Supreme Court Action On Tesla Split-Phase Patents

Saturday, December 3, 1904
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926 December 3, 1904 ELECTRICAL WORLD AND ENGINEER Vox. XLIV No 23 Supreme Court Action on Tesla Split-Phase Patents. On Monday, November 28, the United States Supreme Court de- nied a petition for a \vrit of certiorari directing the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to certify a case tried by that court for review by the Supreme Court. The petitioner was the Stanley Instrument Company and the respondent the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, The patents in suit were the Tesla patents, Nos. 511,559 and 51x,56o, granted December 26, 1893, and commonly known as the Tesla split- phase patents. The first stage of the litigation ended March 11, 1903, when judge Colt, of the Massachusetts Circuit Court, declared the patents invalid owing to a publication in an Italian journal dated April 22, 1888, of a lecture by Ferraris. The case was then carried to the Circuit Court of Appeals and on September 9, I®4, that court decided that sufficient proof had been presented to show that Tesla had made the invention involved prior to the date of the Ferraris publication. The principal contention for a review of the case by the Supreme Court was that the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had decided in an opinion dated February 25, 1903, that the said patents were invalid on the grounds of the Ferraris anticipation, and that the decisions of the Courts of Appeal of the First and Second Districts were at variance and conflict with each other, and that the error of one or the other could only be authoritatively corrected by the Supreme Court. The respondents in answer to this contention held that the alleged divergence between the courts relates only to the sutiiciency of the Tesla proofs as contained in the two records, on a question of fact; that the two courts had before them substan- tially different records, and therefore there was no "conflict" and the case consequently was not appropriate for certiorari.