Le Roy v. Tatham (55 U.S. 156, 1852)

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[ABSTRACT] {1} A principle, in the abstract, is a fundamental truth; an original cause; a motive; these cannot be patented, as no one can claim in either of them an exclusive right.

[NATURE] {2} Nor can an exclusive right exist to a new power, should one be discovered in addition to those already known. Through the agency of machinery, a new steam power may be said to have been generated. But no one can appropriate this power exclusively to himself under the patent laws. The same may be said of electricity and of any other power in nature, which is alike open to all and may be applied to useful purposes by the use of machinery.

[NATURE, USEFUL] {3} In all such cases, the processes used to extract, modify, and concentrate natural agencies constitute the invention. The elements of the power exist; the invention is not in discovering them, but in applying them to useful objects.

[DESCRIPTION] {4} A patent is not good for an effect, or the result of a certain process, as that would prohibit all other persons from making the same thing by any means whatsoever. This, by creating monopolies, would discourage arts and manufactures, against the avowed policy of the patent laws.

[NATURE, COMMERCE] {5} A new property discovered in matter, when practically applied in the construction of a useful article of commerce or manufacture, is patentable, but the process through which the new property is developed and applied must be stated with such precision as to enable an ordinary mechanic to construct and apply the necessary process.


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