(Oircuit Oourt; D. New JfJruy. December I, 1891.)
Latte);s patent No. 819,q97, issued June 16, 1885, to George D. Paul and Cyrus E. Vreel.and, covered an improvement in OU:I!.bU.ttons, whereby they are provided with a separahle shoe, "consisting of a spring.metalring, formed with a flaring opening, a, through which the post or shank is and with a yielding central portIon, curved outwardly, forming a seat, c, in which the postorsbank rests, "and "adapted to be secured to the'sbankbetween its outer end and the fabrio through which the shank is inserted." Hell}, that, in view of the l?rior stat.e of the art, and of the fact thatbroaderc1aims were orilfinally made and rejected, the patent must be restricted .to the specUlc device descri6ed, and is not infringed by letters patent No. 382,3t2, issued 1tIay l:l, 1888, to Egbert A1sdorl and George D. Paul. 8. SAMB-AsSIGNMENT-EsTOPPBL. . The f$<lt that the inventor and patentee of an improvement in an article sells and aI/signs tbe pa'ent to a third l?erson dOeBnot, in t be absence of misrepresentations as to the scope of t.he patent; estop· him from obtaining a patent for another and di:l!e.-ent tmprovement thereon. . 1.
PATENTS I!'OR INVENTIONS-PRIOR STJ,TB OJ' ART-CUPI!'·BuTTONS.
'J.. ,Th.is. up.on.".I.etters rate.nt No. 819. ,997, dated June 16, 1885, to GeorgeD..Pau , t4e inventor, and to his assignee ,of Cyrus E. Vreeland, for an improvement in buttons; the i,nventionconsisting (the specification states) lI.in certain features of construction," the object blling to provide a device adapted to be applied to a. cuff-button, to prevent it from coming through the button-hole and becoming lost.. The patent has a single claim, which is as follows: "A button. constructed with a. rigid post or shank, havi ng an enlarged fiat t'nd, and provided with a. separable, shoe. cor.sisting of a ring. formed witb a flaring through which the post or shank is passed, and with a yielding central portion, cllrYl'd outwardly, forming a seat, c. In which the post or shank rf'stllj the said shoe adapted to be se('lIred to,·the shank between its outer end and the fabric through which tile shank' Is inserted, substantially as setfOlth." By virtue of assignments from Vreeland to one Van Hovenberg and from the latter and said Paul, the plaintiff, on Jannary 17,1885, became the sole owner of the said invention and the letters patent therefor. Subsequently, upon the application of Cyrus E. Vreeland, the inventor, filed January 14, 1888, letters patent No. 382,342, dated May 8, 1888. were wsued to Egbert Alsdorf and George D. Paul, as assignees of Vreeland, for improvements in button fasteners. The alleged infringing buttons are made under and in accordance with this latter pat nt. The bill of complaint proceeds upon the assumption that the Paul invention, for which the patent in suit was granted, consisted in "the formation and construction oCa removable spring.back'washer or shoe, with a central perforation of such a relative diameter as to be used in connection with
a button having a rigid post or shank, with an enlarged flat end, thereby admitting of the easy application of a button to any kind of goods, and admitting of its removal at pleasure." But so broad a scope must be denied to the patent by reason both of the prior state of the art and the proceedings in the patent-office. The evidence is conclusive that prior to the Paul invention buttons had been patented in the United States having all the general features just mentioned. In truth, Paul was a mere improver of an old and well-known type of buttons. his improvement introducing no new principle of operation, butconsisting altogether of specific forms of construction. Morp,()ver, the file-wrapper shows. that his application as originally framed was for broader claims, which, being rejected, werE! replaced by the restricted claim finallyallowed. It is manifest upon the face ofthis claim that it relates to mere featu:fes;of peculiar construction, and the prior state of the art was such that the claim must receive a very narrow interpretation. Conceding that t4e patent may be for thepTecise device described, yet the claim cannot be extended by construction so as to cover distinct dev,ices having. other forms, although designed. for the same general purpose. Now, such is the character of the defendants'button fastener. which undoubtedly varies as much from the plaintiff's device as it did from,earlier devices in the art. The position taken by thE! plaintiff, that is to be determined by the supposed construction which,lhe,second section of the answer puts upon the patent in suit, is quite untenable. Therefore we need not stop to consider whether or not tbev.iews.of the based upon that theory are correct. The: two'devices are not colorably, but substantially, different. We neell, (iiily specify on.e PllintO,f distincti()n, which is fundamental, namely, the defendants' device has no "yielding central portion, curved outwardly, forming a seat, c, in which the post or shank rests." There are other distinctive features. But'it is not necessary to prolong the discussion. We are well satisfied that infringement has not been shown. Nothing appe&rs to create an estoppel as against any of thedefenqants. It is not shown that either Paul or Vreeland ever made any misrepresentation to the plaintiff as to the scope of the patent in suit, and certainly they were not precluded, by a simple assignment of the patent, from applyingfdrand obte'lining letterS patent for another and different improvement, subsequently made, in the same class of button a decree be drawn dismissing the hill, with costs.
THE ST. LoUIS. HITCHCOCK v. THE ST. LoUIS. ST. loUIS, 1. M. &: S. Ry. CO.
D. Kentuc1cll. November 16, 1891.)
I.Suit'.llF.m.1nt» TO CLADl1l:XBMPTION.
, When, however, the seaman's admiralty proceeding was begun before a Unite4) Stalill commissioner prior to the judgment of the justice,and the railroad com, J>any,hsd Blltual notice thereof before th.at it was t:\1e latter's duty to call the Justice'll'sttention to that proceeding, arid beoaulle of ita failure to do 80 Ui will be. . cbareed' with the costs thereof.
In Admiralty. Libel by J. J. Hitchcock against the steamer St. Louis, owned by the St.-Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company,: for wages. Decree for libelant for costs only. JamaCampbell, Jr., for libelant. Quigley. &- Quigley, for claimant.
BARR; J. This is a libel in rem, for the wages claimed by the ant, and the questions raised by the claimant, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company, are: (1) Has a court of admiralty jurisdiction of the subject? (2) If it has jurisdiction, is not the ment of the wages due libelant by the claimant defendant, by and under an order of a state court under a proceeding of garnishment, a bar to a, recovery in this court? The steamer St. Louis is owned and used by the claimant defendant. for the purpose of transporting its trains across the Mississippi river. It is really a steam ferry-boat, with iron rails so adjusted as to permit. the trains of the defendant to be run over and upon it, and thus betransported across the Mississippi river by the steamer. This boat is registered, has a large tonnage, and has the capacity of transporting,