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U.S. Supreme Court

McCormick v. Graham's Administrator, 129 U.S. 1 (1889)

McCormick v. Graham's Administrator

No. 108

Argued December 5-6, 1888

Decided January 7, 1889

129 U.S. 1


Claims 1 and 2 of letters patent No. 74,342, granted to Alvaro B. Graham, February 11, 1868, for an improvement in harvesters, namely:

"1. The combination, as set forth, in a harvester, of the finger beam with the gearing carriage, by means of the vibratable link, the draft rod, and the two swivel joints, M and M', so that the finger beam may both rise and fall at either end, and rock forward and backward."

"2. The combination, as set forth, in a harvester of the finger beam, gearing carriage, vibratable link, draft rod, swivel joints, and arm, by which the rocking of the finger beam is controlled,"

are not infringed by a machine constructed under letters patent No. 193,770, granted July 31, 1877, to Leander J. McCormick, William R. Baker, and Lambert Erpelding, assignors to C. H. & L. J. McCormick.

It is apparent from the proceedings in the Patent Office on the application for Graham's patent, and from the terms of his specification and of claims 1 and 2 as granted, that the intention was to limit the modification which Graham made to the particular location of the swivel joint, M', on which the cross-wise rocking movement takes place, and to the rigid arm by which the positive rocking of the finger beam in both directions is affected and controlled. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 129 U. S. 2

In the defendants' machine there is no such rocking of the finger beam as in Graham's patent, but only a swinging movement, as in prior patents, on a pivot in the rear of the finger beam, and there is no arm which can depress the finger beam, but only a loose connection to it, the same as existed before, and there is no swivel joint, M', located and operating as in the Graham patent, and it does not infringe claim 1 or claim 2.

In equity for an accounting for infringement of letters patent. Decree awarding damages to the complainant. Respondents appealed. The case is stated in the opinion.

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