Sperry Rand Corporation, Univac
Division. Honeywell vs. Sperry Litigation Records, 1947-1972. Finding Aid.
Corporation, Univac Division. Honeywell vs. Sperry litigation
Sperry Rand Corporation. Univac
1 box (0.75
The collection consists
of litigation records, gathered internally at Sperry Rand's Univac Division to
provide information on topics relating to the Honeywell vs. Sperry litigation
begun in 1967.
Minnesota Libraries. Charles Babbage Institute.
Access and Use
The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Sperry
Corporation in 1987.
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in
the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as
published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair
use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Sperry Rand Corporation, Univac Division. Honeywell vs. Sperry
Litigation Records (CBI 72), Charles Babbage Institute, University of
When this collection was received by the repository, it was arranged
in five three-ring binders. The material was transferred from the binders to
folders to retain the documents original order and the volume notations have
been retained for the printed material.
The Honeywell-Sperry Rand suit grew out of the ENIAC patent, which
covered basic patents relating to the design of electronic digital computers.
After the patent was granted to the Sperry Rand Corporation in 1964, the
corporation demanded royalties from all major participants in the computer
industry. Honeywell refused to cooperate, so Sperry Rand then filed a patent
infringement suit against Honeywell in 1967. Honeywell responded in the same
year with an antitrust suit charging that the Sperry Rand-IBM cross-licensing
agreement was a conspiracy to monopolize the computer industry, and also that
the ENIAC patent was fraudulently procured and invalid. Honeywell filed suit
against Sperry Rand and its subsidiary, Illinois Scientific Instruments, Inc.,
in U.S. District Court (Minnesota District, 4th Div., No. 4-67-Civ. 138).
The ENIAC patents were filed in 1947 by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper
Eckert arising from the work conducted at the Moore School of Electrical
Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1946, Eckert and Mauchly left
the Moore School and formed their own commercial computer enterprise, the
Electronic Control Company, which was later incorporated as the Eckert-Mauchly
Computer Corporation. In 1950 Remington Rand acquired Eckert-Mauchly and the
rights to the ENIAC patent eventually passed to Sperry Rand as a result of a
merger of the Sperry Corporation and Remington Rand in 1955.
Following extensive discovery procedures the case went to trial in
June 1971. Over 32,000 exhibits, some of several hundred pages each, were
introduced as evidence. The trial transcript was over 20,000 pages long. In
April 1973 Judge Earl Larson found that Honeywell had infringed on the ENIAC
patent, but the patent was invalid because the ENIAC had been in public use for
over a year before the application was filed. The 1956 agreement between Sperry
Rand and IBM was determined to be a "technological merger" and a conspiracy in
restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act because the two
companies together had 95 percent of the relevant market at the time. No
damages or court costs were awarded to either party of the dispute.
The court also declared that the invention of the ENIAC was derived
from the work of John V. Atanasoff at Iowa State University. Atanasoff and a
graduate student, Clifford Berry, had developed a prototype electronic computer
in 1938, later named the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC). John Mauchly visited
Atanasoff in 1941 and was aware of the ABC, and Atanasoff believed that the
design of the ENIAC was based on the ABC. This meeting became an important
issue for the plaintiff during the trial.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of litigation records, gathered internally at
Sperry Rand's Univac Division to provide information on topics relating to the
Honeywell vs. Sperry litigation begun in 1967.
Volume 1 contains information on systems built by Sperry Univac from
1950 through 1970 in order by year of delivery.
Volume 2 contains photostat copies of various background documents on
circuits, including comments concerning printed circuit board fabrication, a
National Bureau of Standards publication on printed circuit techniques, 1957,
and proceedings of the Formica Printed Circuit Forum, 1956.
Volume 3 contains a short history of functional test philosophy at
Univac in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1956-1971, written by John E. Spar.
Most of volumes 3, 4, and 5 consisted of photographs. The photographs
have been removed to the CBI photo collection. Except for a few Polaroids, the
photographs are indexed. The original indexes have been included with the
records and copies have been retained with the photographs. The original order
and volume notations have been retained on the folders to which the photographs
were transferred. Volume 3 consists of photographs of computer memory planes
and test equipment. Volume 4 has photographs of various magnetic storage
devices, test equipment, and systems, including the 1103A Univac Scientific,
Athena, CAT testers, the File computer, NTDS, and TACS. Volume 5 photographs
cover military program products including ADD, ATHENA, NIKE ZEUS, NTDS,
automatic antenna coupler systems, a lightning test machine, and the UNIVAC
The litigation is also documented in
Honeywell Inc., Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand
Records (CBI 1).
- This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog
of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about
related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these
- Sperry Rand Corporation. Univac Division
- Computers -- History --
Box and Folder List
Volume 1: UNIVAC history information, 1950-1970. Box 1, Folder 1-3
Volume 2: UNIVAC historical data, 1947-1972. Box 1, Folder 4
Note Comments concerning printed circuit board fabrication gov doc on
printed circuit techniques, 1957; Formica printed circuit forum, 1956; summary
of memory characteristics, by O. J. Wilking, 1972.
Volume 3: UNIVAC functional test philosophy, 1956-1971, by
John E. Spar, circa 1972. Box 1, Folder 5
Photograph Indexes. Box 1, Folder 6