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Monday, October 20, 2008

Four Corners test for Anticipation Clarified

The CAFC in Net MoneyIn v. Verisign has established a clearer standard for determining novelty under Section 102. Anticipation is not created simply by finding all elements of a claimed invention in a prior art document. Rather, it is necessary for the finder of fact (including Examiners?) to show that the reference teaches "all of the limitations arranged or combined in the same way as recited in the claim." As explained by the court:

Section 102 embodies the concept of novelty—if a device or process has been previously invented (and disclosed to the public), then it is not new, and therefore the claimed invention is "anticipated" by the prior invention. . . . Because the hallmark of anticipation is prior invention, the prior art reference—in order to anticipate under 35 U.S.C. § 102—must not only disclose all elements of the claim within the four corners of the document, but must also disclose those elements "arranged as in the claim."

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