a computer program (“TEXCEN”) for securities trading in the early 1990s. He leased it in 1995 to a securities brokerage. He applied to patent TEXCEN a little more than a year later, and the patent was issued in 2000. Minton then sued NASDAQ for patent infringement, represented by Mr. Gunn. NASDAQ obtained summary judgment on the grounds that the patent was invalid; an inventor is not entitled to a patent if "the invention was . . . on sale . . . more than one year prior to the date of the application," and Minton had leased TEXCEN to Stark more than one year prior to filing his patent application. 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). Minton then filed a motion for reconsideration arguing for the first time that the lease agreement was part of ongoing testing of TEXCEN and therefore fell within the "experimental use" exception to the [one year rule]. The District Court denied the motion on the grounds that the experimental use argument was waived, Minton appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed.