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TRIPLETT V. LOWELL, 297 U. S. 638 (1936)

U.S. Supreme Court

Triplett v. Lowell, 297 U.S. 638 (1936)

Triplett v. Lowell

No. 388

Argued March 4, 5, 1936

Decided March 30, 1936*

297 U.S. 638


1. Neither the disclaimer statute, R.S. §§ 4917, 4922, nor the rules of the common law applicable to successive litigations concerning the same subject matter preclude relitigation of the validity of a patent claim previously held invalid in a suit against a different defendant. P. 297 U. S. 642.

2. The court whose jurisdiction is invoked by a suit for infringement of a patent must determine for itself the validity of the claims asserted, notwithstanding a prior adjudication of invalidity of some of them, unless those issues have become res judicata by reason of the fact that both suits are between the same parties or their privies. Only if it holds that the claims are invalid may it be called upon to apply the disclaimer statute and to decide whether the patentee, under all the circumstances presented, has unreasonably delayed or neglected to enter a disclaimer of the claims of whose invalidity he had notice in the prior suit. P. 297 U. S. 645.

3. Where suit on a patent is brought in a circuit in which the circuit court of appeals had held some of the claims invalid, the court, in the second suit, must decide whether the issues of law and fact in the two cases are the same, and, if they are not, it is not bound by the earlier decision. P. 297 U. S. 648.

4. This Court will not answer on certificate questions covering unstated matter lurking in the record, or which admit of different answers dependent on circumstances not stated, academic questions, or questions the answers to which depend upon other answers for which no basis is laid in the certificate. P. 297 U. S. 648.

77 F.2d 556 affirmed.

Certificate in No. 590 dismissed.

Certiorari, 296 U. S. 570, to review the reversal of a decree dismissing a suit for infringement of a patent. The second case, No. 590, of like character, came up by certificate from the Circuit Court of Appeals of another circuit.

Page 297 U. S. 639

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