© 1999 Janice M. Mueller.

Associate Professor, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois.

1. E-mail communication from Judge Rich to the author. All correspondence quoted herein is on file with the author.

2. See, e.g., Kimberly-Clark Corp. v. Johnson & Johnson, 745 F.2d 1437, 1453-54 (Fed. Cir. 1984) (Rich, J.):

[T]he courts, including our predecessor court as in Winslow, mentioned above, [In re Winslow, 365 F.2d 1017 (CCPA 1966) (Rich, J.)] decided cases on the basis of the axiom-the applicant (or patentee) is presumed to have knowledge of all material prior art-without giving the situation further thought. But a bad axiom is like a noxious weed, a thriving plant in the wrong place interfering with the growth of more desirable plants....

Since we believe that progress in legal thinking is not only possible but highly desirable when it simplifies such thinking, we believe the time has come to discontinue this particular fiction of the patent law. Congress has given us in 103 a substitute for the former "requirement for invention," which gave rise to the presumption, and that substitute, being statutory, should be used exclusively. We hereby declare the presumption that the inventor has knowledge of all material prior art to be dead.

3. 489 U.S. 141(1989).

4. Id. at 151.

5. 777 F.2d 678, 685 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (overruled in part on other grounds by Midwest Indus., Inc. v. Karavan Trailers, Inc., 175 F.3d 1356, 1358-59 (Fed. Cir. 1999)).

6. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980).

7. David Streitfeld & Michael Colton, A Web of Lies; Vonnegut Hoax Shows E-Mail Must be Handled With Care, WASHINGTON POST, Aug. 9, 1997, at B1, available in 1997 WL 12880503.

8. JONATHAN HARR, A CIVIL ACTION (1996).

9. IRIS MURDOCH, UNDER THE NET 275 (1954).

10. After Judge Rich's death, his colleague Judge Raymond Clevenger presented the last "snow picture" to Jacqueline Wright, the young woman lawyer who had been slated to clerk for Judge Rich beginning in the fall of 1999.

11. 52 U.S. 248 (1850).

12. Janice M. Mueller, An Interview with Judge Giles S. Rich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 17 ABA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW SECTION NEWSLETTER 1, 1 (Spring 1999).

13. See generally Nadine Cohodas, The Founding Father of Patent Law, LEGAL TIMES, July 10, 1995, at 1.