Graham v John Deere (Robins)

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infringement claimed on shock absorber that prevents damage to plows in rocky soil. 1955 fifth circuit court ruled patent valid because "old result in a cheaper and otherwise more advantageous way"

8th Circuit Court rules there was no new result out of the combination and patent is invalid.

No. 37, Calmar, Inc. v. Cook Chemical Co., and No. 43, Colgate-Palmolive Co. v. Cook Chemical Co., also on certiorari to the same court.

Ruling:Patent fails non-obviousness from patent act of 1952. Also lower courts used "incorrect test" Also No. 37 and No. 43 were declared invalid under the same logic.

First patent case since A & P Tea Co. v Supermakret, since which congress made clear the nonbviousness clause originally ruled in Hotchkiss v Greenwood.

Patent Law has eveolved since Jefferson was the first "administrator" of patents. It was initialyy difficult to put into law exactly what was patentable. Section 103 existed thorugh Hotchkiss for 100 years before becoming law.

3 conditions: 1.after establishing the state of the art, determine non obviousness.

There have been different stansardds applied to patentability by the patent office and the courts.

This case: patent, No. 2,627,798

inventions using the same mechanical components were already in existance. Glencoe device.

Graham also had a similar clamp device. He got one patent which allowed for a shakeing or wobbling of the plow, then he applied for a new patent, one that allows the plow to flex, but this was held invalid. He did not emphasize to the court the advantages of this design.

However, Grahams patent simply inverted 2 of the mechanisms in Glencoes patent. This increased the amount of flex, but was determined to be obvious by anyone in the art with ordinary skill.


A predepressed pump sprayer. This sprayer is called a shipper sprayer by the industry. Customer simply unscrews the top when they are ready to use it. This causes a buildup of pressure. Important that sprayer was integrated with container.

Cook chemical manufacturede the first sprayer, then it was perfected by Calmar engineers. They sued and said it was infringement. Bboth the district and appeals court agreed on patentability.

Cook argued it must not be considered individual parts but a sum of them.

Cook originally the patent by Skoggin was extrememly vague. It held 15 conditions that were rejected due to the vagueness. They repeated filing twice before finally getting a design approved. It was clear that the sealing was the only thing being patented.

All of the inprovements by Cook including the space bewteen the inner seasl can be found on other patents.(Livingston, Scoggin) Cook contends however that the development of a sprayer eluded Calmar. However according to the court it was evident that the invention failed a test of non-obviousness due to earlier patents.