Grant v. Raymond

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In Grant v. Raymond, 6 Pet. 218, 247, 31 U.S. 218 (1832), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a patent may not issue unless it discloses the invention in such detail that one skilled in the art may copy it.

Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the opinion for the Court. He stated that:

"The third section [of the 1793 Act] requires, as preliminary to a patent, a correct specification and description of the thing discovered. This is necessary in order to give the public, after the privilege shall expire, the advantage for which the privilege is allowed, and is the foundation of the power to issue the patent."

Complete disclosure as a precondition to the issuance of a patent is part of the quid pro quo that justifies the limited monopoly for the inventor as consideration for full and immediate access by the public when the limited time expires.