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U.S. Supreme Court

Temco Electric Motor Co. v. APCO Mfg. Co., 275 U.S. 319 (1928)

Temco Electric Motor Company v. APCO Manufacturing Company

No. 37

Argued October 18, 1927

Decided January 3, 1928

275 U.S. 319


1. Large public demand for, and commercial success of, a patented article is evidence of invention. P. 275 U. S. 324.

2. The specifications and drawings of a patent may be referred to as an aid in construing a claim. P. 275 U. S. 330. chanrobles.com-red

Page 275 U. S. 320

3. A claim in a patent should be construed liberally, so as to uphold, and not destroy, the right of the inventor. P. 275 U. S. 330.

4. An improver who appropriates, without license, the basic patent of another is an infringer, and suable as such. P. 275 U. S. 328.

5. Patentee who applied for a second patent as an improvement "over" the first, characterizing the new device as different in mechanical construction and functional results, held not estopped to insist on the old invention as against one who secured patent to the improvement through interference proceedings. P. 275 U. S. 328.

6. The Thompson patent, No. 1,072,791, issued September 9, 1913, for a shock absorber attachable to motor cars which have their leaf springs above and along their axles and attached at the middle to the car body above and at the ends to the axles near the wheels, is valid, including Claim No. 3, and is infringed by defendant's device, made under patent No. 1,279,035, granted to Storrie, September 17, 1918. P. 275 U. S. 326.

The Thompson patent is for a combination of old elements, consisting (1) of a spiral spring, resting upon and in part guided by (2) a stanchion, attached to the top of the axle near the wheel; (3) a hanger bearing on the top of the spiral spring, in one form encasing it, in another passing through it, capable of moving up and down with the spring and attached below to (6) a link attached in turn to (7) the end of the leaf spring. The gist of the invention (besides its peculiar application as a separable part to the Ford car) is in the arrangement of its parts so that all shocks and vibrations from the wheels are imparted first to the spiral springs before reaching the leaf springs, and thus are the more effectively absorbed or dampened due to the different responses of the two kinds of springs. .

7. The radius link employed in the Storrie patent is a mere improvement on the Thompson combination. P. 275 U. S. 325.

11 F.2d 109 reversed.

Certiorari, 271 U.S. 653, to a decree of the circuit court of appeals which reversed a decree of the district court sustaining, on three claims, the above-named petitioner's patent in its suit for infringement. Another of the patent claims, No. 3, was held void by the district court, a ruling which was sustained by the court below on petitioner's cross-appeal. chanrobles.com-red

Page 275 U. S. 321