Vance v. Campbell - 66 U.S. 427 (1861)
U.S. Supreme Court
Vance v. Campbell, 66 U.S. 1 Black 427 427 (1861)
Vance v. Campbell
66 U.S. (1 Black) 427
1. Where a patentee, suing for an infringement of his patent, declares upon a combination of elements which he asserts constitute the novelty of his invention, he cannot, in his proofs, abandon a part of such combination and maintain his claim to the rest.
2. Much less can he prove any part of the combination immaterial or useless.
3. The combination is an entirety; if one of the elements be given up, the thing claimed disappears.
4. The 9th section of the Act of 1837, 5 Stat. 194, which provides that the suit shall not be defeated where the patentee claims more than he has invented, applies only to cases where the part invented can be clearly distinguished from that claimed but not invented.
5. In a suit for the infringement of a patent right, no notice is necessary to justify the admission of evidence on behalf of the defendant to show the improvements existing at the date of the plaintiff's invention in the class of articles to which it belongs.
6. The rules of evidence prescribed by the laws of a state are rules of decision for the United States courts while sitting within the limits of such state within the meaning and subject to the exceptions contained in the 34th section of the judiciary act.
7. Where a bill of exceptions sets out that a witness was offered, was objected to on the ground of incompetency, and rejected by the court below, but does not state what facts he was called to prove, this Court will not presume that his testimony would have been immaterial if it had been heard.
This suit was commenced in the Circuit Court at Cincinnati, December Term, 1859, by Vance against Campbell Ellison, and Woodrow. Judgment for defendants. Writ of error sued out by plaintiff. The question argued here and the material facts bearing upon it are fully discussed in the opinion of the Court.