Anderson's-Black Rock, Inc. v. Pavement Salvage Co.

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In Anderson's-Black Rock, Inc. v. Pavement Salvage Co., 396 U.S. 57 (1969), a patent case, the U.S. Supreme Court elaborated on its approach taken in United States v. Adams.

The subject matter of the patent before the Court was a device combining two pre-existing elements: a radiant-heat burner and a paving machine. The device, the Court concluded, did not create some new synergy: The radiant-heat burner functioned just as a burner was expected to function; and the paving machine did the same. The two in combination did no more than they would in separate, sequential operation. Id. at 60-62. In those circumstances, "while the combination of old elements performed a useful function, it added nothing to the nature and quality of the radiant-heat burner already patented," and the patent failed under § 103. Id. at 62 (footnote omitted).

Justice William O. Douglas delivered the opinion of the court. Chief Justice Warren Burger took no part in the decision of the case.

External Links

Case at FindLaw (registration required)