Seymour v. McCormick - 57 U.S. 480 (1853)
U.S. Supreme Court
Seymour v. McCormick, 57 U.S. 16 How. 480 480 (1853)
Seymour v. McCormick
57 U.S. (16 How.) 480
In 1834, McCormick obtained a patent for a reaping machine. This patent expired in 1848.
In 1845, he obtained a patent for an improvement upon his patented machine, and in 1847 another patent for new and useful improvements in the reaping machine. The principal one of these last was in giving to the raker of the grain a convenient seat upon the machine.
In a suit for a violation of the patent of 1847, it was erroneous in the circuit court to say that the defendant was responsible in damages to the same extent as if he had pirated the whole machine.
It was also erroneous to lay down as a rule for the measure of damages the amount of profits which the patentee would have made if he had constructed and sold each one of the machines which the defendants constructed and sold. There was no evidence to show that the patentee could have constructed and sold any more than he actually did.
The acts of Congress and the rules for measuring damages examined and explained.
The manner in which the suit was brought, and the charge of the circuit court, which was excepted to, are stated in the opinion of the Court. The reporter passes over all other questions which were raised and decided except those upon which the decision of this Court turned.