Great Patent Quotes

This is a place where I am collecting great patent quotes. What makes a great patent quote great isn't its age (although older quotes that stand the test of time are probably greater than more recent quotes) nor is it their notoriety. It's how succinctly (or how colorfully) they capture a principle of patent law. Also, they must be citable!

On sufficiency of disclosure

"The law does not require of patentees to describe new and old, but merely to distinguish new from old. Otherwise a patent would be more complex and voluminous than a Welsh pedigree."

  • Evans v. Eaton, 20 U.S. 356 (S.Ct. 1822)

On timing of use/disclosure of invention

“That which infringes if later, anticipates if earlier."

  • Polaroid Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., 789 F.2d 1556, 1573 (Fed. Cir. 1986) (quoting Peters v. Active Mfg. Co., 129 U.S. 530, 537 (1889)).

To state the obvious . . .

“To willfully infringe a patent, the patent must exist.”

  • State Indus., Inc. v. A.O. Smith Corp., 751 F.2d 1226, 1236 (Fed. Cir. 1985)); see also Neonode Smartphone LLC v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 20-cv-507, 2023 WL 5426743, at *3 (W.D. Tex. June 27, 2023) (events “before the [asserted] Patent issued . . . could not have imparted actual knowledge of the subsequently issued patent”).

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