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In Criminal Law, an agreement between two or more people to act jointly for an unlawful purpose; a conspiracy. In patent law, the joining together of several separate inventions to produce a new invention.

An illegal combination in restraint of trade, defined under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, is one in which the conspirators agree expressly or impliedly to use devices such as price-fixing agreements to eliminate competition in a certain locality, e.g., when a group of furniture manufacturers refuse to deliver goods to stores that sell their goods for under a certain price.

In patent law a combination is distinguishable from an aggregation in that it is a joint operation of elements that produces a new result as opposed to a mere grouping together of old elements. This is important in determining whether or not something is patentable, since no valid patent can extend to an aggregation.


noun affiliation, aggregate, amalgamation, arrangement, assemblage, bringing tooether, coadjutorship, coalescence, coalition, collection, composition, compound, coniunctio, congregation, conjunction, consolidation, fusion, incorporation, junction, merger, pool, societas, unification, union
Associated concepts: combination in restraint of trade, combination to restrict competition and commerce, combination trademark, combined offense, combined property, illegal combination, patentable combination
See also: accession, affiliation, alliance, assemblage, association, band, cabal, cartel, centralization, coalescence, coalition, collection, compact, company, compilation, composition, concert, confederacy, connection, consolidation, consortium, conspiracy, contact, content, contribution, corporation, enterprise, federation, incorporation, integration, joinder, league, melange, merger, organization, partnership, pool, relationship, selection, sodality, solution, structure, substance, union, unity

COMBINATION. A union of different things. A patent may be taken out for a new combination of existing machinery, or machines. See 2 Mason, 112; and Composition of matter.
     2. By combination is understood, in a bad sense, a union of men for the purpose of violating the law.