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U.S. Supreme Court

Crown Cork & Seal Co. v. Ferdinand Gutmann Co., 304 U.S. 159 (1938)

Crown Cork & Seal Co. v. Ferdinand Gutmann Co.

No. 72

Argued December 13, 1937

Decided May 2, 1938

304 U.S. 159


1. Review on certiorari is confined to the questions presented by the petition for the writ. P. 304 U. S. 161.

2. Abandonment, as a defense in a suit for patent infringement, must be pleaded or noticed, under R.S. § 4920. P. 304 U. S. 165.

An applicant for patent does not abandon an invention by withdrawing the disclosure of it, and a corresponding claim, from an earlier application when the same disclosure is kept continuously before the Patent Office through his successive divisional applications.

The continuity so maintained shows an intention to retain, not to abandon, the invention.

3. W applied for and obtained patent for a method of applying "center spots" to the cork cushions of crown caps used to seal bottles containing beverages under pressure, the center spots serving to prevent contact of the liquid with the cork. The patented method required simultaneous application of pressure and heat to the center spot to make it stick to the cork cushion in the cap at the time of assembly. A disclosure of the means of applying the heat by preheating the crown caps was eliminated from the application before the patent issued, but was preserved in divisional applications. Before the patent issued, J filed application claiming this means of preheating, and later obtained patent. A year thereafter, but more than two years after the date of his own patent, W copied J's claims in a divisional application, upon which, after interference proceedings, he was awarded a patent. Held: that, in the absence of intervening right, the delay of more than two years needed no special excuse and did not invalidate the divisional patent. Webster Co. v. Splitedorf Co., 264 U. S. 463, distinguished. P. 304 U. S. 165.

4. In the absence of abandonment or intervention of adverse rights, mere delay of not more than two years in filing divisional application after an intervening patent or publication does not operate chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 304 U. S. 160

to enlarge the patent monopoly beyond that contemplated by the patent law. R.S. § 4886. P. 304 U. S. 167.

86 F.2d 698 reversed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 664, to review the reversal of a decree, 14 F.Supp. 255, sustaining two patents and enjoining infringement.

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