The opinion of the court was delivered by: SMITH
This is a suit for infringement of Patents No. 1,641,871 and No. 2,104,935, issued to Samuel Solomon, on applications filed on October 8, 1926, and April 9, 1936, respectively, and assigned to Sarah Levine Solomon, the plaintiff herein.
The complaint presents two separate and distinct, but related, causes of action. The defenses urged are invalidity and non-infringement. The patents and the alleged infringements thereof are separately considered.
The alleged invention is adequately defined in claims 1 and 4, which are illustrative of claims 2, 5 and 6, all of which the plaintiff relies upon and alleges were and are infringed by the product manufactured by the defendant. The invention is defined in the said claims as follows:
"A brief case including front and rear sections defining a receptacle, a flap on the rear section adapted to be folded over the upper edge of the front section and means for reinforcing the edges of the sections including welt pieces defining hollow beads and U-shaped spring wire reinforcements in the beads framing the bottom and side edges of the sections, said reinforced beads projecting laterally beyond the edges of the front and rear sections and constituting buffers. "
"A brief case including front and rear sections, gussets connecting the side edges and the bottom edges of the front and rear sections, and means for reinforcing the outermost portions of the gussets, comprising welt covered spring wire reinforcements. "
It appears from the file wrapper, a certified copy of which is in evidence, that of eleven claims advanced by the patentee, in his petition to the Commissioner of Patents, five were rejected in their entirety and were thereupon cancelled. When the claims in suit are read and interpreted in the light of the rejected claims and the prior art, it is evident that the elements thereof are restricted to those hereinabove underlined. The claims are limited to a rigid frame of wire construction, so made and incorporated into the finished article as to form a buffer. The alleged invention is, in fact, nothing more than a buffer frame adaptable to the manufacture of a brief case. The structure serves a dual function, to wit, reinforcement and protection.
The claims, even when considered per se, without reference to the prior art, disclose nothing more than mechanical ingenuity common to those skilled in the art of manufacturing luggage. The absence of invention is plain. It, therefore, necessarily follows that the claims are invalid for lack of invention.
When the claims in suit are examined in the light of the prior art, as exemplified in the Jenks patent (No. 287,658), the Axelman patent (No. 1,214,876), the Smith patent (No. 1,430,267), the Lifton patent (No. 1,463,270), the Burchess patent (No. 1,464,643), and the Lifton patent (No. 1,512,772), complete anticipation by the prior art is obvious. All of the said patents are directed to the reinforcement of luggage by the use of metal stays or frames. The Lifton patents, in particular, are directed to the use of metal frames for the reinforcement of brief cases, and contemplate their embodiment in the finished structures in such a manner as to form reinforced edges. The conclusion that the Solomon patent follows the teachings of the prior art is inescapable; the disclosures of the said patent contribute nothing to the prior art except a better description of results previously accomplished.
Although it seems unnecessary, reference to the prior art, as exemplified in foreign patents, to wit, the Burch patent (British No. 158,755) and the Lucas Patent (French No. 333,007), discloses complete anticipation. This is particularly true of the former patent, in which the specification prescribes several methods of reinforcing luggage by the use of steel frames. The specification in this patent is so complete that a person of ordinary skill, following its teachings, could manufacture a brief case in which all of the elements of the patent in suit would be incorporated.
Thus, the claims in suit are invalid because of complete anticipation ...