Carlton v. Bokee - 84 U.S. 463 (1873)
U.S. Supreme Court
Carlton v. Bokee, 84 U.S. 17 Wall. 463 463 (1873)
Carlton v. Bokee
84 U.S. (17 Wall.) 463
1. Where a claim in a patent uses general terms of reference to the specification such as "substantially in the manner and for the purpose herein set forth," although the patentee will not be held to the precise combination of all the parts described, yet his claim will be limited, by reference to the history of the art, to what was really first invented by him.
2. General claims inserted in a reissued patent will be carefully scrutinized, and will not be permitted to extend the rights of the patentee beyond what is shown by the history of the art to have been really his invention. If made to embrace more, the claim will be void.
3. One void claim, if made by inadvertence and in good faith, will not vitiate the entire patent.
William Carlton, as assignees of Christian Reichmann, filed their bill in equity in the court below to restrain Howard Bokee from infringing a patent for an improvement in lamps, granted to Reichmann on the 21st of September, 1858, and reissued to Carlton and one Merrill on the 11th of August, 1868.
The court below dismissed the bill, and the complainant took this appeal.
The case can be gathered from the facts stated in the opinion of the court.