U.S. Supreme Court
Burns v. Meyer, 100 U.S. 671 (1879)
Burns v. Meyer
100 U.S. 671
1. A. held letters patent for making side-saddle trees. The tree, composed of side-bars, cantle behind, and crook before, is first made, and the seat constructed separately on a rim and fastened to the tree by screws, resting on the crook, and on supports attached to the side-bars in the middle and at the rear. This construction, it was claimed, simplifies and cheapens the manufacture, and leaves a space for air under the seat. The claim is as follows:
"As a new article of manufacture, a side-saddle tree, having the side-bars and seat made separate and then united, substantially as and for the purpose shown and specified."
The side-saddle tree constructed according to the letters patent subsequently granted to B. does not have the sidebars and seat made separate and then united. Tough strips of wood, steamed and bent to a proper shape, are attached to the tree as a part thereof, forming side-rails for the seat, that on the right or off aide extending from the cantle to the crook and that on the left or near side, from the cantle to a point on the near side-bar some distance back of the crook. The seat is stretched over these strips or side-rails. Held that the advantage of separate construction claimed by A was not attained by B.'s letters patent, and that the invention of the latter is not an infringement of A.'s letters patent.
2. Courts should not by construction enlarge the claim which the Patent Office has admitted, and the patentee acquiesced in, beyond the fair interpretation of its terms.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.