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The contention that by reason of a certain contract between the parties “the prior suit was not * * * a suit in which the Berliner patent in suit * * *
was fairly in controversy” is not deserving of notice. The contract and the relations of the parties were fully before the court, and the record and briefs in said case are a sufficient answer to any such contention.
The other defenses of laches and noninfringement need not be considered. I have given all of my time available during the past 10 days to the examination of the various questions presented on this motion, and have reached the conclusion that, except as to the Suess Canadian patent No. 41,901, the defendants have failed to introduce any new matter which would in my judgment have led the courts to reach a different conclusion if it had been before them in the original suit. But, even if I am mistaken in this view, and if the expiration of the Suess Canadian patent is a complete defense, or if a decision of the questions raised as to the character and scope of the various patents now introduced for the first time should be postponed until final hearing, yet I am constrained to grant the injunction in order to permit an appeal and a determination of the questions at the earliest possible moment.
The motion for a preliminary injunction is granted, with leave to defendants to move for a stay pending the decision of these questions by the Circuit Court of Appeals.
EDISON GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. v. CROUSE-HINDS ELECTRIC CO.
(Circuit Court, N. D. New York. July 20, 1906.) PATENTS-INFRINGEMENT-ELECTRIC LAMP SOCKETS.
The Metzger patent, No. 489,682, for an electric lamp socket, claims 5 and 7, are valid, and although not entitled to a broad construction, as for a pioneer invention, are, on the other hand, when read in connection with the specification, not so limited as to deprive them of all benefit of the doctrine of equivalents. As so construed, held infringed by a structure which contains all of the elements of the claims in substantially the same combination and arrangement, and each performing the same function, although some of them differ in form. Claim 6 held void for lack of invention.
[Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 38, Cent. Dig. Patents, $$ 372, 373.]
This is a suit in equity to restrain alleged infringement by defendant of claims 5, 6, and 1 of United States letters patent No. 489,682, dated January 10, 1893, and issued to the complainant as assignee of Amandus Metzger, and also for an accounting.
Samuel Owen Edmonds, for complainant.
RAY, District Judge. The patent in question states in its specifications as follows:
"The present invention relates to sockets adapted to receive the bases of electric lamps or other translating devices, and to connect their terminals with a suitable supply circuit. The main object of the invention is to pro
vide a simple and improved device of this character. The invention consists primarily in a socket having an insulating body, with an extension on which the terminals are mounted in the manner hereinafter set forth, and the invention consists also in the several combinations hereinafter described and claimed. In the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 is a partial section of a socket, having a base adapted to stand on a table, or to be secured to a wall or similar support; Fig. 2 is a plan view of the socket, with the inclosing shell removed; Fig. 3 is a plan view of the base, with the shell and the terminals removed; Fig. 4 is a view of a detail to be described; and Fig. 5 is a partial section of a socket, having a different outline, and adapted to be supported on a bracket or pipe, in a manner common in electric lighting systems. The socket to be described can be adapted for use in various situations and systems, but it will be described herein as adapted to stand on a table, and as adapted to be secured to a bracket or pipe, and to receive a lamp having terminals of the Edison type. In constructing the socket, I form an insulating base, 1, of rubber, porcelain, or other insulating material, having at the center an integral extension, 2, considerably smaller than the main part of the body, and when the socket is to be used as a stand or wall socket a circumferential rib or flange, 3. The extension, 2, is preferably provided on its outer face or end with a depression or ledge, 4, on which an inwardly bent flange, 5, on the bottom of the ring terminal, 6, rests, and said terminal is securely held in place by a U-shaped clamping piece, 7, which is adapted to rest on said flange, and to surround the central raised portion, 8, of the insulating extension. Screws 9 are passed through the base from the rear and into the clamping piece, to cause the same to clamp and hold the sleeve terminal. The piece, 7, is provided with an arm, 10, in which fits a binding screw, 11, by means of which one of the circuit wires, 12, can be secured to the sleeve terminal of the socket. At the center of the raised portion, 8, is preferably formed a depression, 13, of less depth than the depression around the outer edge, and in which the second socket terminal, 14, is adapted to rest, , this terminal being secured in place by a screw passed through the insulating base from the rear. A single fastening screw is sufficient, since the terminal is prevented from turning by wall of insulating material around it. Said terminal is bent at right angles, and has a binding screw, 15, by means of which the outgoing wire, 16, of the circuit may be connected thereto. The under surface of the base is preferably provided with grooves, 17, through which the wires may pass to the holes, 18, through which the wires