KEPLINGER V. DE YOUNG, 23 U. S. 358 (1825)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Keplinger v. De Young, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 358 358 (1825)

Keplinger v. De Young

23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 358


A, having obtained a patent for a new and useful improvement, to-wit, a machine for making watch chains, brought an action under the third section of the Patent Act of 1800, c. 179, for a violation of his patent right against B, and on the trial, an agreement was proved, made by the defendant with C, to purchase of him all the watch chains, not exceeding five gross a week, which he might be able to manufacture within six months, and an agreement on the part of C to devote his whole time and attention to the manufacture of the watch chains and not to sell or dispose of any of them so as to interfere with the exclusive privilege secured to the defendant of purchasing the whole quantity which it might be practicable for C to make, and it was proved that the machine used by C with the knowledge and consent of the defendant in the manufacture was the same with that invented by the plaintiff, and that all the watch chains thus made by C were delivered to the defendant according to the contract. Held that if the contract was real and not colorable, and if the defendant had no other connection with C than that which grew out of the contract, it did not amount to a breach of the plaintiff's patent right.

Such a contract, connected with evidence from which the jury might legally infer either that the machine which was to be employed in the manufacture of the patented article was owned wholly or in part by the defendant or that it was hired to the defendant for six months under color of a sale of the articles to be manufactured with it, and with intent to invade the plaintiff's patent right, would amount to a breach of his right.

Effect of contracts to purchase patented articles from a manufacturer who infringes the patent right.

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