Motions for preliminary 'injunctions. . Browne, .for defendants.
Steele, for complainant.
COLT, J, These are motions for preliminary injunctions based upon the alleged infringement of the seoond claim of letters patent granted to the complainant November 18,1879, for improvements in hammocks. The claim is for the combination of a hammock having suspension ropes with detachable distending blocks, which are notched at their lower edge to space the ropes. The improvement really consists in the use with a hammock ofa detachable curved block notched at its lower edge. The evidence before me proves beyond question the prior use of a detachable straight block notched at its lower edge to space the ropes. There is also evidence going to prove the use of a curved block notched at either end. Such being the prior state of the art I am unable to find any invention in making a curved detachable block notched at its lower edge. Hanullocks with curved and straight blocks were exhibited before me at the hearing, and the relative merits of each tested in court, and except perhaps in the more attractive appearance of the former, I was unable to discover any substantial difference between the two in the results accomplished. The only embarrassment I labor under arises from the fact that Judge WALLACE in the case of Tmvers v. Beyer, 26 Fed. Rep. 450, sustained the validity of this patent upon final hearing. In the written opinion of Judge WALLACE the question of anticipation is not touched upon, but this point was decided orally in the plaintiff's favor at the hearing. An examination of the record and briefs of counsel in that case, which are now before me, discloses that it was a disputed question whether a straight detachable block notched at its lower edge had been in use prior to Travers' invention, and it may be the court held that such anticipation was not sufficiently proved, while in the present case it is not denied. Upon the record before me, I have such doubt as to the validity of the second claim of the patent that I do not feel justified in granting these motions. Motions denied.
STATES ELECTRIC LIGHTING Co.
'Circuit Oourt, 8. .D. New York.
Rev. Bt. U. B. § 4887, provides that "every patent granted for an invention which has been previously pat.ented in a foreip;n country shall be so limited as to expire at the same time with the foreign patent." Held, where the applicaUoJ;l for the foreign patent was not made until subsequent to the appU. " cation in this country, but the foreign patent issued before the domestic patent" that the term of the domestic patent was limited to the term of the foreign patent.
PATENTS FOR INVENTIONS-DURATION OF RIGHT-FOREIGN PATENT.
EDISON ELECTRIC LIGHT CO.V. UNITED STATES ELECTRIC LIGHTING CO.
SAME. It is not materIal whether the foreign patent was granted to the Inventor who made the application in this country or to some other person to whom he had caused the invention to be' patented; the statute covers both cases.
Noris it Important that the inventor who made the application in this coun· try is one of our own citizellS; no statute passed since the act of congress of July 4, 1886, (5 U. S. St. 117,) which repealed all former patent laws making any distinction between citizens and foreigners in respect to the privilege of ob· taining patents, except as to the fees to be paid, and the protection of inventions by caveat.
SAME-AcTION FOR INFRINGEMENT-PLEADING.
A bill for infringement of letters patent No. 268.140 of August 22.1882, to Thomas Edison for an "Improvement in Dynamo-Electric Machines" set out the grant of letters upon an application filed August 9, 1880. Besides the usual averments. it alleged by way of anticipation that defendant would rely upon an Austro-Hungarian patent granted to complainant prior to No. 263,140 and the expiration of such foreign patent prior to suit brought; but that complainant had reduced his invention to practice in the United States prior to his application in Austro-Hungary, and that the foreign patent was issued for 15 years and had many years yet to'run. Defendant filed a plea denying that the foreign patent was issued for 15 years and alleged that it was issued prior to the American patent. viz., July 21.1881, and that it, and a renewal set out. had expired. Held, that the objection raised could be taken by plea; and that the plea was sufficient in form, the only negative matter it contained being necessitated by the anticipation clause of the bill, and the tenor or legal effect of the foreign patents being averred and profert being unnecessary, ,
Wm. M. Evarts, Clarence A. Seward, John O. Tomlinson, and Richard N. Dyer, for complainant. S. A. Duncan, Leonard E. Ourti8, E. Wetmore, and F. H. Betts, for re-
In Equity. Bill for infringement. On plea.
