& Bom CO. et at
V. ILLINOIS IRON
(Circuit Court, N. D. Ill1,nots. April 21,1800.)
PATENTS FOR INVENTIONS-WANT OF NOVELTY.
TlIimble skeins of sheet metal for wagon axles, having been previously wellknown. and made of cast metal of any shape, a bill for infringement of letters patent-No.256,744, issued to Joshua Sandage, April 18,1882, for a wagon-axle skein, is demurrable for want of novelty; the alleged invention consisting in cutting a blank sheet of metal in such shape that, when rolled into cylindrical form, it will fit not only the spindle section of the axle, but also extend over the shoulder. with a wing along the under side of the axle, back of the collar.
In Equity. Demurrer to bill. Cobttrn '&: Thacher, for complainant. J. H. Ra'ymqnd, for defendants.
BLODGET'J.',.T. This is a bill in equity charging defendants with the infringeme:nt of patent No. 256,744, granted by the United States to Joshua Sanqage,April18, 1882, fora and praying for an injul1ction and accounting... Defendants have demurred to the bill on the ground that the patent in question, on its face, shows no patentable novelty in the device covered by the specifications and claims. The device described in the specifications and claims is a thimble skein for wagon. axles produced .from plate metal. and the specifications give instructions as to the shape into which a blank of plate metal like boiler iron is to pe cut, so that, when bent or rolled around a mandrel or former of the conformation of the axle upon which the skein is to be used, its edges will come together where they may be either butt-welded or lapwelJed. The skein described is so formed as to cover not only the spindle section of the axle, but to extend back so as to cover the shoulder of the axle, with a wing extending along the under side of the axle. There is no claim or statement in the patent that this shape fora thimble skein is new; and hence itwill be assumed, for the purposes of this case. is old. It may also be assumed that it is part of the that the COmmon knowledge that axle skeins have for many years been made of cast metal of such shape as was deemed desirable for their use. and that there was no, difficulty in casting skeins which reach onto or cover the shoulder of the axle, or extend along the under sid,e of the axle, back of the collar. The patentee inserts as part of his specifications a dis" claimer as f o l l o w s : ' .
"I am aware that wagon-axle skeins have been madeQf a single piece of sheet metal; and hence. I make no broad claim to such constru.ction of device. but restrict myself to certain improvements specified in the claims."
Assuming, then. as conceded, that thimble skeins made of sheet metal were old and well known when this inventor entered the field, and that such skeins had been made of cast metal of any desired shape, the question is, can there be any invention in cutting a blank sheet of plate metal in such shape as that, when rolled, or bent into cylindrical form, it will
STUDEBAKER BROS. MANUF'G CO. ". ILLINOIS IRON & BOLT CO.
fit, not only the spindle section of the axle, but also extend over the shoulder, with a wing along the under side of the axle bauk of the collar? To cut a piece of cloth or sheet metal into such form, as that, when its edges are brought together, hringing it into a semi-cylindrical form, it will' fit an irregular surface, seems to me, requires only mechanical skill. Tailors and dressmakers do it when fitting sleeves for their customers garments, not by the exercise of invention, but by their acquired mechanical skill. The problem being given any skilled mechanic to cover a piece of wood or metal with an envelope of sheet or plate metal by bending it into the shape of the article to be covered, probably the first step would be to measure the article to be covered at various places, so as to determine the length and width of the blank to be cut at its corresponding places, and, after an approximation to the desired shape of the blank had been obtained by such measurements, probably a paper pattern would be cut out and wrapped about the article to be covered, and in this way a pattern of the desired blank would be obtained, not by invention, but by mechanical experiment. The problem to be solved mechanical only, and does not, it seems to me, call into action that element of the mind which Wfl call "inventive genius," which meets and difficulty by an entirely new expedient, but simply and only demands the exercise of mere skill and deftness in fitting a piece of iron to a piece of wuod. If this patentee had given instructions as to certain