Case Comment

R.C.A. Photophone v.

citation(s): (1936), 53 R.P.C. 167 (C.A.)

copyright 1997 Donald M. Cameron, Aird & Berlis




The Decision

At 195:

"In the days before it was obligatory on a patentee to set out his claims in his specification, it was often possible to find in it the statement of some principle that the patentee claimed to have discovered and a description of some method of putting the principle into practice. In such cases the invention might well be regarded as being an invention of all such methods; but now that claims are obligatory it is, in my judgment, essential that the patentee should claim all such methods in unambiguous terms, making it quite clear what the principle is."


"The Plaintiffs do not, of course, contend that a man can under any circumstances obtain a monopoly in an idea or a principle, however new it may be. The discoverer of an idea or a principle obviously cannot prevent the rest of the world from entertaining the idea or asserting the principle, but what the Plaintiffs do contend is that a man can obtain a monopoly of all methods that make use of an idea or principle discovered by him, if he discloses and describes one of such methods. To this proposition, I am willing to accede, but only on condition that the Patentee claims all such methods."


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