OELLULOID MANUF'G CELLULOID
CO. and another v. PRATT and others·.
SAME v. COMSTOOK and others.
Oircuit Court, D. OonneMicut. -July 31,1884.)
1'ATENT-HYATT'S PATENT CELLULOID PIANO
a portion ot the upper SlI.rface of the key-board of'a p:ano or organ is covered wHh a single sheet of celluloid, bnt it it is not an infringement to cover sinAJe keys whh separate atr:ps of celluloid.
It is an infringement of the firrt claim of thil Hyatt patellt (No. 210,780) if
J. E. Hindon Hyde and Frederic H. Bett8, for plaintiffs. George B. Ashley and Francis O. Nye, for defendants.
SHIPMAN, J. 1'hese are two bills in equity, each charging the reRpective defendants with the infringemer. t of letters patent No. 210,780, dated December 10, 1878, to the Manufacturing Company, aRsignee of John W. Hyatt, for an improvement in the manufacture of piano keys. At the oote of the patented invention, piano keys and organ keys were always covered with ivory. The "head" of the key is t.llat portion which is in front of the sharps, or black keys, and the "tail" is that portion whioh extends backward between the sharps. The "from" of the key is the portion which is below the head. After the blank wooden key-board was made, and the spaces which the keys Wale to occupy had been properly designated, the next step was to cover the fronts with strips of ivory. Before 1860, white holly wood was used for the fronts. When ivory was used, the fronts were made by gluing strips large enough to cover the fronts of two k6ys, or the front of one key, and sometimes, as in Steinway & Sons' factory, the entire front of the board was covered with a si.ngle strip. Each head was then separately glued on, and each separate tail was thereafter joined to each head, and the 'oard was then sawed into the separate keys. The top of the right-hand key was frequently covered with one strip. The public taste required that the fronts should match each other, and that heads and tails should also be of the same grain and color, and that the entire top surface of the white keys should also be matched. While the method of construction which has been described was the one in general use, the whole of each key-head, front, and tailhad been made of a sinf,le piece of ivory, under the Needham patent. The entire upper surface of each of two key-boards was once covered, in the factory of Steinway & Sons, of New York, with a single sheet of ivory, but this was an exceptional feat, performed with an exceptionally beautiful and evenly grained piece of ivory. All the heads of the keys upon a key-board have also been covered with a single strip of ivory. Seventy-five key-boards were made in this way by
Bead & Co., of Meriden. This experiment was not repeated by that firm.The objections to covering a large space with a single strip are that the ivory is apt to "check," or have small cracks, and that, being non-plastic, it does not uniformly adhere to the wood, and also that the grain is not uniform, and that, therefore, hea.ds and tails do not match each other. The covering of a large surface with ivory was riot unknown; it had been done in exceptional instances; but it was p-ot practicable to make keys iii this way; and the only practical and commercial method of manufacture was by gluing separate strips to the upper surface of separate keys. After the invention of the article to which the trade name of celluloid was given, Mr·.Hyatt endeavered to make celluloid keys in the same manner in which ivory keys had been made, but was unsuccessful. . He then succeeded in covering the entire upper surface of a keyboard with a sheet of celluloid, fastened to the wood with the usual eel. luloid cement. This method of construction was economical of time, and has reduced the price of the cheaper grade of keys. The invention did not consist in the substitution of celluloid for ivory, whereby a reduction in the price of keys was caused, but it consisted in the fact that, by the use of celluloid, there was practically furnished a new and useful mode of constructing key-boards, viz., by cementing to the board a single sheet of the veneer, instead of by gluing a large number of separate pieces of ivory, which must each be matched and sepa. rately fastened to the wood. This new method of construction was impracticable with ivory, or with any material which was known beto find fore celluloid was manufactured, and it J;equired out and demonstrate that key-boards could be manufactured, so as to be a commercial article, by covering their upper surfaces with a single sheet of a material which would make an attractive and coating for the wooden keys, because, from the fact that celluloid existed, it by no means followed that a key-board could be efficiently and successfully covered with it. The defendants do not deny the patentability of the invention, but place their case upon non-infringsment, as they construe the patent. The patentee describes his invention, in the descriptive part of his patent, as follows: "It consists in covering a suitable key-board blank, on its exposed upper SUIface and edge, with a sheet or scroll of some plastic composition, which is cemented or otherwise caused to adhere to the surfaces whereon it is desired. After being thus coated, the blank is sawed or otherwise severed into sections, each one of which constitutes a covered key. '" '" '" In the accompanying drawings, A represents a key-board blank, composed of wood or any other suitable material, of the size and contour required to form the number of keys of the dimensions required. Over the upper surface and outer edge of this blank, and cemented or otherwise secured thereto in a 8uitablo manner, is provided a thin sheet or scroll, B, of plastic composition. So.far as known, the material termEd ' celluloid' is the best adapted to the purpose of
CELLULOID MANUF'G 00. V. PUTT.
covering the blank, though it is plain that other materials of a plastic nature may answer. The covering of the blank with the sheet of composition or materia.l completes the first essential step towards the production of the invention. The next operation is to sever the blank into sections of the desired size to form the keys, D."
