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Powerlock Floors Inc. v. Robbins Flooring Co.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT


decided: July 25, 1972.

POWERLOCK FLOORS, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
ROBBINS FLOORING CO., INC.

Staley, Van Dusen and Hunter,*fn* Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Opinion OF THE COURT

This appeal challenges a June 10, 1971, district court judgment, entered after trial to the court, providing that Patent No. 3,271,916 (916), issued on September 13, 1966, is invalid and has not been infringed by defendant.*fn1 The patent is on a flooring system which utilizes channels under the floorboards and places a resilient rubber strip between the channel and the supporting base.*fn2 After careful consideration of the plaintiff's contentions in light of the record, we have concluded that the factual findings of the trial court were not clearly erroneous and that its legal conclusions did not involve reversible error. See F.R.Civ. P. 61.

We agree with the conclusion of the district court, for the reasons well stated in its opinion, that claims 1-4 of the patent are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103, since "the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject matter pertains." Cf. Trio Process Corporation v. L. Goldstein's Sons, Inc., 461 F.2d 66 at 70 (3d Cir., 1972). Also, we agree with the district court's conclusion that claim 5 of the patent is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for failure to describe anything "useful," pages 394-395 of 327 F. Supp.*fn3 Finally, the record supports the district court's finding that plaintiff did not sustain its burden of proving that defendant manufactured or sold an infringing product between September 13, 1966, and September 27, 1966, when this suit was instituted. See 35 U.S.C. § 271(a).*fn4

The judgment of the district court will be affirmed.


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