Owing to the fact that the Wright brothers have enjoined

a number of professional aviators from using

their system of control, amateurs have been slow to

adopt it. They recognize its merits, and would like to

use the system, but have been apprehensive that it

might involve them in litigation. There is no danger

of this, as will be seen by the following statement made

by the Wrights:

What Wright Brothers Say.

"Any amateur, any professional who is not exhibiting

for money, is at liberty to use our patented devices.

We shall be glad to have them do so, and there will be

no interference on our part, by legal action, or otherwise.

The only men we proceed against are those who, without

our permission, without even asking our consent,

coolly appropriate the results of our labors and use them

for the purpose of making money. Curtiss, Delagrange,

Voisin, and all the rest of them who have used our

devices have done so in money-making exhibitions. So

long as there is any money to be made by the use of the

products of our brains, we propose to have it ourselves.

It is the only way in which we can get any return for

the years of patient work we have given to the problem

of aviation. On the other hand, any man who wants

to use these devices for the purpose of pleasure, or the

advancement of science, is welcome to do so, without

money and without price. This is fair enough, is it not?"

Basis of the Wright Patents.

In a flying machine a normally flat aeroplane having

lateral marginal portions capable of movement to different

positions above or below the normal plane of the

body of the aeroplane, such movement being about an

axis transverse to the line of flight, whereby said lateral

marginal portions may be moved to different angles relatively

to the normal plane of the body of the aeroplane,

so as to present to the atmosphere different angles

of incidence, and means for so moving said lateral marginal

portions, substantially as described.

Application of vertical struts near the ends having

flexible joints.

Means for simultaneously imparting such movement

to said lateral portions to different angles relatively to

each other.

Refers to the movement of the lateral portions on the

same side to the same angle.

Means for simultaneously moving vertical rudder so

as to present to the wind that side thereof nearest the

side of the aeroplane having the smallest angle of incidence.

Lateral stability is obtained by warping the end wings

by moving the lever at the right hand of the operator,

connection being made by wires from the lever to the

wing tips. The rudder may also be curved or warped in

similar manner by lever action.

Wrights Obtain an Injunction.

In January, 1910, Judge Hazel, of the United States

Circuit Court, granted a preliminary injunction restraining

the Herring-Curtiss Co., and Glenn H. Curtiss, from

manufacturing, selling, or using for exhibition purposes

the machine known as the Curtiss aeroplane. The injunction

was obtained on the ground that the Curtiss

machine is an infringement upon the Wright patents in

the matter of wing warping and rudder control.

It is not the purpose of the authors to discuss the

subject pro or con. Such discussion would have no proper

place in a volume of this kind. It is enough to say that

Curtiss stoutly insists that his machine is not an

infringement of the Wright patents, although Judge Hazel

evidently thinks differently.

What the Judge Said.

In granting the preliminary injunction the judge said:

"Defendants claim generally that the difference in

construction of their apparatus causes the equilibrium or

lateral balance to be maintained and its aerial movement

secured upon an entirely different principle from that

of complainant; the defendants' aeroplanes are curved,

firmly attached to the stanchions and hence are incapable

of twisting or turning in any direction; that the

supplementary planes or so-called rudders are secured to

the forward stanchion at the extreme lateral ends of

the planes and are adjusted midway between the upper

and lower planes with the margins extending beyond the

edges; that in moving the supplementary planes equal

and uniform angles of incidence are presented as

distinguished from fluctuating angles of incidence. Such

claimed functional effects, however, are strongly

contradicted by the expert witness for complainant.

Similar to Plan of Wrights.

"Upon this contention it is sufficient to say that the

affidavits for the complainant so clearly define the

principle of operation of the flying machines in question

that I am reasonably satisfied that there is a variableness

of the angle of incidence in the machine of defendants

which is produced when a supplementary plane on one

side is tilted or raised and the other stimultaneously

tilted or lowered. I am also satisfied that the rear

rudder is turned by the operator to the side having the

least angle of incidence and that such turning is done

at the time the supplementary planes are raised

or depressed to prevent tilting or upsetting the machine.

On the papers presented I incline to the view, as already

indicated, that the claims of the patent in suit should be

broadly construed; and when given such construction,

the elements of the Wright machine are found in defendants'

machine performing the same functional result.

There are dissimilarities in the defendants' structure--

changes of form and strengthening of parts--which may

be improvements, but such dissimilarities seem to me to

have no bearing upon the means adopted to preserve the

equilibrium, which means are the equivalent of the claims

in suit and attain an identical result.

Variance From Patent Immaterial.

"Defendants further contend that the curved or arched

surfaces of the Wright aeroplanes in commercial use are

departures from the patent, which describes 'substantially

flat surfaces,' and that such a construction would

be wholly impracticable. The drawing, Fig. 3, however,

attached to the specification, shows a curved line inward

of the aeroplane with straight lateral edges, and considering

such drawing with the terminology of the specification,

the slight arching of the surface is not thought

a material departure; at any rate, the patent in issue

does not belong to the class of patents which requires

narrowing to the details of construction."

