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)