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Six-Way Corp. v. McCurdy & Co.

July 6, 1936

SIX-WAY CORPORATION
v.
MCCURDY & CO., INC.



Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of New York.

Author: Hand

Before MANTON, AUGUSTUS N. HAND, and CHASE, Circuit Judges.

AUGUSTUS N. HAND, Circuit Judge.

This is a suit for infringement of United States patent No. 1,890,358, issued to Edward J. Barcalo and now belonging to the complainant. The invention relates to a pillow or cushion adapted to provide a comfortable support or rest for the back, head, or other portion of a person while in recumbent or more or less sitting position, and also to provide a pillow having means which prevent objectionable deformation of the pillow when in use.

The specification states that the pillow preferably comprises a sack of flexible woven or other suitable fabric containing an elastic filling which may be made of hair, cotton, or other soft or more or less pliable material adapted to form a comfortable cushioned support for the head, shoulders, or other portion of the body of a person.

The novelty of the invention chiefly relied on seems to be its shape which is described thus: "The pillow is made of triangular or substantially triangular shape in longitudinal cross section, having opposite substantially triangular ends * * * and three connected sides * * * extending between and connecting the corresponding edges of the triangular ends. Preferably, the triangular ends of the case are of substantially the shape shown, each having three different or unequal angles, of which the angle 16 is a slightly obtuse angle, and the other two angles 17 and 18 are acute angles of different degrees. It is believed that the best practical results are obtained by making the pillow with substantially the angles indicated in the diagrammatic Figures 3-8, and with the sides 13, 14 and 15 approximately 11, 14 and 18 inches in width respectively."

The specification also provides for a stay consisting of a tape or cord extending through the filling of the pillow and attached to buttons externally which may be shortened or lengthened so as more or less to compress the filling and to resist outward spreading or bulging of the ends under weight or pressure on the pillow, to prevent deformation, and to make the pillow firmer or softer by tightening or loosening the stay.

It is further stated in the specification that, by reason of the described shape of the pillow, it is adapted to be used in any of six positions shown in figures 3-8, and added that: "These different possible positions of the pillow adapt it to meet the changing needs of readers, invalids or convalescents and afford them the maximum comfort by providing a cushioned support to suit various different postures of the body. Thus, the pillow furnishes supporting surfaces of different slope, extent and position, without the recognized objections inherent in the adjustable, rigid back supports heretofore used."

The claims Nos. 2 and 3 which are relied on read as follows:

"2. A pillow comprising a case formed of freely flexible sheet material, and filled with relatively soft, pliable, elastic material, said pillow as filled being relatively soft, pliable and elastic, substantially triangular in transverse cross section, of substantially pillow length, and having rectangular side faces connecting the triangular ends, the two shorter edges of each triangular end being nearly but not equal in length and at least approximately one foot in length, and including between them an angle of about a right angle, whereby each of the three side faces will provide a supporting face of substantial proportions and width, and the pillow will provide a supporting surface at any of a plurality of different inclinations to the horizontal, depending upon which of its side faces the pillow is resting upon.

"3. A pillow comprising a case formed of freely flexible sheet material, and filled with relatively soft, pliable, elastic material, said pillow as filled being relatively soft, pliable and elastic, substantially triangular in transverse cross section, of substantially pillow length, and having rectangular side faces connecting the triangular ends, the two shorter edges of each triangular end being nearly but not equal in length and at least approximately one foot in length, and including between them an obtuse angle of slightly more than 90 degrees, whereby each of the three side faces will provide a supporting face of substantial proportions and width, and the pillow will provide a supporting surface at any of a plurality of different inclinations to the horizontal depending upon which of its side faces the pillow is resting upon, the obtuse dihedral angle of the pillow insuring an approximately right dihedral angle after the pillow yields by forces acting thereon in a direction tending to close the obtuse dihedral angle."

The trial judge held that the above claims were valid.

Diagrammatic figures 3-8 of the patent which illustrate the six positions of the pillow ...


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