"June Bug" First Infringement.

Referring to the matter of priority, the judge said:

"Indeed, no one interfered with the rights of the

patentees by constructing machines similar to theirs until

in July, 1908, when Curtiss exhibited a flying machine

which he called the 'June Bug.' He was immediately

notified by the patentees that such machine with its

movable surfaces at the tips of wings infringed the patent

in suit, and he replied that he did not intend to publicly

exhibit the machine for profit, but merely was engaged

in exhibiting it for scientific purposes as a member

of the Aerial Experiment Association. To this the patentees

did not object. Subsequently, however, the machine,

with supplementary planes placed midway between

the upper and lower aeroplanes, was publicly exhibited

by the defendant corporation and used by Curtiss in

aerial flights for prizes and emoluments. It further appears

that the defendants now threaten to continue such

use for gain and profit, and to engage in the manufacture

and sale of such infringing machines, thereby becoming

an active rival of complainant in the business of

constructing flying machines embodying the claims in suit,

but such use of the infringing machines it is the duty

of this court, on the papers presented, to enjoin.

"The requirements in patent causes for the issuance

of an injunction pendente lite--the validity of the patent,

general acquiescence by the public and infringement

by the defendants--are so reasonably clear that I believe

if not probable the complainant may succeed at final

hearing, and therefore, status quo should be preserved

and a preliminary injunction granted.

"So ordered."

Points Claimed By Curtiss.

That the Herring-Curtiss Co. will appeal is a certainty.

Mr. Emerson R. Newell, counsel for the company,

states its case as follows:

"The Curtiss machine has two main supporting surfaces,

both of which are curved * * * and are absolutely

rigid at all times and cannot be moved, warped or

distorted in any manner. The front horizontal rudder is

used for the steering up or down, and the rear vertical

rudder is used only for steering to the right or left, in

the same manner as a boat is steered by its rudder. The

machine is provided at the rear with a fixed horizontal

surface, which is not present in the machine of the patent,

and which has a distinct advantage in the operation

of defendants' machine, as will be hereafter discussed.

Does Not Warp Main Surface.

"Defendants' machine does not use the warping of the

main supporting surfaces in restoring the lateral equilibrium,

but has two comparatively small pivoted balancing

surfaces or rudders. When one end of the machine

is tipped up or down from the normal, these planes may

be thrown in opposite directions by the operator, and

so steer each end of the machine up or down to its

normal level, at which time tension upon them is released

and they are moved back by the pressure of the

wind to their normal position.

Rudder Used Only For Steering.

"When defendants' balancing surfaces are moved they

present equal angles of incidence to the normal rush

of air and equal resistances, at each side of the machine,

and there is therefore no tendency to turn around a

vertical axis as is the case of the machine of the patent,

consequently no reason or necessity for turning the vertical

rear rudder in defendants' machine to counteract any

such turning tendency. At any rate, whatever may be

the theories in regard to this matter, the fact is that

the operator of defendants' machine does not at any

time turn his vertical rudder to counteract any turning

tendency clue to the side balancing surfaces, but only

uses it to steer the machine the same as a boat is


Aero Club Recognizes Wrights.

The Aero Club of America has officially recognized

the Wright patents. This course was taken following a

conference held April 9th, 1910, participated in by William

Wright and Andrew Freedman, representing the

Wright Co., and the Aero Club's committee, of Philip

T. Dodge, W. W. Miller, L. L. Gillespie, Wm. H. Page

and Cortlandt F. Bishop.

At this meeting arrangements were made by which

the Aero Club recognizes the Wright patents and will

not give its section to any open meet where the promoters

thereof have not secured a license from the

Wright Company.

The substance of the agreement was that the Aero

Club of America recognizes the rights of the owners of

the Wright patents under the decisions of the Federal

courts and refuses to countenance the infringement of

those patents as long as these decisions remain in force.

In the meantime, in order to encourage aviation, both

at home and abroad, and in order to permit foreign

aviators to take part in aviation contests in this country

it was agreed that the Aero Club of America, as the

American representative of the International Aeronautic

Federation, should approve only such public contests

as may be licensed by the Wright Company and that

the Wright Company, on the other hand, should encourage

the holding of open meets or contests where ever approved as

aforesaid by the Aero Club of America

by granting licenses to promoters who make satisfactory

arrangements with the company for its compensation

for the use of its patents. At such licensed meet any

machine of any make may participate freely without

securing any further license or permit. The details and

terms of all meets will be arranged by the committee

having in charge the interests of both organizations.

ALONE WITH GOD. AMBITION. facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail