Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Legille v. Dann case brief

Legille v. Dann case brief summary
544 F.2d 1 (D.C. Cir. 1976)

Appellant challenged summary judgment for appellees granted by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in appellees' action involving the proper filing date assigned under 35 U.S.C.S. § 119 (1970) to their patent applications when received by the United States Patent Office.

Appellees' attorney airmailed to the United States Patent Office a package containing appellees' four patent applications. Although delivery of airmail from the attorney's office to Washington, D.C., was normally two days, the package was received and date-stamped several days after the normal delivery time. Appellees petitioned appellant patent commissioner to reassign the filing date it had issued pursuant to 35 U.S.C.S. § 119 (1970). After appellant denied their petition, appellees sued for a judgment directing appellant to assign their applications an earlier filing date. Both sides moved for summary judgment on the basis of submitted pleadings and affidavits.

The district court ruled in favor of appellees, utilizing the presumption of the mail's regularity.

The court reversed and remanded because there was a material issue of fact presented on the question of the date appellees' applications were received by the U.S. Patent Office.

Decision reversed and remanded, because summary judgment was inappropriate where a material issue of fact existed as to when appellees' patent applications were actually received by appellant.

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