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U.S. Supreme Court

Textile Machine Works v. Hirsch Co., 302 U.S. 490 (1938)

Textile Machine Works v. Louis Hirsch Textile Machines, Inc.

No. 62

Argued November 19, 1937

Decided January 3, 1938

302 U.S. 490


1. Claims 1, 3, 14 and 15 of Patent No. 1,713,628, to Schletter, May 21, 1929, for an attachment for "flat" or "straight" knitting machines, including machines of the "full-fashioned" type, held invalid for want of novelty. Pp. 302 U. S. 494, 302 U. S. 497.

Claim 14, taken as typical, defines the invention as the combination in a straight knitting machine of (a) a set of yarn guide carrier bars for operating yarn guides traveling less than the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 302 U. S. 491

full width of the fabric being knitted, (b) a spindle having reversed screw threads, (c) stops operated by said spindle, (d) means for turning the spindle in either direction, (e) pattern-controlled means for determining the time of operation of the spindle, and (f) pattern-controlled means for determining the direction of rotation of the spindle.

2. The addition of a new and useful element to an old combination may be patentable, but the addition must be the result of invention, rather than the mere exercise of the skill of the calling, and not one plainly indicated by the prior art. P. 302 U. S. 497.

3. Commercial success may be decisive where invention is in doubt. P. 302 U. S. 498.

But, in this case, it does not appear whether the commercial success is attributable to novelty of the bare conception of the use of the attachment with full-fashioned knitting machines, rather than to the skill with which the patentee devised mechanisms for making the attachment effective, but for which he made no claim, or to the strength of the hands into which the patent came. P. 302 U. S. 499.

87 F.2d 702 affirmed.

Certiorari, 301 U.S. 680, to review the reversal of a decree, 13 F.Supp. 476, sustaining four claims of the petitioner's patent, enjoining further infringement, and ordering an accounting.

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