342 F.2d 531 (1st Cir. 1965), 6189, Nyyssonen v. Bendix Corp.

Docket Nº:6189.
Citation:342 F.2d 531, 144 U.S.P.Q. 555
Party Name:Einard NYYSSONEN, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. BENDIX CORPORATION, Defendant, Appellee.
Case Date:March 03, 1965
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Page 531

342 F.2d 531 (1st Cir. 1965)

144 U.S.P.Q. 555

Einard NYYSSONEN, Plaintiff, Appellant,


BENDIX CORPORATION, Defendant, Appellee.

No. 6189.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

March 3, 1965

Page 532

Robert H. Rines, Boston, Mass., with whom David Rines and Rines & Rines, Boston, Mass., were on brief, for appellant.

Morris Relson, New York City, with whom Floyd H. Crews and Robert R. Keegan, New York City, were on brief, for appellee.

Before WOODBURY, Chief Judge, and HARTIGAN and ALDRICH, Circuit judges.

WOODBURY, Senior Circuit Judge (by designation).

We are concerned on this appeal with two patents issued to the plaintiff-appellant on the same day, April 23, 1957. One, No. 2,790,098, is for a Polyphase Synchronous Machine; the other, No. 2,790,131, is for a Polyphase Transformer System. 1 In issue are claims 1 and 10 of the 098 patent and claim 1 of the 131 patent. The court below found all three claims both invalid and not infringed, and entered a judgment dismissing the plaintiff's complaint from which he has taken this appeal. 2

The patents are long. One consists of 11 pages of drawings (26 figures) and almost 50 columns of text, and the other 9 pages of drawings (21 figures) and almost 44 columns of text. Both are highly technical in the fields of advanced mathematics and electrical engineering in which no member of this court can profess any competence. We can say with the court below that this case presents great difficulties to judges like ourselves who have only the most elementary training in science and mathematics and little experience with modern technological developments.

The court below in recognition of its avowed limitations rested its decision basically on its evaluation of the relative credibility of opposing expert witnesses. In view of the extreme technicality of the subject matter and the serious risk of making scientific and technological errors, the court invited each party to submit draft findings of fact. Then, concluding on the basis of observation at the trial and rereading the transcript that the defendant's expert was the clearer, more credible and more expert, it adopted the defendant's draft. It did not do so as a matter of rote, however. It said:

'Defendant's draft, as appears from supporting citations, rests, in the places where the issues are sharpest, upon Dr. Frazier's testimony and upon admissions by plaintiff's counsel and plaintiff's own expert. My own findings of fact are in most respects verbatim copies of this draft, but these findings do reflect my independent and meticulous check of the record itself.'

The plaintiff-appellant complains of the District Court's technique of decision asserting that it deprives him of due process of law. We do not agree.

Counsel are certainly entitled to file proposed findings of fact on their own initiative and we see nothing whatever in any way irregular for a court to ask them to do so, particularly in a highly technical and complicated case like the present. Nor is there any reason why counsel should not cast their requests in a form which if approved could be adopted by the court as its findings. Hazeltine Research, Inc., v. Admiral Corp., 183 F.2d 953 (C.A. 7, 1950), cert. denied, 340 U.S. 896, 71 S.Ct. 239, 95 L.Ed. 650. Ordinarily we think it the better practice for the trial court to prepare its own findings with such help as it may derive from counsels' requests. But this is no ordinary case. In a case of this difficulty we think the court below was fully justified in avoiding the risk of slipping inadvertently

Page 533

into serious scientific error by relying heavily upon counsel for technical findings based upon highly technical evidence. The question is whether the findings are supported by the evidence. United States v. Crescent Amusement Co., 323 U.S. 173, 184-185, 65 S.Ct. 254, 89 L.Ed. 160 (1944).

We turn now to the patents themselves.

A synchronous machine such as is covered in the 098 patent is defined by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in its Standard Definitions as '* * * one in which the average speed of normal operation is exactly proportional to the frequency of the system to which it is connected.' These machines consist, as we understand it, either of a synchronous generator, defined on the same authority as '* * * a synchronous alternating current machine which transforms mechanical power into electrical power' or a synchronous motor defined as '* * * a synchronous machine which transforms electric power from an alternating current system into mechanical power.' The purpose of these machines operating together in a synchronous system is to transmit synchronized rotary motion over a distance by means of electricity. An electric clock is an example.

Almost all electric power produced in this country is 60-cycle alternating current. This means that the current reverses in direction from positive to negative and from negative back to positive again 120 times per second. Each cycle includes current in one direction for 1/120 of a second and current in the opposite direction for the next 1/120 of a second. The current is maintained at this frequency of alternation by running the synchronous generator which produces the current at constant speed, the frequency of the current being in direct proportion to the speed of rotation of the rotor of the generator. An electric clock uses a synchronous motor and keeps accurate time for two reasons. The first is that the generator is maintained at constant speed to produce a constant 60-cycle frequency. The second is that the synchronous motor in the clock runs at a...

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