Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alexander Milburn Co. v. Davis-Bournonville Co. case brief

Alexander Milburn Co. v. Davis-Bournonville Co. case brief summary
270 U.S. 390 (1926)

Petitioner sought certiorari review of a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which rejected petitioner's patent infringement defense that its inventor was a prior inventor of respondent's patent.

Petitioner filed a suit alleging patent infringement. Respondent's defense was that inventor one was not the first inventor of that which was patented. Respondent applied for a patent prior to petitioner, but petitioner's patent was issued first.


  • The United States Supreme Court reviewed the record, which indicated that the delays originated in the patent office and concluded that such delays should not have deprived respondent of its patent. 
  • The patent description showed that inventor one was not the first inventor, and that inventor two had done all that he could do to make his description public because it had taken steps that would make it public as soon as the patent office did its work. 
  • Thus, the Court reversed the decision that held respondent's inventor, inventor two, was not a prior inventor after stating that there no reason in the words or policy of the law for allowing inventor one to profit by the delay and make himself out to be the first inventor when he was not so in fact, when inventor two had shown knowledge inconsistent with the allowance of inventor one's claim.


The Court reversed a decision that respondent held a valid patent. Inventor one was not a prior inventor because inventor two published his patent prior to inventor one's patent application.

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