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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.
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.