Coffin v. Ogden - 85 U.S. 120 (1873)


U.S. Supreme Court

Coffin v. Ogden, 85 U.S. 18 Wall. 120 120 (1873)

Coffin v. Ogden

85 U.S. (18 Wall.) 120

Syllabus

1. When, in a patent case, a person claims as an original inventor and the defense is a prior invention by the defendant, if the defendant prove that the instrument which he alleges was invented by him was complete and capable of working, that it was known to at least five persons and probably to many others, that it was put in use, tested, and successful, he brings the case within the established severe tests required by law to sustain the defense set up.

2. Barthol Erbe anticipated William S. Kirkham in the invention of door locks with reversible latches.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, in which court Coffin filed a bill against Ogden et al. to enjoin them from making door locks of a certain kind, the exclusive right to make which he alleged belonged by the assignment of a patent right to him.

The case was one chiefly of fact, involving the question of priority of invention. The court below was of the opinion that the complainant, or rather the person under assignment of whose patent he claimed and was working, had been anticipated in his invention, and dismissed the bill. From that decree the defendants took this appeal.



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