Brief Fact Summary. American Nicholson Pavement Company (Plaintiff) sued the city of Elizabeth, N.J. (Defendant) for infringement of a patent for a new and improved wooden pavement.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Neither an inventor’s experimental use, nor anyone’s use under his direction, has ever been regarded as public use.
The transaction will be for experimental purposes if represents a bona fide effort to bring the invention to perfection, or to ascertain whether it will answer the purpose intended, rather than represent an effort to earn profits.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Has an inventor’s experimental use, or anyone’s use under his direction, ever been regarded as public use?
Held. (Bradley, J.) No. Neither an inventor’s experimental use, nor anyone’s use under his direction, has ever been regarded as public use. In this case, Nicholson (Plaintiff) only intended the piece of pavement as an experiment, to test its usefulness and durability. If he did not voluntarily allow others to make it or use it, and did not offer it for sale for general use, Plaintiff was in control of the invention and did not lose his title to a patent. Since Plaintiff kept the invention under his own eyes and maintained his intent to obtain a patent for it, it was still an experimental use and not a public one. The patent is valid. Affirmed.
Discussion. An abandonment of an invention to the public may be exhibited by the conduct of the inventor at any time. If the invention is in public use or on sale, with the inventor’s consent, at any time within one year (two years when the decision in the above case was handed down) before his application for a patent, it will be conclusive evidence of abandonment.