ALFRED HOFMANN v. TEXTILE MACH. WORKS, 71 F.2d 973 (3rd Cir. 1934)


No. 5312.Circuit Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.
June 15, 1934. Rehearing Denied July 16, 1934.

Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the District of New Jersey; John Boyd Avis, Judge.

Suit by the Textile Machine Works against Alfred Hofmann, Inc., and another for infringement of Schletter patent No. 1,713,628, claims 1, 3, 14, and 15, for attachment for flat knitting machines for making full-fashioned hosiery. From a decree for plaintiff (4 F. Supp. 837), the named defendant appeals.


Samuel E. Darby, Jr., and Darby Darby, all of New York City (Walter A. Darby, of New York City, of counsel), for appellant.

Howson Howson, of Philadelphia, Pa. (Dexter N. Shaw and Charles H. Howson, both of Philadelphia, Pa., of counsel), for appellee.

Before BUFFINGTON, WOOLLEY, and DAVIS, Circuit Judges.

BUFFINGTON, Circuit Judge.

The patent involved in this case was so thoroughly discussed in Judge Avis’ opinion that we find ourselves in no position to improve on what he has said. After due consideration, we are of opinion the decree below should be affirmed, and affirmed on his opinion. In so doing, we note that this patent presents an unusual state of affairs.

What was known as the “cotton” knitting machine had been in use for many years. Its construction involved some one hundred patents. The machine cost $10,000. The plaintiff devised a mere attachment, costing some $350, which can be attached to the $10,000 machine, and gives the latter a wide sphere of manufacturing capacity which it did not before possess. This attachment was so valuable — and there is no contradiction as to this — that no one would now buy one of these $10,000 machines without having an attachment such as the plaintiff’s patent disclosed. Its worth is evidenced by the fact that in four years following the issue of the patent 6,000 of these attachments were sold at a cost of more than $2,000,000. When this patent was disclosed to the plaintiff, an extensive manufacturer of knitting machines, the patentee was at once paid $20,000 for it. We have a finding by the Patent Office of the fact of invention. We also have the fact of invention found by the trial court. We see no reason to disturb such findings. Accordingly, the case is affirmed.