2133.03(e)(2) Intent [R-07.2022]
[Editor Note: This MPEP section may be applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2150 et seq. for examination of applications subject to those provisions. See MPEP § 2152.02(c) through (e) for a detailed discussion of the public use and on sale provisions of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]
"When sales are made in an ordinary commercial environment and the goods are placed outside the inventor’s control, an inventor’s secretly held subjective intent to ‘experiment,’ even if true, is unavailing without objective evidence to support the contention. Under such circumstances, the customer at a minimum must be made aware of the experimentation." LaBounty Mfg., Inc. v. United States Int’l Trade Comm’n, 958 F.2d 1066, 1072, 22 USPQ2d 1025, 1029 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (quoting Harrington Mfg. Co. v. Powell Mfg. Co., 815 F.2d 1478, 1480 n.3, 2 USPQ2d 1364, 1366 n.3 (Fed. Cir. 1986); Sunoco Partners Mktg. & Terminals LP v. U.S. Venture, Inc., 32 F.4th 1161, 1171-72, 2022 USPQ2d 417 (Fed. Cir. 2022) (The Federal Circuit relied on the objective evidence of the contract over the inventors’ testimony that their intent for the agreement was experimental); Paragon Podiatry Laboratory, Inc. v. KLM Labs., Inc., 984 F.2d 1182, 25 USPQ2d 1561 (Fed. Cir. 1993) (Paragon sold the inventive units to the trade as completed devices without any disclosure to either doctors or patients of their involvement in alleged testing. Evidence of the inventor’s secretly held belief that the units were not durable and may not be satisfactory for consumers was not sufficient, alone, to avoid a statutory bar.).