WALLACE, J. The plea to the bill of complaint, which has been set down for argument, alleges in substance that the defendant should not be compelled to answer, because by reason of the facts averred in the plea the remedy of the complainant is plain, adequate, ,and complete at law, and this court should not take cognizance in equity of the suit. The bill alleges the infringement by the defendant of letters patentor the United States No. 263,140, dated August 22, 1882, granted to the complainant upon the application of Edison, for an improvement in dynamo-electric machines, the invention of Edison. The bill shows that Edison made his application for a pa.tent August 9, 1880, and assigned his title to the complainant June 21, 1881. Besides the averments usually contained in bills to restrain infringement of patents, allegations are introduced by way of anticipation of the supposed defense to the bill in order to meet any issue tendered by the defendant. These averments are in substance that the defendant may wrongfully pretend, as an excuse for its wrongful act in the premises, that the complainant's letters patent are no longer in force or operative, because at the time they were granted the invention described therein had been patented in the Austro-Hungarianempire for the term of one year, alldthat such foreign patent has expired, and consequently the term of complainant's patent has expired; but that the facts are that Edison, at the time of making
the invention, was and always since has been a resident and citizen 01 the United States, and made, perfected, and reduced the invention to practice in the United States, and made and filed his application for a patent in the United States patent office August 9, 1880, and prior to any application made by him abroad; and that, in order to protect his invention in foreign countries, it was necessary that he should promptly apply for letters patent abroad; and the issue of the foreign patent preceded the United States patent solely because of the greater diligence and more prompt procedure of the foreign administration. The bill further avers that the letters patent of the Austro-Hungarian empire were granted for the term of 15 years from their date, and are in full force and effect. The plea alleges that prior to the granting of the complainant's letters patent the inv.ention or discovery described and claimed therein had been patented by Edison, or with his knowledge, consent, and procurement, by a public patent of the Austro-Hungarian empire, granted to Edison July 21, 1881; that the term for which the foreign patent was granted was one year from its date, and expired on the 21st day of July, 1882; that subsequently, by grant lU!].de on the 19th day of July, 1882, the foreign patent was extended for a new term of one year, and the extended term expired on the 21st day of July, 1883; and that the extended Austro-Hungarian patent was existing and unexpired when the complainant's letters patent were granted, but the term thereof expired July 21, 1883, and before the commencement of this suit. The plea denies the averments of the bill that the Austro-Hungarian patent was granted for the term of 15 yearS t and was in full force and effect when this suit was brought. If the complainant's patent has expired before the bringing of this it is plain that a court of equity has no jurisdiction of the cause of action for infringement, and the complainant can only proceed by a suit at law for the recovery of damages. Root v. Railway 00., 105 U. S. 189. It is contended for the complainant that such a defense cannot be raised by a plea, and, if it could, that the present plea is insufficient, both in matters of form and substance, to present such a defense. One of the uses of a plea in suits at law or in chancery is to object to the jurisdiction of the court. Livingston v. Story, 11 Pet. 351; Wickliffe v. Owings, 17 How. 47, 51. In a case where it was urged that the sum involved was not of sufficient amount to authorize a court of chancery to take cognizance of the cause, Chancellor WALWORTH said. "If that fact did not appear upon the face of the bill, it might undoubtedly have been pleaded in bar of relief." v. Williams, 4 Paige, 364. In Beames, PI. Eq. 55, it is stated: "Those pleas which are commonly called' pleas to jurisdiction' do not proceed the length of disputing the right of a plaintiff in the subject of the suit, or allege any disability on the part of the plaintiff to prosecute the suit, but simply assert that a court of chancery is not the proper court to take cognizance of those rights." The present plea falls within this definition. There is. np force in the 'Objection that the plea is a negative plea. Such pleas are sanctioned, and are now frequently resorted to. A fa·
EDISON ELECTRIC LIGHT CO; V. UNITED STATES ELECTRIC LIGHTING CO.
