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Schriber-Schroth Co. v. Cleveland Trust Co., 311 U.S. 211 (1940)

Schriber-Schroth Co. v. Cleveland Trust Co.

No. 9

Argued October 24, 25, 1940

Decided December 9, 1940*

311 U.S. 211


1. The claims of a patent are interpreted in the light of the specifications, but with reference also to its file-wrapper history. P. 311 U. S. 217.

2. It is a rule of patent construction that a claim in a patent must be read and interpreted with reference to claims that have been cancelled or rejected and the claims allowed cannot, by construction, be read to cover what has thus been eliminated from the patent. P. 311 U. S. 220.

3. While this rule is most frequently invoked when the original and cancelled claim is broader than that allowed, the rule and the reason for it are the same if the cancelled or rejected claim be narrower. P. 311 U. S. 221.

4. The patentee may not, by resort to the doctrine of equivalents, give to an allowed claim a scope which it might have had but for amendments, the cancellation of which amounts to a disclaimer. P. 311 U. S. 221.

5. The patent to Jardine, No. 1,763,523, (Claims 1, 8, and 11), relating to pistons for internal combustion engines, claims the combination of a piston head, a divided skirt, and webs connecting

Page 311 U. S. 212

the head and skirt portions and supporting two wrist-pin bosses. Assuming that, with the aid of the specification, these claims might be construed to claim flexible webs, devised to act in cooperation with the other elements to make the piston respond to physical compression and thermal expansion, as an element of the combination which they do not claim expressly, such construction is precluded because the patentee, by amendments while his application was pending, made additional claims like those mentioned but specifying flexible webs, and thereafter withdrew them, upon their being rejected in interference proceedings. Pp. 311 U. S. 215, 311 U. S. 222.

108 F.2d 109 reversed.

Certiorari, 309 U.S. 648, to review a decree sustaining a patent in suits to restrain infringements.

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