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U.S. Supreme Court

Expanded Metal Company v. Bradford, 214 U.S. 366 (1909)

Expanded Metal Company v. Bradford

Nos. 66, 606

Argued March 18, 19, 1909

Decided June 1, 1909

214 U.S. 366


The writs of certiorari in these cases bring conflicting decisions of the Circuit Courts of Appeal to this Court for review.

The patent involved in this case shows a method for expanding metal consisting of two operations, which when combined produce a new and useful result covered by the claim allowed, and this result, when read in connection with the specifications, shows substantial improvement in the art of making expanded metal work.

A new combination of elements, though old in themselves, which produces a new and useful result, entitles the inventor to the protection of a patent. Loom Co. v. Higgins, 105 U. S. 580.

While the mere function or effect of the operation of a machine cannot be the subject matter of a patent, a method of doing a thing so clearly indicated that those skilled in the art can avail themselves of mechanism to carry it into operation can be the subject matter of a patent. Cochrane v. Deene, 94 U. S. 780.

A process and an apparatus by which it is performed are distinct things. They may be found in one patent; they may be the subject of different patents. Leeds & Catlin v. Victor Talking Machine Co., 213 U. S. 301.

An invention or discovery of a process or method involving mechanical operation and producing a new and useful result, such as expanding metal, may, and in this case does, entitle the inventor to a patent, and such a process is not limited to those showing chemical action or elemental changes. Risdon Locomotive Works v. Medart, 158 U. S. 68, distinguished. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 214 U. S. 367

In this case, held that the Golding patent No. 547,242 for the process of expanding metal was a substantial improvement of the art involving mechanical operations and producing a new and useful result independently of particular mechanisms for performing such process, and is valid.

157 F.5d 4 reversed; 164 F.8d 9 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity of certain letters patent of the United States, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 214 U. S. 373

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