its ability to undergo a lengthwise pull without being broken," and, second, "subjected to dragging control" in the final operation " without the use of gills." (Emphasis by the Court).The critical limits of the patent are not defined except in negative language. The claims, as the measure of the alleged invention, not only preclude the utilization of earlier devices in common use, but impede further progress in the art, contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the patent laws.
The accused method, admittedly practiced in the mills of the defendant, consists of two successive operations: First, drawing, in which the raw material, which has been previously combed and reduced to sliver in the carding operation, is subjected to draft, the fibers of the sliver thereby attenuated, the slivers of two independent but synchronous operations doubled, and the doubled sliver compressed and delivered to containers; and second, spinning, in which the sliver is again subjected to draft, the fibers of the sliver thereby further attenuated, the sliver subjected to "slip control," and the attenuated fibers twisted and reduced to yarn without having been first reduced to rove. The successive operations of this method, except for the subjection of the sliver to "slip control," are identical with the successive operations of the gill spinning method of the prior art. The first operation is carried out in a drawing frame which is identical in its structural elements with the drawing frame hereinabove described, which has been in common use for many years. The second operation is carried out in the spinning frame defined in the patent to Malcolm Hain, No. 2,197,638, which comprises a set of retaining rolls, a set of drawing rolls, and a slip control device between the said sets of rolls. The slip control device in the said apparatus, as in the apparatus of Stone and Williamson, replaces the gill bed in the gill spinning frame and performs a similar function; it supports the long fibers and retards and controls the vagrant fibers, and thereby prevents "gulping." Slip control devices of similar construction are, and have been for many years, in common use in the cotton art, and in this art they perform a like function.
The plaintiffs charge that the doubling and compressing of the sliver in the first operation, drawing, in the manner hereinabove described, is an infringement of that step of the method of the invention which requires "treating the drawn sliver * * * without twisting it to increase its ability to undergo a lengthwise pull without being broken." The defendant in this step of the accused method uses only the well known devices of the prior art, a doubling plate followed by a bellmouthed conductor and a pair of pressure delivery rolls, in the usual manner in which they perform their normal function. There is in the accused method no treatment of the drawn sliver "to increase its ability to undergo a lengthwise pull without being broken," except that which had been in common use in the jute industry prior to Stone and Williamson. The operations of which the plaintiffs complain, the doubling and compressing of the sliver, are inherent in the said devices as the peculiar and characteristic functions thereof, and the consequent ability of the drawn sliver "to undergo a lengthwise pull without being broken" is the unavoidable result. The absence of infringement seems obvious.
The plaintiffs further charge that the second operation, spinning, as carried out by the defendant, is an infringement of that step of the method of the invention which requires "subjecting the treated sliver to a single final drawing operation reducing it to yarn size, an extended length of the sliver being supported and subjected to dragging control without the use of gills, during said single drawing operation." (Emphasis by the Court). In this operation of the accused method, as hereinabove stated, the sliver is subjected to draft, the fibers of the sliver thereby attenuated, the sliver subjected to "slip control," and the attenuated fibers twisted and reduced to yarn without having been first reduced to rove. The only step of this operation which distinguishes it from the gill spinning of the prior art is that in which the sliver is subjected to "slip control"; the other steps are identical and are conceded to be old. In this step the defendant, as do Stone and Williamson, uses a slip control device in which the described operation is inherent as the peculiar and characteristic function thereof. The operation, independent of the mechanism by which it is performed, is nothing more than the operation of the prior art as practiced in the cotton industry.
The apparatus defined in the patent in suit, claims 9 to 13, may be a patentable improvement on the apparatus of the prior art, and the apparatus utilized by the defendant in the practice of the accused method may be an infringement, but the judgment of the Court on these questions is not invoked. When the respective methods are independently considered, as they must be, it seems reasonably clear that the successive operations of the accused method, as well as the successive operations of the method of the invention, follow the teachings of the prior art. There can be no infringement under these facts. Comolite Corporation v. Davidovicz, 2 Cir., 111 F.2d 121; Galion Iron Works & Mfg. Co. v. Beckwith Machinery Co., 3 Cir., 105 F.2d 941.
The findings of fact and conclusions of law required by Rule 52 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A. following section 723c, have been prepared and filed by the Court.