Continental Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co.

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Continental Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co.
Argued April 15, 1908
Decided June 1, 1908
Full case nameContinental Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co.
Citations210 U.S. 405 (more)
28 S. Ct. 748; 52 L. Ed. 1122; 1908 U.S. LEXIS 1519
Case history
Prior150 F. 741 (1st Cir. 1906)
It was not unreasonable for a patent owner to use existing equipment embodying old technology rather than to build new machines using new patents. Also, it was not unreasonable for the patent owner to refuse to license others to use its new patents.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Melville Fuller
Associate Justices
John M. Harlan · David J. Brewer
Edward D. White · Rufus W. Peckham
Joseph McKenna · Oliver W. Holmes Jr.
William R. Day · William H. Moody
Case opinions

Continental Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co., 210 U.S. 405 (1908), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States established the principle that patent holders have no obligation to use their patent.[1]


Eastern Paper Bag brought an action to prevent its competitor Continental Paper Bag from using its patent for a "self-opening" paper bag. Continental Paper Bag alleged that Eastern Paper Bag was not using its patent but simply trying to suppress competition.

Decision of the Supreme Court[edit]

The Supreme Court rejected this argument by Continental Paper Bag, holding that it was the essence of the patent to exclude others without question of motive.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Chin, Yee Wah (1997). "Unilateral Technology Suppression: Appropriate Antitrust and Patent Law Remedies" (PDF). Antitrust Law Journal. 66: 441. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-19.
  • Hovenkamp, Herbert; Janis, Mark D.; Lemley, Mark A. (2005). "Unilateral Refusals to License in the U.S". Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law. Working Paper No. 303, Stanford Law School John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics. doi:10.2139/ssrn.703161.

External links[edit]