miliar instance is a plea denying partnership where the bill prays an account of partnership transactions. The present plea is not strictly a negative plea. It is a negative plea so far as it denies the averments of the bill that the term of the Austro-Hungarian patent is for 15 years, and that the patent was in full force when the suit was brought. It is an affirmative plea as to all the other facts which it sets forth. The effect of the plea iato admit aU the facts alleged in the bill except those ally denied, and to meet the case made by the bill by alleging the new facts intended to show that the complainant's patent had expired at the time of the commencement of the suit. If the bill did not contain the anticipatory averments which have been inserted in it, the denial in the plea would have been unnecessary. With this denial in the plea it is only necessary to inquire whether the facts set up affirmatively are a de-fense to the suit, admitting that everything in the bill not denied is true. A pleading is sufficient which sets forth documents according tl? their tenor or legal effect, and avers the substantive facts relied on asa cause of action or defense. Tested by this rule, the plea is sufficient in form without making a profert of the Austro-Hungarian patent, or setting out in detail any of the evidential facts to show that it was a valid grant of letters patent for the invention for the term of one year. If issue were taken on the plea it would only be necessary for the defendant to produce a properly I\uthenticated copy of the foreign patent, and show the seal or signature affixed to it to be the act of an officer duly authorized to issue patents. The effect and operation of the patent iE to be determined as a question of law by the terms of the document, unless evi. dence of the foreiWl law is introduced to qualify or controvert the con:struction which would otherwise be placed upon the instrument. It is not necessary in a pleading to allege that an instrument was executed by an agent, and that the agent was duly authorized thereto; it is sufficient 24 Wend. to allege its execution by the principal. Delafield v. 345. The tribunals ofevery nation take judicial notice of the public seals of sovereign states, (1 Green!. Ev. § 4,) and the annexation of the seal will be presumed to have been made by a person having custody thereof, and competent to do the act. 1 Phil. Ev 419.. The plea sets forth a sufficient rlefense if the term of a United States patent ends at the same tillie the term of a foreign patent granted for the same invention ends, when it appears that the foreign patent was not applied for until after the domestic patent was applied for; that it was not applied for by the inventor himself, but by some other person by his procurement; and that the dOmestic patent was granted to one who, at the time of the application, was an American citizen, and had made and reduced his invention to practice in this country. The question presented depends upon the meaning and effect of section 4887, Rev. St. U. S., which is as follows:
"No person sball be debarred from receiving a patent for his invention or discovery. nor shall any patent be declared invalid. by reMon of haVing been first patented or cansed to be patented in a foreign country. unless the same has been introduced into pnblic use in tbe United States for more than two years prior to the application. But every patent granted for an ·ihven-
tion which has ,been previously patented in a foreign country sllall be so Iimitedas to expire at the same time with, the foreign patent. or, if there be more than one, at the same time with the one having the shortest term; and in no case shall it be in force more than seventeen years."
It is not at all material whether the foreign patent is granted to the inventor who makes the application in this country or to some other person to whom he has caused the invention to be patented; the statute expressly covers both cases. Nor is the fact of any iIIlPortance that the inventor who makes the application in this country is one of our own citizens; because, since the act of July 4, 1836/ which repealed all former patent laws, and established a comprehensive code covering the whole subject, our laws have not made any distinction between our own citiin respect to the privilege of obtaining patents, or the zens and conditio.nsand restrictions of the privilege granted, except as to the ,amount of,the to be paid, and the protection ofinventions by caveat. ThequesUon may therefore be simplified by eliminating these immaterial ingredients; and the real inquiry is whether the sectioI,l limits the term ofadomestic patent to the term of a foreign patent when the application ,f'or,the fo.reign, patent is not made subsequent to the application in thiscoulltry, but the .foreign patent issues before, the domestic patent. If