EB: EGBERT v. LIPPMANN, 104 U.S. 333 (1881)
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- Samuel Barnes invented an "improvement in corset-springs," and filed for a patent in March 1866
- Egbert is the assignee of the patent
- Frances Barnes was granted a reissue of the patent in Samuels place (death?)
Frances brings a case of infringement against Lippmann
The patent is invalid because the invention was in public use more than two years prior to application for the patent.
- The Act of 1939 renders patents invalid if they were in public use, with the consent and allowance of the inventor for more than two years prior to the application.
- S. Barnes had given the corset to Frances sometime between January and May 1855, and she used it for a long time, and got another pair from him in 1858.
- Barnes also showed the invention to Joseph Sturgis in 1863, showing him how it was made and used.
- Even though Barnes only gave the invention to one person, he allowed them to use it without limitation or restriction - this qualifies as public use (number of people doesn't matter).
- Barnes applied no restriction and implied no secrecy in giving his invention to Frances = public
- The use of the invention was not for experimental purposes = public
- Barnes giving private use of his invention with consent which did not lead to copying or reproduction shows no intention of "abandonment to the public"
- Telling Frances to keep the corset a secret (as the above decision says should have been done) would have been ironic)
- Thus, the use of the invention should not be considered public.