An even better case is Abbott Labs v Geneva Pharm 182 F.3d 1315 (1999). In that case, the court considered whether Abbott's patent on its successful drug Hytrin (form IV Terazosin hydrochloride ) was invalid. Evidence showed that a third party (Byron), sold a composition containing the claimed composition on three occassions before the critical date of Abbott's patent. However, it was not known at the time of sale that Byron's composition included the specific form of Terazosin hydrochloride claimed in Abbott's patent.
The court stated that "We agree with defendants that claim 4 is invalid and that the parties' ignorance that they were dealing with Form IV is irrelevant. The Supreme Court has recently stated a two-part test for determining when the on-sale bar applies. Before the critical date, the invention must both be the subject of a commercial sale or offer for sale and be "ready for patenting." See Pfaff, -- U.S. at --, 119 S. Ct. at 311-312, 48 USPQ2d at 1646-47 (rejecting the "totality of the circumstances" test for determining whether an invention was on sale before the critical date). An invention may be shown to be "ready for patenting," inter alia, by "proof of reduction to practice before the critical date." Id."
The court also disagreed with Abbott's argument that the invention "was not on sale because those who sold the claimed product did not know all of its characteristics[,]" stating, "It is well settled in the law that there is no requirement that a sales offer specifically identify all the characteristics of an invention offered for sale or that the parties recognize the significance of all of these characteristics at the time of the offer. See Scaltech Inc. v. Retec/Tetra, L.L.C., 178 F.3d 1378, 1384(Fed. Cir. June 4, 1999). If a product that is offered for sale inherently possesses each of the limitations of the claims, then the invention is on sale, whether or not the parties to the transaction recognize that the product possesses the claimed characteristics. See id.; J.A. LaPorte, Inc. v. Norfolk Dredging Co., 787 F.2d 1577, 1582-83, 229 USPQ 435, 439 (Fed. Cir. 1986) ("[T]he question is not whether the sale, even a third party sale, 'discloses' the invention at the time of the sale, but whether the sale relates to a device that embodies the invention.") (emphasis in original). In this case, it is undisputed that Form IV falls within the scope of claim 4. The fact that the parties to the sales transactions did not know they were dealing in Form IV at the time of the sales is therefore irrelevant to the question whether it was "on sale" before the critical date. "
The full text is available at: http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/182/182.F3d.1315.-1595.-1594.98-1593.html