In United States patent law, the reduction to practice is a concept meaning the embodiment of the concept of an invention. The date of this embodiment is critical to the determination of priority between inventors in an interference proceeding.
Conception is the "formation in the mind of the inventor, of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operative invention, as it is hereafter to be applied in practice." Hybritech Inc. v. Monoclonal Antibodies, Inc., 802 F.2d 1367, 1376 (Fed. Cir. 1986) (quoting 1 Robinson On Patents 532 (1890).
The embodiment of an invention can either be:
- Actual reduction to practice: "equires that the claimed invention work for its intended purpose." Brunswick Corp. v. U.S., 34 Fed. Cl. 532, 584 (1995).
- Constructive reduction to practice: "ccurs upon the filing of a patent application on the claimed invention." Brunswick Corp. v. U.S., 34 Fed. Cl. 532, 584 (1995).
- "Simultaneous conception and reduction to practice": "In some instances, such as the discovery of genes or chemicals, an inventor is unable to establish a conception until he has reduced the invention to practice through a successful experiment." The Regents of the University of California v. Synbiotics Co., 849 F.Supp. 740, 742 (S.D.Cal., 1994) (citing Amgen, Inc. v. Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., 927 F.2d 1200, 1206 (Fed. Cir. 1991)). The court will apply this doctrine in so-called "unpredictable arts" such as biology and chemistry where the invention is a "biologically active composition of matter," also called a "bio-chemical substance."
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