Egbert v. Lippmann (901422128)

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Read for 2/18/11

Reading Notes

  • Case decided in 1881 by the CAFC
  • Alleged infringement of reissued patent
    • Patent was issued to Samuel Barnes in 1866 and reissued to Frances Barnes in 1873
  • Specifications of reissue for an improvement of corset springs
  • Bill alleges that Barnes was the original inventor of the improvement covered by the reissued patent
    • Also had not been for more than two years in public use or sale
  • Answer takes issue to the above and denies infringement
    • Circuit Court dismissed the bill
  • Evidence demonstrates the infringement of the second claim
    • Have to determine if it had been publicly used
  • Evidence relies mainly on testimony of lady Barnes
  • Invented the improvement between January and May 1855 because of her complaints
    • These she wore and he agrees were the same as the reissued patent
    • Explained to another friend in 1863 how they were used and showed them her pair
  • Must decide if this is public use within the statute
    • Using the principles they believe that her wearing them constitutes a public use
  • Imposed no obligation of secrecy or restrictions
  • The invention was complete at the time he presented them to her
  • By the time he applied eleven years later the steels were in universal use

Statutory Bans

  • Can't infringe if the subject matter had been publicly used for more than two years prior to application of the original patent
    • Act of 1836 ruled if this is the case a patent is invalid
  • Three clarifications
    • To constitute public use it is not necessary that more than one be publicly used
    • It does not depend on how many people know of its use
    • Some inventions may only be used where they cannot be seen by the public eye
  • Public use is evidence of abandonment (Elizabeth v. Pavement Co.)

Dissenting Judge

  • Act of 1836 has a condition that is basically not clear
    • If use by others without inventors consent is not public it will defeat but with his consent it must be public to do so
  • The word public is very important
    • He says that giving one copy to one woman where no one else could see it or knew about it should not count at public

Class Notes