3/30/11 : Homework based on the Warner-Jenkinson case (kyergler)

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Adkins v. Lear, Inc. (1968)

  • Supreme Court of California

I read the gyroscope case that was discussed in class which dealt with Adkins, the inventor of an improved gyroscope, and Lear, the company that sells gyroscopes. Lear and Adkins had a written agreement that allowed Lear to sell Adkin’s patented invention, where Adkins received a small percentage of the net sales price as royalties. In 1957, Lear refused to pay royalties to Adkins with the claim that they were selling gyroscopes that differed from Adkin’s invention. However, the “new” gyroscopes differed only in “size, form, and shape,” but “contain[ed] the same elements.” The essential elements were the same between Adkin’s patent and Lear’s other steel gyroscopes, but the scale and exact assembly was different. Since those did not constitute a substantial difference, the jury of the Supreme Court of California held Adkins in favor and required Lear to pay royalties to Adkins for the sales price of the other gyroscopes sold. This case is an example of clear infringement.