Kewanee Oil Company v. Bicron Corporation

PETITIONER: Kewanee Oil Company
RESPONDENT: Bicron Corporation
LOCATION: Bureau of Indian Affairs

DOCKET NO.: 73-187
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 416 US 470 (1974)
ARGUED: Jan 09, 1974
DECIDED: May 13, 1974

ADVOCATES:
Erwin N. Griswold - for petitioner
William C. McCoy, Jr. - for respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Kewanee Oil Company v. Bicron Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1974 in Kewanee Oil Company v. Bicron Corporation

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 13, 1974 in Kewanee Oil Company v. Bicron Corporation

Warren E. Burger:

I have the disposition of number 73-187, Kewanee Oil Company against Bicron Corporation to announce.

We have granted the writ of certiorari in this case to resolve the conflict in the circuits on whether state trade secret protection is preempted by operation of the federal patent law.

We conclude that until Congress takes affirmative actions of the contrary, the states should be free to grant protection to trade secrets.

And accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit is reversed and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals with directions to reinstate the judgment of the District Court.

Mr. Justice Marshall has filed an opinion concurring in the result; Mr. Justice Douglas with whom Mr. Justice Brennan joined, filed a dissenting opinion; Mr. Justice Powell took no part in the decision of the case.