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UNION SIMPLEX TRAIN CONTROL CO. v. GENERAL RY. SIG

July 9, 1935

UNION SIMPLEX TRAIN CONTROL CO., Inc.,
v.
GENERAL RY. SIGNAL



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KNIGHT

KNIGHT, District Judge.

This is a patent suit for infringement brought by Union Simplex Train Control Company, Inc., against the General Railway Signal Company, as manufacturer, and the New York Central Railroad Company, as customer and user. The patents involved are No. 1,374,954, letters patent issued April 19, 1921, and patent No. 1,470,107, letters patent issued October 9, 1923. The only claims controverted are claim 4 of the first-numbered patent and claim 11 of the second-numbered patent.

These patents are for an apparatus for the control of trains by effecting automatic brake applications under danger conditions. The art of automatic train control was not new with the disclosures of these patents. It long antedates them and shows, as it has progressed, many improvements which are landmarks to human ingenuity. Naturally, changes, through the developments of various systems or devices, have been directed to the perfection of a type which will insure to the greatest possible degree the effectiveness and reliability of the system employed. Indeed, in the period commencing in 1908 and continuing until patent No. 1,470,107 was issued October 9, 1923, the patentee, to whom the plaintiff herein has succeeded in title, has been granted many patents related to systems for automatic train control. The defendant General Railway Signal Company for many years has been engaged in the manufacture of railway signal equipment and has also become possessed of the title to numerous patents for automatic train control.

 The system of automatic train control as designed by the patents, including the claims in question, may be generally described as including a construction known as an armature made of magnets stationed on the track and connected with the regular track signal system; a train or vehicle-carried device, consisting of magnets co-operating with the magnets in the armature on the track and so connected through electric circuits on the vehicle as to open an electro-pneumatic valve whereby air pressure is forced into a casing, inclosing the engineer's brake valve stem and against an oscillatory member attached to such valve stem, thereby causing an automatic application of the brakes when danger conditions arise. Means for releasing the air pressure in the casing are provided so that the engineer may manually release the brakes.

 Claim 4 of patent No. 1,374,954 reads: "Vehicle controlling apparatus embodying a track armature arranged for the passage of a responsive vehicle device, and laminated longitudinally of the track in planes in which said device moves." It is necessary at the outset to interpret this claim. It is the plaintiff's contention that the invention is an "inert" track device, along the track, disposed in a certain way and constructed in a certain way. It is the defendant's contention that the claim is for a combination of a responsive vehicle device movably mounted on a vehicle and a track armature laminated in a certain direction. It is necessary to examine the drawings and specifications to determine the intended invention. The specification states the object to be "to provide novel magnetic means on the track for influencing the vehicle equipment, having improved features to enhance its utility." The pertinent parts of the vehicle and track devices are shown in this drawing:

 [See Illustration in Original]

 Such drawing shows a track armature and a co-operating vehicle device. Each is provided with magnets adapted to aligh with an air gap of approximately two inches. Through magnetic influence, certain electric circuits on the train connected with the vehicle device are changed, under danger conditions, to make an automatic application of the brakes. The train-carried device shows a box containing the magnets numbered 46, 47, and 48. Under normal conditions these are energized by direct current provided on the vehicle. The track device shows three magnets numbered 40, 40, and 39, supported on rocker arms and enclosed in metallic casing 41. Under clear conditions the solenoid 44 is energized to raise the magnet 39 to its upper position and hold the two magnets numbered 40 to the lower positions. There is then no change in the vehicle circuits. When the solenoid is de-energized, through influence of the track signal system, magnet 39 drops, magnet 40 raises, and magnet 48 is pulled down by magnetic attraction. Then the magnets 46 and 47 become be-energized, thereby causing the electric pneumatic valve to open and let in air pressure to the actuator on the engineer's brake valve and automatically apply the brakes.

 The claim refers to "A vehicle controlling apparatus." Each claim of the patent has the same reference. This evidently has reference to the system as a whole. Claim 4 states what particular part of such system is intended to be included therein. It recites that such particular part is a track armature, located in a particular place, composed in a particular and positioned as to its parts in a particular way. The specification and the drawing show the particular place. They show the track armature composed of the magnets aligned with magnets on the vehicle. The magnets on the vehicle are the "responsive vehicle device." They pass over the armature magnets. The armature magnets are described in the claim and specification and shown in the drawing as being laminated, the laminations running "longitudinally of the track." The specification describes the magnets as movable, and movable in an up and down direction. The claim, in accord with the specification, also describes the armature as being laminated "in planes in which said device moves." It is true that the movement of the entire vehicle-carried device moves with the vehicle longitudinally of the track, but it seems to me that the reference to "device," in the connection in which that word is used in the claim, is to the movable magnets. That interpretation in consistent. The magnets move in a vertical direction. The laminations extend in the same direction as to the movement of the magnets and longitudinally of the track.

