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Woodbridge v. United States, 263 U.S. 50 (1923)

Woodbridge v. United States

No. 51

Argued October 5, 8, 1923

Decided November 12, 1923

263 U.S. 50


1. Any practice of an inventor and applicant for patent through which he, deliberately and without excuse, postpones the beginning of the term of his monopoly, and thus puts off the free public enjoyment of the invention, is an evasion of the patent law and defeats its aim. P. 263 U. S. 55.

2. An inventor of projectiles for rifled cannon having obtained allowance of a patent from the Patent Office, procured the papers to be filed in the secret archives on a statement that he wished this for one year only as an aid in obtaining patent rights abroad, and thereafter, for nearly ten years, deliberately abstained from requesting issuance of his patent in order to postpone the beginning of the patent monopoly until the needs of the government for the invention should render it of pecuniary value to himself. Held that he forfeited his right to the patent, within the meaning of the special act of Congress authorizing this suit, and therefore compensation could not be recovered from the government even if it used the invention within the period defined by that statute. Act of March 2, 1901, 31 Stat. 1788. Pp. 263 U. S. 56, 263 U. S. 59.

55 Ct.Clms. 234 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Claims rejecting a claim preferred under a special act of Congress, for compensation for use by the government of an invention made by the plaintiffs' decedent.

Page 263 U. S. 51

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