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In re Sherwood, 613 F.2d 809, 204 U.S.P.Q. 537 (C.C.P.A. 1980) (full-text).

Factual Background[]

The claims were rejected by the examiner for failure to disclose any computer hardware, flowcharts, algorithms, or programs with which the best mode would operate. The lower court overturned that determination, asserting that the question is not how an applicant discloses the best mode, but whether he has done so.

C.C.P.A. Proceedings[]

The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals (C.C.P.A.) concurred, stating:

[T]here is no objective standard by which to judge the adequacy of a best mode disclosure. Instead, only evidence of concealment (accidental or intentional) is to be considered. That evidence, in order to result in affirmance of a best mode rejection, must tend to show that the quality of an applicant’s best mode is so poor as to effectively result in concealment.[1]

Notwithstanding the applicant's failure to disclose the listing of the known program, the disclosure was sufficient to satisfy the best mode requirement.


  1. 613 F.2d at 816.