The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919. Page: 33
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WEBER ELECTRIC 00. V. CUTLER-HAMMER MFG. CO.
 While it is true that each succeeding defendant encountered
by the owner of a patent is not estopped by previous litigations from
advancing defenses often overruled, there are some matters which
even in patent suits must finally cease to merit discussion. We have
examined this record without discovering any new matter, substantial
and persuasive, and inducing us to depart from the considered de-
cisions above recited.
[2, 3] We therefore adhere to the following fundamental findings,
viz. that by January 1, 1898, Weber had embodied the invention de-
scribed and claimed in his earlier patent, which invention is a positive
lock for the engagement of the sleeve and cap of lamp sockets, as
distinguished from any and every variety of friction device.
It is asserted that certain prior art in the form of patents is now for
the first time brought to the attention of this court--at all events. We
have examined it, and the oft-repeated remark that one good refer-
ence is worth any number of poor ones is applicable to it all. The
nearest and best references have been considered in some or all of the
There is now presented certain new or additional evidence, all re-
lated to the Kenney patented device-for the same purpose as Web-
er's-and its commercial introduction or development. The present
defendant owns an interest in the Kenney patent, and now advances
the doctrine that, even if Kenney did not invent his socket before
Weber did his, Kenney was the "commercial pioneer," and introduced
his apparatus with such success, while Weber in the interval between
1898 and about 1902 was doing nothing, that this defendant can offer
an "equitable estoppel" to Weber's proceeding against the present al-
The contention lacks merit, either on the facts or in logic. Kenney
seems never to have made any sockets; under his patent the Yost Com-
pany made and distributed as samples about 1,000; thereafter the style
was changed and sales made, until about 1910, when further chang-
es invited suit by Weber, whereupon yet another change was made,
and the result is still on the market. It is said without contradiction
that in about 16 years some 20,000,000 Yost-Kenney appliances have
been sold. How many of them were of the sort that invited action
by Weber we are not informed; the form presently offered is not an
infringement of the patents in suit, and 20,000,000 sockets in 16 years
is very far from entitling the vendor to plume himself on commercial
Logically there can be no equitable estoppel, unless the party
against whom it is asserted is seeking to do something injurious to
defendant; and in a patent case like this the argument assumes that
Weber is seeking to enjoin one who is only doing what Kenney ei-
ther taught or practiced. This is not true, for the reasons first above
summarized, and the fact that it is possible by the exercise of vio-
lence, or without serious effort, if old and worn sockets are used, to
relatively rotate the sleeve and cap of Weber's earlier sockets, is im-
material. If defendant wishes to use Kenney's frictional lock, it is
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919., legislative document, 1919; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38827/m1/47/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.