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Coffman v. Breeze Corporations, Inc., 323 U.S. 316 (1945)

Coffman v. Breeze Corporations, Inc.

No. 71

Argued December 7, 1944

Decided January 2, 1945

323 U.S. 316


1. A bill of complaint by a patent owner against licensees, seeking an adjudication of unconstitutionality of the Royalty Adjustment Act and an injunction against the licensees from complying with the Act and orders issued pursuant thereto, but seeking no recovery of royalties alleged to be due from the licensees, held to state no cause of action in equity and to present no case or controversy within the judicial power of the United States as defined by § 2 of Article III of the Constitution. P. 323 U. S. 321.

2. In the circumstances disclosed by the record and for purposes of the present suit, the constitutionality of the Act is without legal significance, and can involve no justiciable question unless and until the complainant seeks recovery of the royalties, and then only if the Act is relied on as a defense. P. 323 U. S. 324.

3. The declaratory judgment procedure is available in the federal courts only when an actual case or controversy is involved, and may not be used to secure merely an advisory opinion. P. 323 U. S. 324.

4. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a suit which is not adversary, or upon the complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation, or until it is necessary to do so to preserve the rights of the parties. P. 323 U. S. 324.

55 F.Supp. 501 affirmed.

Appeal from the dismissal by a District Court of three judges of the complaint in a suit by a patent owner against his licensees challenging the constitutionality of the Royalty Adjustment Act. The United States had been permitted to intervene.

Page 323 U. S. 317

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