Cuno Engineering Corp. v. Automatic Devices Corp.
314 U.S. 84 (1941)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Cuno Engineering Corp. v. Automatic Devices Corp., 314 U.S. 84 (1941)

Cuno Engineering Corp. v. Automatic Devices Corp.

No. 37

Argued October 22, 23, 1941

Decided November 10, 1941

314 U.S. 84

Syllabus

1. Claims 2, 3, and 11 of the Mead patent, No. 1,736,544, for improvements in lighters (commonly used in automobiles) for cigars, cigarettes, and pipes, held invalid for want of invention. P. 314 U. S. 88.

2. Mead's addition to the so-called wireless or cordless lighter of a thermostatic control -- which, after the plug was set "on" and the heating coil had reached the proper temperature, automatically returned the plug to its "off" position -- was not invention, but a mere exercise of the skill of the calling, and an advance plainly indicated by the prior art. P. 314 U. S. 89.

3. That Mead's combination performed a new and useful function did not make it patentable. The new device, however useful, must reveal the flash of creative genius, not merely the skill of the calling. P.9 900.

117 F.2d 361 reversed.

Page 314 U. S. 85

Certiorari, 313 U.S. 553, limited to the question whether claims 2, 3, and 11 of the Mead patent No. 1,736,544 are valid. In a suit for infringement, the judgment of the District Court that the claims were not infringed, 34 F.Supp. 146, was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals, which held them valid and infringed.

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