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O'Reilly v. Morse

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Citation Edit

O’Reilly v. Morse, 56 U.S. (15 How.) 62 (1853) (full-text).

U.S. Supreme Court Proceedings Edit

A claim for the “use of the motive power of the electric or galvanic current, which I [Morse] call electro-magnetism, however, developed, for making or printing intelligible characters, signs or letters at any distances, being a new application of that power” was held not patentable because the claim was “too broad and covers too much ground.”

The court reasoned that one cannot get a patent monopoly on an effect or a law of nature, viz., electric current.

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