extend to the terminals; 19 are screw-holes, by means of which the socket base may be secured to any desired support; 20 is a sheet metal shell, which rests on the base just inside of the flange, 3; and 21 is a screw-threaded insulating ring surrounding the sleeve terminal, and fitting within the neck of said shell. This arrangement of parts not only gives an ornamental appearance to the socket, but braces and protects the sleeve terminal. By mounting the terminals, as described, it will be clear that they are fully insulated from each other, being separated on the face of the supporting body l'v a wall of insulating material, and the binding screws being on opposite sides of the extension, 2, and are very easily placed and secured in position. The particular outline of the central extension is not important, neither is it essential in all cases that depressions for the terminals of the socket should be formed in the end of the support in the manner described. In Fig. 5, the insulating base is much smaller than in Figs. 1, 2, and 3, but is larger than the extension, and is supported in a sheet metal shell, having a neck, 22, adapted to screw onto a bracket or pipe. The shell extends from the circumference of the body, and is therefore separated by a considerable distance from the extension and terminals supported thereon. The extension, 2, is formed in substantially the same manner as above described. This figure shows the inwardly turned flange, 5, on the sleeve terminal, with the clamping piece, 7, resting on the same; this view being taken from the opposite side of a socket to that shown in Fig. 1. This view also shows more clearly than the other views the manner in which the terminals are separated by the insulating material of the extension 2"
The claims in issue (5, 6, and 7) read as follows:
“(5) The combination in a socket of an insulating base or body, a sleeve terminal having an inwardly bent flange or projection resting on a part of said insulating body, a clamping piece adapted to fit over said flange, and a screw or similar device passing through the insulating body and clamping piece, and means for securing the circuit terminal to said clamping piece, and through it to the sleeve terminal, substantially as described.
“(6) The combination of the insulating standard having a ledge around a central U-shaped portion, a sleeve terminal having a flange resting on said ledge, and a U-shaped clamping piece on said flange, substantially as de. scribed.
“(7) The combination in a socket of an insulating body, a sleeve terminal provided with an inwardly extending flange, a central terminal, and a curved clamping piece on said flange around the central terminal, substantially as described.”
It will be noted that the patent calls attention to two forms in which the invention may be employed to advantage. The one comprises a structure in which the insulating foundation is provided with an extension upon which the metallic parts are secured, while the other comprises a structure in which the insulating foundation has no such extension, but the metallic parts are mounted thereon directly. The first four claims of this patent refer to the form first mentioned, where the insulating foundation is provided with an extension upon which the metallic parts are secured, while the three claims in issue are based upon the second form mentioned, in which this extension is dispensed with, and the metallic parts are mounted directly upon the insulating body. The patent also describes and illustrates the invention as applied to a no-key socket, ordinarily adapted to co-act with a chandelier or its equivalent, and to a receptacle usually adapted to be attached to the wall. Therefore, the sockets and receptacles mentioned in the patent are essentially the same, the difference being chiefly in the shape or design of the insulating foundation. The complainant contends that the description in the patent refers to two important features, which, apart from the metallic parts, distinguish this structure broadly from the structures theretofore employed. The complainant contends that the first of these features concerns the use of an insulating base or body or standard, by which is meant insulating material of abundant mass as distinguished from the insulating material of disk form, which characterized the single disk and the double disk sockets of the prior stages in the evolution of the art. The complainant also contends that the second feature concerns the electrically and mechanically separating the two socket terminals of opposite polarity by the use of a wall of insulating material, preventing those oppositely charged terminals from becoming electrically connected, either by the mechanical shifting of their positions, or by an intervening bridge, as of moisture. Claims 5, 6, and 7 are alleged to be drawn upon the second form, in which the invention may be employed as referred to in the two first paragraphs of the specifications above quoted. The contention is that the claims in issue cover an insulating base or body having mounted thereon a screw shell or sleeve terminal, provided with an inwardly bent flange, a U-shaped clamping piece fitting over such flange, screws for securing the clamp
ing piece, and the sleeve terminal as a necessary consequence to the insulating body, and means for conducting current to the clamping piece and sleeve terminal.
I will not take the time to discuss the question of the validity of claims 5 and 7 of the patent in suit. Presumptively they are valid, and I do not find sufficient evidence in the record and the prior art, after a full and careful consideration of the same, to overcome this presumption, and the finding therefore is that claims 5 and yy of the patent in issue are valid.
