General Talking Pictures Corp. v. Western Elec. Co.
304 U.S. 175 (1938)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

General Talking Pictures Corp. v. Western Elec. Co., 304 U.S. 175 (1938)

General Talking Pictures Corp. v. Western Electric Co.

No. 357

Argued December 13, 14, 1937

Decided May 2, 1938

304 U.S. 175

Syllabus

1. Review by certiorari is confined to questions specifically brought forward by the petition for the writ. P. 304 U. S. 177.

The supporting brief is not a part of the petition for this purpose; specifications of error in that brief do not expand or add to the questions stated in the petition; they serve merely to identify and challenge rulings upon which is grounded ultimate decision of the matter involved. P. 304 U. S. 178.

2. A writ of certiorari will not be granted in a patent case to bring up questions of acquiescence and estoppel dependent on questions of fact, as to which there were concurrent findings below; nor to review questions of anticipation and invention as to which there is no conflict between decisions of the Circuit Courts of Appeals. P. 304 U. S. 178.

3. The owner of patents in vacuum tube amplifiers used the inventions commercially, through its exclusively licensed subsidiaries, in the business of making talking picture equipment embodying the inventions and supplying the equipment to theaters. It also granted nonexclusive licenses to others expressly limited to the making and selling of the patented amplifiers for private uses -- namely, for radio broadcast reception, radio amateur reception, and radio experimental reception. One of the nonexclusive licensees made the patented amplifiers and sold them to a talking pictures corporation, knowing that the purchaser would include them in talking picture equipment to be leased to theaters. Both parties knew the restrictions of the vendor's license, and intentionally disregarded notices stating those restrictions which were affixed to the articles. Held, that the restrictions of the vendor's license were valid under the patent law; that the purchaser was not "a purchaser in the ordinary channels of trade;" that the sales were not sales under the patent, but were without authority from the patent owner, and that both vendor and purchaser were guilty of infringement. P. 304 U. S. 179.

The effect of the license notice is not considered.

Page 304 U. S. 176

4. The concurrent findings of the two courts below, as to two of the patents involved in this litigation, that there as no public use of the inventions prior to the dates of divisional applications on which the patents issued, are supported by evidence and accepted by this Court. P. 304 U. S. 182.

5. Inventions, disclosed but not claimed in applications for patent, were subsequently claimed and patented through continuation applications voluntarily filed by the applicant. The patentee's use, which was the only "public use," was for less than two years prior to the original applications, but for more than two years prior to the continuation applications. Held that the continuation applications were in time, no adverse rights having intervened more than two years before they were filed, and the effective dates of the claims therein were the dates of the original applications. R.S. § 4886. Crown Cork & Seal Co. v. Gutmann Co., ante, p. 304 U. S. 159. P. 304 U. S. 182.

91 F.2d 922 affirmed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 674, to review the affirmance of decrees sustaining patents, enjoining infringement, and ordering accountings, in three suits that were heard together. On May 31, a rehearing was ordered upon the first two of the questions stated on p. 304 U. S. 177 of this opinion.

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