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VAN KANNEL REVOLVING DOOR CO. v. GENERAL BRONZE CO

March 15, 1934

VAN KANNEL REVOLVING DOOR CO.
v.
GENERAL BRONZE CORPORATION (two cases)



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL, District Judge.

By consent the two suits were tried together.

They are based on the alleged infringement by the defendant of the following patents. The title to each is in the plaintiff.

 The first action is based upon patent No. 1,890,365, issued to Robert L. Blanchard, assignor to Van Kannel Revolving Door Company, the predecessor of the plaintiff herein, for full collapsible panic proof revolving door, granted December 6, 1932, on an application filed February 26, 1931.

 The second action is based upon patent No. 1,514,851, issued to Frank L. Gormley, for speed control for revolving doors and the like, granted November 11, 1924, on an application filed January 21, 1924, and assigned by mesne assignments to the plaintiff.

 The plaintiff is a New Jersey corporation, having a regular and established place of business in the borough of the Bronx, city of New York, and the defendant is a New York corporation, having a regular and established place of business in the borough of Queens, city of New York.

 The defendant has interposed an answer in each of the actions, setting up the twofold defenses of invalidity and noninfringement, and in the second action the defense of unclean hands.

 The defendant within the jurisdiction of this court, since the date of the patent to Blanchard, No. 1,890,365, and prior to, at the time of, and since, the filing of the bill of complaint in the first action, has manufactured, constructed, offered for sale, and sold, revolving doors embodying and containing the construction shown in the photostats Exhibits 3 and 4 herein, and the defendant within the jurisdiction of this court, since the date of the patent to Gormley, No. 1,514,851, and prior to, at the time of, and since, the filing of the bill of complaint in the said second action, has manufactured, constructed, offered for sale, and sold, revolving door constructions embodying and containing a speed control device, as shown in the photostat Exhibit 7 herein.

 (SEE ILLUSTRATION IN ORIGINAL) (SEE ILLUSTRATION IN ORIGINAL)

 Plaintiff is an old and large manufacturer of revolving doors.

 Defendant is engaged in the manufacture and installation of architectural bronze work in buildings, and its efforts in the manufacture of revolving doors have been confined to within about the last two years, prior to which time the defendant purchased revolving doors, which it installed, from the plaintiff and its predecessor and others.

 The reason assigned by the defendant for engaging in the manufacture of revolving doors being that it could not secure revolving doors from the plaintiff at what were considered by the defendant as reasonable prices.

 This reason, of course, would not relieve the defendant from infringement.

 The defendant's contention that plaintiff has harassed the trade was not sustained. The successful litigations by plaintiff, in which patent No. 656,062 was universally sustained, and reissue patent No. 14,255 was also sustained, are simply evidence that plaintiff was active in protecting its rights as the owners of such patents against infringers.

 The evidence does not justify the defendant's contention that plaintiff has a virtual monopoly in the revolving door business, but, if it did have such a monopoly, that would not relieve the defendant of its responsibility for infringement. United States Fire Escape Counterbalance Co. v. Joseph Halsted Co. (D.C.) 195 F. 295; Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Ullman (C.C.) 186 F. 174; Western Electric Co. v. Wallerstein (D.C.) 48 F.2d 268; Radio Corporation of America v. Majestic Distributors (D.C.) 53 F.2d 641.

 For convenience I will consider the patents in their order.

 Patent No. 1,890,365 to Blanchard, the first patent in suit.

 The patent is described on its face as for a "Full Collapsible Panic Proof Revolving Door."

 A panic proof revolving door is one whose door wings will all fold in one direction, like the leaves of a closed book, without conscious manipulation on the part of a crowd seeking egress from a building, but merely in response to abnormal pressure applied to opposing door wings.

 The patentee in his specification describes his invention as follows: "This invention relates to revolving doors, and has particular reference to certain improvements in that class of revolving doors known as the full collapsible panic proof type, in which the several wings thereof are capable of movement from their normal radial relation, under excessive or abnormal pressure, to positions where they project from one side of a central support and are disposed approximately in parallel planes." Page 1, lines 1 to 10.

 He then calls attention to the fact that there have been effective and defective revolving door structures, all of which are comparatively complicated and expensive to produce and assemble, and states it to be the object of his invention to overcome those objections by means of a comparatively simple and inexpensive structure.

 He further says:

 "The present invention broadly aims to provide a revolving door structure of the indicated type which includes a central rotary support or shaft and a plurality of door leaves, an improved means for supporting and guiding said leaves whereby they may be disposed in normal radial relation to said central shaft or support and in which said means permits of their movement on successively different axes to a fully collapsed position wherein all of the leaves are in substantially parallel planes to each other or practically any other arrangement which may be assumed by the leaves of this class of doors.

