Canola oil comes from what?

The Federal Circuit today affirmed a summary and final judgment declaring two canola oil patents unenforceable and another two invalid.  In Cargill, Inc. v. Canbra Foods, Ltd., Nos. 2006-1265 & 2006-1302 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 14, 2007), the court found no error in the district court’s conclusions that Cargill engaged in inequitable conduct during prosecution of the first two patents (rendering them unenforceable) and that the on-sale bar doctrine applied to the other two (making them invalid).

The decision of course highlights the eternal mystery, for non-patent lawyers at least, between unenforceable patents and invalid ones.  But it also has interest for Blawgletter because it deals with another enigma — canola oil, bottles of which appear in the home pantry but whose labels do not disclose the oil’s origins.  Neither does the court’s opinion shed much light, mentioning without elaboration "Brassica seeds".

Thanks to Blawgletter’s mighty research department, we may now solve the puzzle.  The word "canola" comes from "Canadian oil, low acid", but the oil itself results from squishing of "rapeseed".  Blawgletter totally gets it.

Barry Barnett

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