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Macbeth-Evans Glass Co. v. General Electric Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
246 F. 695 (1917)
George Macbeth, president of Macbeth-Evans Glass Company (Macbeth-Evans) (plaintiff), discovered a method for making illuminated glass in 1903 or earlier. The invention was put to use by Macbeth-Evans in the manufacture of glass products, which were sold on the market. In 1910, an employee of Macbeth-Evans left the company and disclosed the secret method to Jefferson Glass Company, which also made commercial use of the invention. Macbeth then applied for a patent on the invention, which was issued in 1914 and assigned to Macbeth-Evans. Macbeth-Evans later brought suit against General Electric Company (defendant) for infringement of the patent. General Electric argued that the yearslong period of secret commercial use of the invention by Macbeth-Evans constituted an abandonment of the right to patent protection. The court found in favor of General Electric. Macbeth-Evans appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Warrington, J.)
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