 "More particularly, the invention resides in an improved means for supporting the door wings from, connecting the same with, and guilding said leaves for movement with respect to a rotary central support or shaft, in which use is made of an element movable with and disposed perpendicular to said central support or shaft and in which said element and each door wing are provided with exially extending interengaging recessions and projections serving to permit each door wing to swing successively on relatively different axes." Page 1, lines 26 to 51.

 The structure illustrated in the patent is as follows:

 A central rotatable spindle or shaft A is provided with a pair of disks 10, secured to the spindle near the upper and lower ends respectively. The four door wings B, C, D, and E are supported by the disks so as to be held normally in radial position, and so that, when normal pressure is applied to any one of the wings, the disks, the four wings, and the spindle will rotate together. If excessive pressure be applied in opposite directions to two wings, the wings will pivot or swing on the disks in the direction of pressure to assume the position shown in Fig. 3. A three-point connection is provided between each of the wings and each of the disks, comprising the two pins 22 and pin 21 mounted on the wing and interengaging with communicating guideways on the disk defined by the edges 16, 19, and 20. If a wing be collapsed, it pivots for a short distance upon the pin 21, the pins 22 sliding circumferentially in the guideway defined by the edges 19 and 20. When one of the pins 22 reaches the end 17 of its guideway, the door wing ceases to pivot on the pin 21 and pivots then on the pin 22, disposed in the end 17 of the guideway; the pin 21 and the member 16 serving as guides for the pivoting. When the wing is collapsed in one direction, it will pivot on one pin 22, and, when it is collapsed in the other direction, it will pivot on the other pin 22. In either direction the pin 21 will, in co-operation with the slot 16, serve as a guide for the pivoting on pins 22. The initial pivoting, when the wing is collapsed in either direction, is on the pin 21; the pins 22 sliding circumferentially in the groove formed between the members 19 and 20. However, only a minor proportion of the pivoting is on the pin 21; the principal pivoting being on either one of the pins 22, depending upon the direction in which the wing is collapsed. The pins 21 and the ends 17 of the circumferential grooves are eccentrically placed with respect to the central shaft A, and the two guide walls 16 are arcs described from the two pivotal points 17, respectively. To hold the wings in normal radial position, a spring-pressed detent 26 is secured in each door wing, and it engages in a keeper opening or recess 29 formed in the periphery of the disk 10.

 Claims 4, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 are involved in the present suit.

 I cannot say that any of the claims is typical of them all, but claim 17, which reads as follows, well illustrates the invention: "17. In a revolving door structure, a central supporting member, means secured to said member for supporting the door wings, members carried by each door for engaging the said supporting means for connecting the wings thereto for pivotal movement, each wing being collapsible in one direction by swinging movement on one member and collapsible in the opposite direction by swinging movement on another member, and interengaging guide means provided respectively on each door wing and the wing supporting means for guiding the swinging movement of the wings on the respective members."

 The defendant introduced in evidence the following seven prior patents: No. 195,273 to Harvey; No. 656,062 to Van Kannel; No. 696,027 to Foster; No. 836,843 to Van Kannel; reissue No. 14,255 to Van Kannel; No. 1,007,025 to Ely; No. 1,069,739 to Sutton.

 Patent No. 195,273 to Harvey is for an improvement in gates, and discloses a swinging farm gate having an upper and lower hinge, the upper being merely a single central pivot, and the lower hinge consisting of a projection from the bottom of the post of the gate, with projection is horizontal and is provided with two grooves g g with arcs of circles, and the two projections e e placed on a part fastened to the ground, engage and slide in the circular grooves g g, and, when the gate is opened either way, it will be caused to slant in such direction that it will swing shut by its own gravity. This patent has nothing to do with revolving doors, and could not be employed in a revolving door structure, as the hinges cannot pivot or swing sufficiently to enable the wings of a revolving door to fold in parallel relation, and the outward displacement of the lower portion of the wing, due to the structure of the lower hinge, would cause the wing to jam against the inclosure of the revolving door against which the edges of the wings must have close contact when in operation.

 Patent No. 656,062 to Van Kannel, for a revolving door, discloses a panic proof door. Fig. 3 of this patent shows that each wing is suspended or hung from the central spindle 1, by means of articulated links or broken knuckles 27 and 23, said links or broken knuckles being provided with two pivots, both in the central plane of the wing member, whereby it is possible for the wing to swing on the outer unnumbered pivot, in either direction, and it is also possible for the wing to swing in either direction on the inner pivot 23. There is no guideway or groove for guiding the swinging motion of the wings in this patent, and, while it shows a plurality of pins, it does not show a plurality of communicating, intercommunicating guideways; the pins being placed on the central plane of the wing and not eccentric thereto.

 If pressure is applied upon the wrong portion of the wing, the arm 32 may fail to release the wings, and in collapsing the wings may jam against any one of ...


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