Printed Publication Case - Adam Mahood

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Background of the Case

  • Truman v. Cargill Manufacturing Co. - 1898
    • California Federal Circuit Court
    • De Witt Putnam, working for the Truman company got a patent on September 14, 1880 for the exclusive right to make a horse carriage with feet straps connecting directly to the seat, for the coverage of San Francisco County alone.
    • It would appear that ostensibly, this set up would elminiate unwanted jostling of the rider by allowing the feet and seat to move in unison, not separately.
    • Putnam's company in 1893 asked the defendant to produce around 125 carts according to the patent, but when finished would only receive around half of the order.
    • The defendant then sold the rest of the unreceived order in the county covered by the patent.
    • Truman subsequently sued for infringement.
    • There were several differing district cases regarding this issue that needed to be resolved so it was reviewed by the Federal Court.

Opinion and Holding

  • Opinion/Testimony
    • During testimony, the defense presented a picture in a volume of the New York Coach-Makers' Magazine, and particularly the January, 1864 volume that showed a similar set up with the footrests attached to the seat below the axle very similar to the Putnam invention.
    • This went to show that the cart design covered by the patent were in use long before the 1880 granting of the Putnam patent.
    • Putnam tried to contend that these were not publications in the sense the patent law meant it, but there was no way to draw distinctions between "different types of publications in the eyes of the law."
    • The court ruled that it past the most rigid test for prior publications that existed at that time, as “It appears that [the magazines] were published, copyrighted, and in general circulation."
    • Librarians also testified that they had been available in their libraries for a number of years.
    • Lastly, several skilled cart makers also testified that they had been making carts based on the published designs for quite some time.
  • Holding
    • Patent ruled invalidated based on lack of novelty due to printed publication.
    • Would appear that copyrighted, published trade magazines count as printed publications when dealing with patent bars.


Class Notes

  • Types of Allowable Publications
    • Technical report - Oblique reference to subject matter enough - In re Baxter
    • Powerpoint pres put on posterboard not archived - Audience important - In re Klopfenstein
    • Results of experiments relating to the patent do count as publication - Pickering v. Holman
    • Instruction that includes all elements
    • Scholarly article discussing effects of invention
    • Product catalog