mea,surements to be made which would enable a workman to cut a blank which would always certainly fit an axle, then there might be some ground for saying that he had discovered a law of proportion which involved invention, but he has done no such thing in this patent. The most he has done is to tell us that, if we wish the skein to cover an enlarged surl/we back of the collar, the blank for that part must be cut (}()rrespondingly wider. It obviously required no inventive genius to to tell the public this. Any person, it seems to me, who was set to cover a section of a cone, which is about the shape of the spindle section of a wagon axle, with a sheet of plate metal, would know that his blank must be wider where it was intended to cover the larger end than the portion which was intended to cover the small end, and that the taper of his blank must correspond to the taper of the axle, and, if back of the axle there was an abrupt enlargement of the axle forming the shoulder, which he was also to cover, then there must be a correspondingly abrupt increase of the width of the blank at that point. This is all this pat.entee has done by his specifications and drawings; and in doing this, it -seems to me, he has not gone out of the domain of common mechanical knowledge. Therefore, while I am averse to sustaining demurrers, in this class .of .cases, ,which shall, in effect, say that the patent-office has issued a patent which is obviously, and from common knowledge, void for want .of invention, yet, when a case is as plain as this Beems to me to be, I think it the duty of the court to do so, and thus save the parties the extraordinary expenses and delay which almost uniformly attend patent litigation. 'The delUQfrerissustained, and the bill dismissed for want of equity.
(Circuit COWf't, N. D. nZinO'1.B. December 50, 1889.)
Complainant's president being the owner of letters patent, under which It manu.. factured split pulleys, assigned an interest therein,with the right in the assignee to mant!facture, and any impro:vements were to 1;Ie joint property. An employe of complainant instructed the'BSsltrnee in the manufacture, and, it appeared, used BUbstantiBllythe forms claimed lU a patent for which he applied, but assigned to· the president, who [email protected]
In Equity., Bill for infringement of letters patent·. West & Bond, for complainant. J. H. Raymond, for defendants.
BLODGETT,J. The bill in this case charges the infringement by defendants olthe first claim of patent No. 275,947, granted April 17,1883, to Gustavus B. Sanborn;,for a "split pulley," and of claims Nos. 2,3,4, and 5 of patent No. 851,064, granted October 19, .1886, to Wallace H. Dodge, assignee of Charles McNeal, for a "woooen pulley," and asks an injunction and accounting.' The devices covered by both these patents, and their utility, is aptly described in the second paragraph of the Sanborn patent, as "split pulleys made of wood, or mainly so, such as are used onsbafting for driving machinery, and which are split, or made in separate sections or halves, to provide for putting them on or taking them off their shaft laterally relatively to the shaft, whereby they may be' hung Or removed without disturbing the shaft, and without interfering with other pulleys or devices on the shaft, or the hanp:ers carrying the shaft. 1I The principal feature covered by these two patents' is the division ,of the pulley by a zigzag line, so that the irregular surfaces, when brought together, will interlock, and thus aid in preventing displacement of the parts on the line of separation,-split pUlleys being an old dtlVice, and the patents 'now in question being only for improve· mentson them. The'defenses interposed are: (1) That thedefi:mdant is:agentin the city of Chicago for the sale of pulleys manufactured by the Milburn Gin & Machine Company Of Memphis, Tenn., and that by certain dealings andtransacti.ons between the complainant company and Wallace H.Dodge, the president of the eomplainant· company, and J. D.& T. H. Milburn, and the Milburn Gin & Machine Company, said· Milburn Gin & Machine Company were licensed and authorized to man·' ufacture the pulleysin"<Iuestion, which were sold' by the defendant, as the agent of said gin and machine Company. (2) That the claims of which infringement is chllrgedin the respective patents involved herein aIle void for want of patentable novelty in the devices therein described. (8) That defendants do· not infringe· .'1n regard to the alleged license or permission to the; Milburn Gin & Machi-ne Company to manufacture the pulleys in question, the proof