Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Graver Tank v. Linde Air Products Co. case brief

Graver Tank v. Linde Air Products Co. case brief summary
339 U.S. 605 (1950)

The United States Supreme Court granted a rehearing to reconsider its determination that the district court did not err in holding that petitioner alleged patent infringers had infringed upon the patent claims of respondent patent owner.

The owners, who owned patents for an electric welding process and for fluxes to be used with the process, filed a patent infringement action against the alleged patent infringers for violation of its patents. The court of appeals affirmed the part of the trial court's judgment holding that four of the flux claims were valid and had been infringed.


  • Upon granting certiorari, the Court reinstated the trial court's decree.
  • On rehearing, the Court adhered to its previous decision holding that the doctrine of equivalents prevented the alleged patent infringers from stealing the benefit of the owner's invention with a device that performed substantially the same function and in substantially the same way to obtain the same result. 
  • The Court determined that the trial court did not err in concluding that the alleged patent infringer's flux was the result of imitation rather than experimentation or invention. 
  • Although the infringement was not literal, the changes that avoided literal infringement were colorable only.

The Court adhered to its prior decision, which affirmed the trial court's judgment.

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