Egbert v. Lippmann, 104 U.S. 333 (1881) Notes

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Dealing with Section 102 - Patent Bars

Cant get a patent if...

  • known in US or published anywhere beforehand
  • you took over a year from publication to patent application
  • you abandoned the invention (?)
  • (d) the invention was first patented or caused to be patented, or was the subject of an inventor’s certificate, by the applicant or his legal representatives or assigns in a foreign country prior to the date of the application for patent in this country on an application for patent or inventor’s certificate filed more than twelve months before the filing of the application in the United States, or
    • not sure what this means...
  • already described in a patent app from before your invention
  • you didn't actually invent it
  • idea previously conceived by another person still working on it (?)

This case:

Circuit Court appeal

complainant: Frances Barnes defendant: ???

  • have Sam Barnes, Frances Barnes (woman)
  • originally issued to Sam
  • Frances was his executrix - carried out delivery of property from will - got reissue of patent
  • allegedly Sam was 1st inventor and it wasnt in public more than 2 yrs prior
    • that was the law at the time
  • question is whether it had been 2 yrs in public use b4 sam applied for original papers
    • pretty much concede time frame (???)
    • have to question if what happened is considered public use.

Public Use

  • only has to be one use
  • only has to be known by one person
  • can be concealed if by nature of invention
    • not public use if just shown in public for means of testing or experimentation

therefore, this was a public use

  • he gave her 2 of them, didnt put any restrictions or anything on it
  • she could do whatever the hell she wants with them

He abandoned the invention

  • 11 yrs before application
  • only applied for patent after seeing its value in public use for so long


  • the invention was incapable of being made public
  • this does not define public use, thus patent should be valid