Legal Definition and Related Resources of Machine

Meaning of Machine

A mechanical contrivance that modifies, utilizes or applies energy or force , having a useful function or useful objective. See Foster Wheeler Corp. v U.S. (Cust.Ct.), 290 F. Supp. 375. A mechanical device or combination of mechanical powers and devices to perform some function and produce a certain effect or result.

Machine Alternative Definition

In patent law. In its broadest signification, this term is applied to any contrivance which is used to regulate or modify the relations between force, motion, and weight. “The term ‘machine’ includes every mechanical device or combination of mechanical powers and devices to perform some function and produce a certain effect or result.” 15 How. (U. S.) 267. What are sometimes called the “simple machines” are six in number: The lever, the pulley, the wheel and axle, the wedge, the screw, and the inclined plane. These are sometimes known as the mechanical powers, though neither these nor any other machinery can ever constitute or create power. They can only economize, control, direct, and render it useful. Machines, as generally seen and understood, are compounded of these simple machines in some of their shapes and modifications. Such a combination as, when in operation, will produce some specific final result, is regarded as an entire machine. It is so treated in the patent law; for, although a new machine, or a new improvement of a machine, is an invention, and although only one invention can be included in a single patent, still, several different contrivances, each of which is in one sense a machine, may all be separately claimed in a single patent, provided they all contribute to improve or to constitute one machine, and are intended to produce a single ultimate result; and a new combination of machines is patentable, whether the machines themselves be new or old. 3 Wash. C. C. (U. S.) 69; 1 Story (U. S.) 273, 568; 2 Story (U. S.) 609; 1 Mason (U. S.) 474; 1 Sumn. (U. S.) 482; 3 Wheat. (U. S.) 454.

Related Entries of Machine in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Machine in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Machine in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Machine in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Machine in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, , Intervening Right, Machinery, , Operate, Paid-up Capital, , Slot Machine, Teletype Machine.


You might be interested in these references tools:

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Machine in the Dictionary Machine in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Machine
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Related topics Machine in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Machine is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Machine (more about URIs)


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Machine

(You may find machine at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

1540s, “structure of any kind,” from Middle French machine “device, contrivance,” from Latin machina “machine, engine, military machine; device, trick; instrument” (source also of Spanish maquina, Italian macchina), from Greek makhana, Doric variant of Attic mekhane “device,” from PIE *magh-ana- “that which enables,” from root *magh- “to be able, have power.” Main modern sense of “device made of moving parts for applying mechanical power” (1670s) probably grew out of mid-17c. senses of “apparatus, appliance” and “military siege-tower.” In late 19c. slang the word was used for both “penis” and “vagina,” one of the few so honored. Political sense is U.S. slang, first recorded 1876. Machine age is attested by 1851: The idea of remodelling society at public meetings is one of the least reasonable which ever entered the mind of an agitator: and the notion that the relations of the sexes can be re-arranged and finally disposed of by preamble and resolution, is one of the latest, as it should have been the last, vagary of a machine age. [”The Literary World,” Nov. 1, 1851] Machine for living (in) “house” translates Le Corbusier’s machine à habiter (1923).







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