The “green revolution” of the twentieth century has allowed the farmers of the world to use chemical fertilizers and machines to produce far more food than they ever did before. One of the primary components of the green revolution has been the development of nitrogen fertilizers that dramatically accelerate the growth and productivity of plants in the field. Plants “fix,” or capture, nitrogen on their own as well, but green revolution technologies have become so popular that humans are now adding more nitrogen to the earth than all of the plants in the world combined!
The patent at question in McCormick Harvesting was . Patent No. 159,506 , issued to Marquis L. Gorham on February 9, 1875 and covered automatic twine binders for harvesting machines. The patent owner had filed a reissue application that included several original claims and many new ones. The Examiner rejected claims 3, 10, 11, 25, and 26 of the original patent for lack of novelty. This decision was not appealed, but instead the patent owner (then McCormick Harvesting) requested return of the patent. McCormick Harvesting subsequently sued C. Aultman and the Aultman-Miller Company in the . District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Subsequently, the Circuit Court of Appeals determined that claims 3, 10, and 11 of the original patent were infringed "unless it should be determined that they were invalidated by their being rejected by the examiner upon an application for a reissue of the same . ." Id. at 607. Therefore, the question presented to the Supreme Court was:
Almost all plastics, especially when plastics become hot or are heated. Studies have also shown that recycled plastics contain residues from their previous contents like dangerous herbicides, pesticides, poisons and chemical solvents. Don't buy food that is stored or packaged in plastics, your risking that the plastic is not harmful, but in a body that is biologically active and which these chemicals accumulate even very small doses over time are harmful. A solution would be to transfer anything bought in plastic to something more stable, like a glass container.