it, were proper to treat this question as an original one, it would be necessary first to inquire whether there is any ambiguity in the language of the statute. If there is not, the duty oLthe ,court is to give effect to its obvious weaning, it may Qe'thought to make an unres,sonableandharsh, innovation upon the pre-existing privileges of our own ipventors. ' It is not only the safer course to adhere to the words of ,a statute, ,construed intheir ordinary import,instead of entering into allY to the supposed intention of cOngress, but it is the im.perative, duty of the court to do so. Where the meaning of the Revised Statutes is ,plain the court cannot look to the SOUl:ces of the revision to ·ascertaip. whether errors have o.r have not been committed by the revis'ers.. U.' S., v. Bowen, 100 U. S. 508., There is no practical difference in ,the phraseology of section 4887 and that of section 25 of the act of 'July S,1870" from which iPe section is reprodupecl. The precise point now raiseq py the complainant, but made with reference to the effect of section 22 of the act of 1870, was considered by this court in Electrical (l).,Vt. l/Jl¢ric 00., 21 Blatchf. 450. It was insisted by the defendant in ,that case that the complainanVs patent expired at the date of the expiration of an, Austrian patent, and the complainant took the position the defense was not tenable because the a,pplication for his United States: patent was filed before the application for the Austrian patent was ,plaue. "It was held by BI,ATOllFqRD, J., that the date of the application for the,U'p,itedStates patent could not affect the question, and that the meaning of the statute was that the United States patent should expire lltthtrtimEl'()f expiration of the foreign patent, irrespective of the time ,wheli ,the foreign patent was applied for. Judge BLATCHFORD adopted
,15,U. So St. 11'1.
HATCH V. TOWNE.
in that case the views of J udge< NIXON upon the same questhln in Bate Refrigerating 00. v. Gillett, 13 Fed. Rep: 553, ,In the Elite Case,the question arose under section 4887, and, it was complainllnt's United States patent did not expire at the date of the expiration of a Canadian patent, because the application for his patent was dent to the application for the grant of the Canadian patent. The court was of the opinion that it would be wresting the language of the section from its plain and obvious meaning to sustain that position. These decisions have been followed by BRADLEY, J., upon a subsequent hearing in the Bate Case, 31 Fed. Rep. 809, and by COJ.T, J., in Bate Co. v, Hammond, post, 151.
In view of these adjudications, the question should not be considered as an original one. The plea is therefore allowed.
«(Jircv,it Oourt, D. Ma88achu8ett8. May 24,
PATENTS FOR INvENTIONS-OORINGEMIIlNT-Br,ANKS FOR HElEL·STniTJIlNER&
The lI,1"9t claim of letters patent No. 180,MO, granted toJamesL, HatCh,July !5, 1876, for improvements in blanks for heel-stiffeners for boots and shoes, is as follows: "A blank for the manufacture of heel-stiffeners, toe-caps. or box-toes, corrugated at its lower edge prior to being bent to form the flange, substantially as described." Held, in view of the prior state of the art, that this claim is limited to a flat corrugated or indented blank, and is not infringed by defendant's device, a "clalll-sheU" counter, having its lower edge. froin which the, flange is to be formed, corrugated, and the rest of the blank moulded into horizontal curves corresponding approximately with the shape oftheshoe.
The second claim of the patent is as follows: "In the process of uring heel-stiffeners. box-toes, and shoe-tips, corrugating the lower <edgeot the bla)1k, then bending the blank into heel or t06 form. and turning ,the ,cor" rugatededge to form the flange, substantially," etc. Held, that thisproces8 contem,plates that the operation of corrugating shall precede that ofbendiilg the blank and turning the corrugated edge to form the flange. The first litep in the process being a flat corrug!1ted blll'lk, it is not infringed by defendant, who does not use such a blank, but makes the sallle machine which corrugates his blank at the same time bend it into the form of aelam Bhllllj or approximately into the form of the heel of a boot or shoe.
In Equity. Bill for infringement of patent No. 180,340. Livermore & Fish, for complainant. W. A. Macleod, for defendant.
to the complainant July 25, 1876, for improvements in blanks for heel-
This suit is brought upon letters patent No. 180,340, granted
stiffeners for boots and shoes. The improvement consists in a blank in which the edge which forms the flange is corrugated before the edge is bent over or turned, the corrugations enabling the edge to be more easily turned, and making a more even distribution of the wrinkles or crimps, thereby adding to the smoothness of the flange. There are two claims: