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ELEVATOR APPLIANCE CO. v. BROOKS

April 12, 1938

ELEVATOR APPLIANCE CO., Inc., et al.
v.
BROOKS et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ABRUZZO

ABRUZZO, District Judge.

This suit is brought in equity for patent infringement. The plaintiffs claim a patent on an electromechanical interlock for self-service elevators. The lock prevents the hall door, leading from the hall to the elevator car or cab, from being opened until the elevator cab or car is at the floor.

The two patents in suit are numbered 1,945,734 and 2,060,283. The plaintiffs concede that locks functioning in the manner described in his two patents were used in the art long prior to the patents in suit. They claim that locks of the prior art were so designed and installed that a space of from about 6 to 8 inches remained between the shaft side of the hall and the front edge of the elevator cab or car. This space was dangerous to life and limb.

 The plaintiffs contend that the lock features and mode of operation to be considered involve principally those outside the lock casing. The structure and mode of operation under plaintiffs' patent made possible great improvements in elevator service and life-saving results, to wit, the elimination of this large space.

 Claims 1, 3, 4, 6, and 7 of patent No. 1,945,734 were disclaimed by the plaintiffs, and in view of this disclaimer they contended that it would be unnecessary to try claims 2 and 5. The plaintiffs desired to withdraw patent No. 1,945,734 because of this disclaimer but the court refused to permit them to do so. By virtue of the disclaimer under this patent, only claims 2 and 5 remain. No testimony of infringement was offered by the plaintiffs with respect to claims 2 and 5 of patent No. 1,945,734. Plaintiffs assert that patent No. 2,060,283 is a continuation of the patent previously mentioned. In view of the position taken by the plaintiffs, patent No. 1,945,734 is held not to be infringed.

 The question of the validity and infringement of patent No. 2,060,283 is therefore left to be determined. Plaintiffs rely on claims 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well as 17 and 20, and contend they should be sustained. They read as follows:

 "2. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having a hinged elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of an elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, said door-frame having an opening therethrough leading to said lock, said last mentioned means extending beyond said door and adapted to pass through said opening into said lock, means in combination with said door and permanently projecting therefrom for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door."

 "3. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having a hinged elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and substantially clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of an elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, said door-frame having an opening therethrough leading to said lock, said last mentioned means extending beyond said door and adapted to pass through said opening into said lock, means in combination with said door permanently projecting therefrom for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door, said first mentioned means being entirely within said lock when said door is opened."

 "4. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having an elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and substantially clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of an elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, and means in combination with said door for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door, said last mentioned means comprising an angle plate having one leg thereof parallel with the face and extending beyoud the end of said door, and having short circuiting means projecting therefrom adapted to pass through said frame and the casing of said lock."

 "5. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having a hinged elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and substantially clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of an elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, said door-frame having an opening therethrough leading to said lock, said last mentioned means extending beyond said door and adapted to pass through said opening into said lock, means in combination with said door for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door, said last mentioned means comprising a short circuiting member adapted to be moved into said lock simultaneously with the movement of said door."

 "17. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having an elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and substantially clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of the elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, means in combination with said door for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door, said last mentioned means comprising an angle plate having one leg thereof parallel with the face and extending beyond the end of said door, and having short circuiting means projecting therefrom adapted to pass through the casing of said lock, said frame extended in alignment with the plane of the face of said door and parallel with said lock."

 "20. In an elevator hatch-way door and frame combination having a hinged elevator hatch-way door and a frame therefor, a lock operatively associated therewith, said lock extending rearwardly of the face of and within said frame and substantially clear of the door opening thereof, electrical switches in said lock, means in combination with one of said switches for locking said door, means externally of said lock in the path of movement of an elevator car for actuating said first mentioned means, said door-frame having an opening therethrough leading to said lock, said last mentioned means extending beyond said door and adapted to pass through said opening into said lock, means in combination with said door and permanently projecting therefrom for operating the other of said switches simultaneously with the operation of said door, and said lock being also substantially clear of the elevator shaft."

 These claims describe the type of lock and the position in which the lock is placed and contemplate its being placed so that it is substantially clear of the elevator shaft. It is not entirely flush with the entrance to the elevator leading from the hall but clear enough to meet the legal requirement since the space which is left is a very small one. It seems, therefore, to be the position of the plaintiffs that, while the lock in question contains many of the essentials of prior art locks, the placing of this particular lock eliminates the large space between the cab or car of the elevator and the entrance to the said cab or car from the hall. This, they say, is the invention under the patent in suit.

 The defendants resist the validity of the claims under patent No. 2,060,283. They set up a defense of prior art and usage. They take the position that plaintiffs' invention is not new, nor was the inventor of plaintiffs' patent the first to use the type of lock indicated by Plaintiffs' ...


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