The claims of the patent are the following:
(1) As a new article of manufacture, a blank key-board covered with a continuous. strip or roll of plastic composition, substantially as specified. (2) The within-described process of formi.ng piano or analogous keys, whioh consists in covering a key-board blank with a strip of plastic material, and then cutting out each key from the coated blank, substantially as specified."
The specification and the first claim, if it is construed literltlly, describe a broader invention than Hyatt made. His invention did not consist in covering a key-board with any plastic composition, because he knew nothing of the adaptability for the purpose of any other material than the one which has the general name of celluloid; neither did he know how any other material could be cemented or fastened to the wood. His invention was confined to the materials upon which he successfulJy experimented, and his patent is to be limited to plastic composition of the nature and character of celluloid, and cemented to the wood wibh the cement with which celluloid is usually caused to adhere to another surface. . Each defendant is a manufacturer of piano and organ keys, and covers the upper surfaces and edges of some of its key-boards each with a sheet of cbrolithion, or celluloid, and also covers the fronts of the same key-boards each with another strip of the same material. They insist that this is not an infringement of the plaintiffs' patent, which they construe to be for a covering of the upper surface and the front of a key-board with one sheet of c.elluloid. The patent speaks of covering the "upper surface and outer edge" of the blank, but it is manifest from the drawings that the outer edge does not mean the front, but the edge of the top of the key-board. The defendants do, not always cover the whole of the top with a single sheet of celluloid, but sometimes use two sheets. It is an infringement if a substantial portion of the upper surf.ace of the key-board is covered with a single sheet, but it is not an infringement to cover single keys with separate strips of celluloid. The second claim of the patent seems to have been inserted for the mere purpose of having more than one olaim. As a statement of the invention, which consisted in covering the upper surface of a key-board with a single sheet of celluloid, it is useless, and, as a ment of the process of making key-boards, it is incorreot. It is far preferable to cement an unpolished than a polished sheet to keyboard, as the inventor well knew, and therefore the next operation, after cementing the sheet, is to level and polish it. The defendants do not use the process which is described in this claIm. Let there be a decree for an injunction against the infringement of the .first claim, and for an accounting.
BOSTOOK 'V. GOODRICH. l
(Circuit Court, BJ. D. Pennsylvania.
June 2, 1884.)
FA'rENTs-ADDITIONAL FEA'rURES-lMPROVEMENT UPON FORMER INVENTIONINFlUNGEMENTS.
Letters patent for an improvement made to a patented invention, byadditional features having no material effect upon the character, operation, or result produced, do not confer upon the subsequent patentee a right to use the onginal device. "i'he practiee of unnecessarily splitting up and multiplying claims disapproved.
2. SAME-SPLITTING UP AND "MULTIPbYING CLAIMS.
That the respondent offered a large sum of money for a patent, and subsequently took out patents for similar devices, are facts to be considered as being inconsistent with his subsequent contention of want of novelty in the patent. 4. SAME-SEWING-MACHTNE Tuck-CREASERS-LETTERS PATENT Nos. 64,404, 80,::l69, 81,160,117,501Letters patent No. 64,404, issued May 7,1867, and No. 80,269, issued July 28, 186B, to Edward Bostock, for improvements in sc\Ving-nmeh:ne tuckcreaser, are not shown to want patentable novelty, and are infringed by the devices constTucted under letters patent No. 81,160, issued August 18, 1868, and No. 117,501, issued .May 16,1876, to Heury C. Goodl·ich.
SAME-EvIDENCE-lNCONSISTENT CONDUCT OF RESPONDEN'f.
In Equity. Hearing on bill, answer, and proofs. Bill to restrain an alleged infringement of claims Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6, of patent (No. 64,404) issued May 7, 1867, to Edward Bostock, and claim No.1 of patent (No. 80,269) issued July 28, 1868, to said Bostock for improvements in sewing-machine tuck-creasers assigned by mesne assignments to Sarah L. Bostock. Respondent contended that there was no patentable novelty over 21 prior patents, and alleged that the devices made and sold by the respondent under letters patent (No. 81,160) issued August 18, 1868, to Henry C. Goodrich, and (No. 117,501) issued May 16,1876, to said Goodrich, for improvements in tuck-creasers for sewing-machines, were distinguishable from the Bostock invention in the construction and mode of operation. H. T. Fenton and W. W. Ledyard, for complainant. West J; Bond, (of Chicago,) for respondent. BUTLER, J. The patent No. 80,270, of July 28,1868, having been withdrawn from the case, we have for consideration only those of No. 64,404, of May 7, 1867, and No. of July 28, 1868. Of No. 64,404 the defendant is charged with infringing claims 2, 3, 5, and 6, and of No. 80,269, claim 1. The defense set up is want of novelty, and non-infringement. The patentee has pursued the usual and reo prehensible pl'actice of unnecessarily, if not improperly, splitting up and multiplying claims. Its effect here (which may be unimportant) we are not called upon to consider. The patent No. 64,404 covers a
lReported by Albert B. Guilbert and H. W. Watson, of the PhiludelphialJar.