Corning v. Burden - 56 U.S. 252 (1853)
U.S. Supreme Court
Corning v. Burden, 56 U.S. 15 How. 252 252 (1853)
Corning v. Burden
56 U.S. (15 How.) 252
In a suit brought for an infringement of a patent right, the defendant ought to be allowed to give in evidence the patent under which he claims, although junior to the plaintiff's patent.
Burden's patent for "a new and useful machine for rolling puddler's balls and other masses of iron in the manufacture of iron" was a patent for a machine, and not a process, although the language of the claim was equivocal.
The difference explained between a process and a machine.
Hence it was erroneous for the circuit court to exclude evidence offered to show that the practical manner of giving effect to the principle embodied in the machine of the defendants was different from that of Burden, the plaintiff, that the machine of the defendants produced a different mechanical result from the other, and that the mechanical structure and mechanical action of the two machines were different.
Evidence offered as to the opinion of the witness upon the construction of the patent, whether it was for a process or a machine, was properly rejected.
Peter A. Burden, as assignee of Henry Burden, brought his action against Corning and Winslow for a violation of a patent granted to Henry as the original and first inventor and discoverer of a new and useful machine for rolling puddle balls or other masses of iron in the manufacture of iron.
What took place at the trial is set forth in the opinion of the Court. Under the instructions of the circuit court, the jury
found a verdict for the plaintiffs, with one hundred dollars damages; upon which the defendants brought the case up to this Court by a writ of error.