NOTES OF CURRENT DECISIONS
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.
Patent Cases-Jurisdiction-Law and Equity. ROOT 'D. LAKE SHORE & MICHIGAN SOUTHERN R. CO. This was an appeal from the circuit court of the United States for the northern district of Illinois, which was decided at the October term, 1881. Mr. Justice Matthews delivered the opinion of the court. The distinction of jurisdiction between law and equity in the United States courts is constitutional to the extent to which the seventh amendment of the federal constitution forbids any infringement of the right of trial by jury as fixed by the common law. The doctrine applies to patent cases as well as others, and a court of equity is to proceed under the patent law just as it does in any other case of a violated legal right, and to grant relief only when the remedy at law is inadequate; and a bill for an account of profits will not be sustained if brought after the patent has expired, and there can be no injunction. A bill in equity for a naked account of profits and damages against an infringer of a patent case cannot be sustained; that such relief ordinarily is incident to some other equity, the right to enforce which secures to the patentee his standing in court; that the most general ground for equitable interposition is to insure to the patentee the enjoyment of his specific right by injullction against the continuance of the infringement; but that grounds of equitable relief may arise other than by way of injunction, and case must rest upon its own peculiar circumstances, as furnishing a clear and satisfactory ground of exception from the general rule. Albert H. Walker, for appellant. George Payson, for appellee. The cases cited in the opinion were: Livingston v. Van Ingen, 1 Paine, 45; Sullivan v. Redfield, ld. 441; Stevens v. Gladding, 17 How. 447; Watts v. Waddle, 6 Pet. 389; Livingston v. Woodworth, 15 How. 547; Dean v. Mason, 20 How. 198; Seymour v. McCormick, 16 How. 480; New York v. Ransom,23 How, 437; Jones v. Morehead, 1 Wall. 155; Mowry v. Whitney, 14 Wall. 620; Packet Co. v. Sickles, 19 Wall. 611; Suffolk v. Hay(len, 3 Wall. 315; Burdell v. Denig, 92 U. S. 716; Littlefield v. Perry, 21 Wall. 205; Birdsall v. Coolidge, 93 U.S. 64; Elizabeth v. Pavement Co. 97 U. S. 126; Marsh v. (349)
Seymour, Id. 348: Cawood Patent, 94 U. S. 695; Rubber Co. v. Goodyear, 9 Wall. 788: Parks v. Booth, 102 U. S. 96: Silsby v. Foote, 20 How. 386; Hendric v. Sayles, 98 U. S. 546; Eureka Co. v. Barley Co, 11 Wall. 488: Goodyear v. Day, 2 Wall. Jr. 283: Orr v. Merrill, 1 Wood & 1\'1. 376; Nevins v. Johnson, 3 Blatchf. 80; Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 446: Fenn v. Holme, 21 How. 484; Cropley v. Beverly, Webs. Pat. Cas. 119: Hipp v. Babin, 19 How. 271; People v. Houghtaling, 7 Cal. 348: Colburn v. Simms, 2 Hare, 543: Smith v. London & S. R. Co. Kay, 415; Bailey v. Taylor, 1 Russ. & M. 75; Price's Co. v. Banwen's Co. 4 Kay & J. 727; Davenport v. Rylands, L. R.1 Eq. 302; Betts v. Gallais, L. R. 10 Eq. 392; De Vitre v. Betts, L. R. 6 H. L. 321; Garth v. Cotton, 1 Dick. 183. In illustration, as analogous: Parrott v. Palmer, 3 Mylne& K. 640; Jesus ColI. v. Bloom, 3 Atk. 262; Bish. of Winchester v. Knight, 1 P. Wms. 406: Powell v. Aiken, 4 Kay & J. 343; Higginbotham v. Hawkins, L. R. 7 Ch. Ap. 679; Martin v. Porter, 5 Mees. & W. 351; Morgan v. Powell, 3 Q. B. 278: Wood v. Morewood, Id. 440; Hilton v. Woods, L. R.4 Eq. 432; Jegon v. Vivian, L. R.6 Ch. Ap. 742.
Municipal Bonds-Coupons-Limitation of Aotion. TOWN OF KOSHKONONG V. BURTON. Case decided in the supreme court of the United States, October term, 1881.· In error to the circuit court for the western district of Wisconsin, the judgment of which court was reversed. Ha1'lan, J. The cause of action upon a coupon of a municipal bond issued under the statutes of Wisconsin, whether detached from the bond or not, accrues, and limitation commences at and from its maturity. The legislature may require, as to existing causes of action, that suits for their enforcement shall be barred unless brought within a less period than that prescribed when the contract was made, or the liability incurred, from which the iJause of action arose. The exertion of this power is, however, subject to the fundamental condition that a reasonable time, taking all the circumstances into consideration, be given by the new law before the bar takes effect. If interest upon interest, whether arising upon express or implied agreement, is allowed by the local law, at the time of the contract, that right cannot be impaired by a subsequent legislative declaration as to what was, in the jUdgment of that department, the true intent and meaning of the statutes prescribing and limiting the rate of interest in force when the contract was made. The utmost effect to be given to such legislative declaration is to regard it as an alteration of the existing law in its application to future transactions. The cases cited in the opinion were: Amy v. Dubuque, 98 U. S. 470, reaffirmed. As to the constitutional power of the legislature: Terry v. Anderson, 95 U. S. 633; Hawkins v. Barney, 5 Pet. 457; Jackson v. Lamphil'e, 3 Pet. 280; Sohn v. Waterson, 17 Wall. 596; Christmas v. Russell, 5 Wall. 290; Sturges v. Crownenshield, 4 Wheat. 122; Osborn v. Jaines, 17 Wis. 592: Parker v. Kane. 4 Wis. 1; Falkner v. Dorman, 7 Wis. 338. Allowance of interest: Mills v. Town of Jefferson, Wis. 56; Spencer v. MaXfield, 16 Wis. 185; Pruyn v. City of Milwaukee, 18 Wis. 386; Gelpcke v. Dubuque, 1 Wall. 175; Aurora v. West, 7 Wall. 105; Town of Genoa v. Woodruff, 92 U. S. 502: Walnut v. Wade, 103 U. S. 696. The law as the rule of decision: Salters v. Tobias, 3 Paige, 344; Ogden v. Blackledge, 2 Cranc!I, 276.