The more serious and difficult question involved in this suit is, does the defendant infringe? In arriving at a satisfactory conclusion on the question of infringement, it is necessary, however, to examine the patent with care. If a pioneer, and entitled to a broad construction accordingly, it is entitled to the application of equivalents in the broad and comprehensive sense.
Claim 5 is a combination claim, with the following elements : In a socket (1) an insulting base or body; (2) a sleeve terminal having (a) an inwardly bent flange or projection resting (b) on a part of said insulating body; (3) a clamping piece adapted to fit over said flange; (4) a screw or a similar device passing through (a) the insulating body, and (b) the clamping piece; and (5) and lastly, means for securing the circuit terminal (a) to said clamping piece, and (b) through it to the sleeve terminal, substantially as described.
Claim 6 consists of the following elements in combination: (1) the insulating standard, having (a) a ledge around a central U-shaped portion; (2) a sleeve terminal, having a flange resting on said ledge; and (3) a U-shaped clamping piece on said flange, substantially as described.
Claim Y has in combination the following elements: In a socket (1) an insulating body; (2) a sleeve terminal provided with an inwardly extending flange; (3) a central terminal; and (4) a curved clamping piece on said flange around the central terminal, substantially as described.
While claim 6 speaks of "the insulating standard,” I assume that the insulating base or body is meant, and whether we use the insulating body of one mass suitably fashioned, or that having an extension or raised portion, upon which the metallic parts are mounted, I discover no substantial difference in the principle involved.
I fail to discover in either the claims or specifications of the patent in suit any reference to an abundant mass of insulating material as distinguished from the disks of insulating material employed in the former art, and I cannot see that any particular importance can be given it, as in the prior art, in the patent No. 251,596, “socket or holder for electric lamps,” issued to Edward H. Johnson in 1881, we have an abundant mass of insulating material of wood, and the same is true of the Bergmann patent of 1882, No. 257,277, socket for incandescent lamps. In 1885 Bergmann took out another patent for socket for incandescent lamps, No. 311,100, date of January 20, 1885, and he says:
“My object is to provide a socket of this kind which shall be compact and of as few parts as possible, in which the amount of insulating material used shall be very small, and which shall contain a simple and effective form of circuit controller."
And he also says:
* has no useless mass of insulating material, being merely a metal skeleton, with just enough insulation to separate the terminals, all the circuit connections being carried by the single insulating-disk, instead of being divided among two or more insulating portions, as heretofore."
The effort of Bergmann seems to have been to get away from the abundant or superabundant mass of insulating material of the prior art. This is not mentioned as showing anticipation of the patent in suit, but as showing there is nothing new or novel in the use of an abundant mass of insulating material. The question was how to make a neat, compact, light, durable, safe, cheap, and efficient socket, avoiding the dangers of cross-circuiting, etc. Metzger filed his application for the patent in suit in April, 1892, and had the prior art before him, as he is presumed to have been thoroughly conversant therewith. In fact, the patentee (Metzger) says:
“The invention consists primarily in a socket having an insulating body [old] with an extension on which the terminals are mounted in the manner hereinafter set forth; and (2) the invention consists also in the several combinations hereinafter described and claimed."
I can discover no novelty amounting to invention in a mass of insulating material, with one part or portion thereof raised or elevated for convenience and utility in mounting theron or attaching thereto the other parts of the socket. The invention resides in the mode and manner of attaching the various parts to this central mass of insulating material, or rather the novel and efficient way of arranging them, with reference to each other, so as to accomplish the main purpose. This involved some cutting or rather molding of the insulating material to adapt it to the use intended. Each and every element of each of these claims is old, had been used in the prior art, or at least plainly and distinctly suggested by it, the form or shape and size being changed, but in no way that suggests invention. I think, therefore, the claims of the patent in determining the question of infringement must be limited accordingly in applying the doctrine of equivalents. For convenience in giving a description of the complainant's construction in accordance with the patent in suit, and also of defendant's alleged infringing construction, we will assume that the body of insulating material stands on end before us. We will then speak of the upper end as the one on which the inwardly bent flange on the bottom of the ring terminal rests. Assuming this body of insulation to be first cut or molded, to correspond in shape with the ring terminal—that is, cylindrical—on opposite sides thereof a small portion is cut away from top to bottom to permit the attachment thereto of the arm, 10, of the U-shaped clamping piece, 7, and its binding screw, 11, on the side of the body, and of the second socket terminal, 14, which is bent at right angles so that one-half of its