 It accordingly seems to me that the patent relates wholly to the track device and not to a combination of track and vehicle devices. This is further borne out by the claims in a prior patent, No. 1,372,457, issued to the same patentee. The drawings and style of such patent are similar, save that the armature is shown as solid, and there is no reference to lamination. As shown by reference heretofore made to the specifications in the patent in suit, such patent is designed to show "improved features to enhance utility." The obvious reference is to the type of armature. It seems that the patent in suit was allowed on that distinguishing feature.

 The next consideration is whether defendant infringes. In this connection attention may be drawn first to a general description of defendant's so-called automanual system of train control. The pertinent parts of the track and train device are shown in this diagram:

 [See Illustration in Original]

 The system shows a track device or U-shaped core, with a choke coil on one leg, a vehicle-carried core of corresponding U shape, with primary and secondary coils opposite to each other, stationed to pass directly over the track core; a system of electric circuits arranged to cause air to be retained in and forced within a so-called actuator, thereby applying or withholding application of the brakes. The track core is termed an "inductor"; the vehicle core, the "receiver." The system is supplied with a battery on the vehicle. There is produced by electro-magnetic induction from the "inductor," as the coils pass each other, under danger conditions, an increased voltage in the receiver, and this de-energizes a relay on the vehicle which controls the brake application mechanism. The so designated primary coil is energized from a battery and produces a magnetic flux through the laminated core of the receiver and the secondary coil thereon. When the locomotive is traveling under clear conditions, as indicated on the diagram, some of the magnetic flux passes between the pole pieces and through the secondary coil of the receiver. No voltage is then being induced in the secondary coil, and the relay RI is kept energized by current from the battery. When the "receiver" passes over the track "inductor" under stopping conditions, the chock coil on the "inductor" is in open circuit, and the magnetism passing through the secondary coil is greatly increased, and there is an induced voltage in the secondary coil. This opposes the battery voltage, and a relay is thereby caused to become de-energized, and the connected relay circuits are also opened. Breaking these circuits causes an electro pneumatic valve to open and permits compressed air to be admitted and applied to the actuator on the engineer's brake valve. It will be observed that the action on the "receiver," when it passes over the "inductor," is dependent upon whether the choke coil is on open circuit or otherwise.

 A distinguishing feature in the two devices in question is that defendant's vehcle cores are stationary; plaintiff's are movable. In the former physical motion is not relied upon; in the latter it is. In the former the "inductor" is the inducing element of the current which causes the opening of a relay; in the latter physical motion resulting from magnetism is required before a similar current results. In defendant's system, energizing or de-energizing the coil on the track core controls the vehicle circuits when the devices pass. In plaintiff's system they are controlled by energizing or de-energizing the solenoid which causes the raising to or lowering from operating position of circuit controlling magnets. Defendant's track and vehicle cores are both laminated. Laminations of the track inductor run longitudinally of the track and vertically as regards the position of the receiver. Defendant's track device is a short core, 18 inches in length, the ends are flared or spread out, and upon each end is positioned a spaced pole piece. Plaintiff's armature is obviously and necessarily much longer. Defendant employs a coil on the arm of the inductor, and plaintiff has a solenoid to control the magnetism and electro magnetism. Both systems employ an electrical effect. Plaintiff employs a physical motion to bring the elctrical effect into play.

 The use of a laminated structure of iron and the purpose served have long been known. A laminated armature is more efficient as a conductor of electro-magnetism as such lamination tends to prevent the flow of so-called eddy currents through the armature. These eddy currents may be described as an influence within the armature tending to resist the usual and ordinary flow of electro-magnetism therein. The text-writers long before the alleged patent was conceived had described with great detail the cause of so-called eddy currents in solid iron structure such as armature and the effect of such eddy currents upon the utility of a solid structure. They had in detail explained that by the lamination of a structure such as an ...


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