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Le Roy et al. v. Tatham et al.
having been invented by Burroughs Titus, by George W. Potter, by Jesse Fox, by John Hague, and by Joseph Bramah, were substantially the same as that used by the plaintiffs; that the combination of machinery, patented as herein before stated, by Bush and Harvey, for making pipes of clay, and that used for making maccaroni, were substantially the same as that described in the plaintiffs' patent.
In their charge to the jury, the court said, “ They, the plaintiffs, also state, that they do not claim any of the parts of the machinery, the cylinder, core, die, or bridge, but that they claimed the combination when used to form pipes of metal, under heat and pressure, in the way they have described. There can be no doubt that if this combination is new, and produces a new and useful result, it is the proper subject of a patent." 6 The result is a new manufacture. And even if the mere combination of machinery in the abstract is not new, still, if used and applied in connection with the practical development of a principle, newly discovered, producing a new and useful result, the subject is patentable. In this view, the improvement of the plaintiffs is the application of a combination of machinery to a new end; to the development and application of a new principle, resulting in a new and useful manufacture. That the discovery of a new principle is not patentable, but it must be embodied and brought into operation by machinery, so as to produce a new and an useful result. Upon this view of the patent, it is an important question for the jury to deterinine, from the evidence, whether the fact is established, on which the alleged improvement is founded, that lead in a set, or srini-solid state, can thus be reunited or welded, after separation.” To this instruction the defendants cxcepted.
It was also objected, that the plaintiffs' patent was invalid for want of originality; that the invention had been before described in public works, and Bramah, Hague, Titus, Fox, and Potter, were relied on by the defendants.
To this it was replied, by the court, “ That in the view taken by the court in the construction of the patent, it was not material whether the mere combinations of machinery referred to were similar to the combination used by the Hansons, because the originality did not consist in the novelty of the machinery, but in bringing a newly discovered principle into practical application, by which a useful article of manufacture is produced, and wrought pipe made as distinguished from cast pipe.” To this charge there was also an exception.
The word principle is used by eleinentary writers on patent subjects, and sometimes in adjudications of courts, with such a want of precision in its application, as to mislead. It is ad
mitted, that a principle is not patentable. A principle, in the abstract, is a fundamental truth; an original cause; à motive; these cannot be patented, as no one can claim in either of them an exclusive right. Nor can an exclusive right exist to a new power, should one be discovered in adition to those already known. Through the agency of machinery a new steam power may be said to have been generated. But no one can appropriate this power exclusively to himself, under the patent laws. The sane may be said of electricity, and of any other power in nature, which is alike open to all, and may be applied to useful purposes by the use of machinery.
In all such cases, the processos used to extract, modify, and concentrate natural agencies, constitute the invention. The elements of the power exist; the invention is not in discovering them, but in applying them to useful-objects. Whether the machinery used be novel, or consist of a new combination of parts known, the right of the inventor is secured against all who use the same mechanical power, or one that shall be substantially the same.
A patent is not good for an effect, or the result of a certain process, as that would prohibit all other persons from making the same thing by any means whatsoever. This, by creating monopolies, would discourage arts and manufactures, against the avowed policy of the patent laws.
A new property discovered in matter, when practically applied, in the construction of a useful article of commerce of manufacture, is patentable; but the process through which the new property is developed and applied, must be stated, with such precision as to enable an ordinary mechanic to construct and apply the necessary process. This is required by the patent laws of England and of the United States, in order that when the patent shall run out, the public may know how to profit by the invention. It is said, in the case of the Househill Company v. Neilson, Webster's Patent Cases, 683, “A patent will be good, thongh the subject of the patent consists in the discovery of a great, general, and most comprebensive principle in science or law of nature, if that principle is by the specification applied to any special purpose, so as thereby to clectuate a practical result and benclitot previously attained." In that case, Mr. Justice Clerk, in his charge to the jury, said, “the specification does not claim any thing as to the form, nature, shape, materials, numbers, or mailiematical character of the vessel or vessels in which the air is to be hea'cd, or as to the mode of heating such vessels,” &c. The patent was for “ the improved application of air to produce heat in fires, forges and furnaces, where bellows or other blowing apparatus are required."
Le Roy et al. v. Tatham et al.
In that case, although the machinery was not claimed as a part of the invention, the jury were instructed to inquire, To whether the specification was not such as to enable workmen of ordinary skill to make machinery or apparatus capable of producing the effect set forth in said letters-patent and specification.” And, that in order to ascertain whether the defendants had infringed the patent, the jury should inquire whether they, “ did by themselves or others, and in contravention of the privileges conferred by the said letters-patent, use machinery or apparatus substantially the same with the machinery or apparatus described in the plaintiffs' specification, and to the effect set forth in said letters-patent and specification." So it would seem that where a patent is obtained, without a claim to the invention of the machinery, through which a valuable result is produced, a precise specification is required; and the test of infringement is, whether the defendants have used substantially the same process to produce the same result.
In the case before us, the court instructed the jury that the invention did not consist " in the novelty of the machinery, but in bringing a newly discovered principle into practical application, by which a useful article of manufacture is produced, and wrought pipe made as distinguished from cast pipe.”
A patent for leaden pipes would not be good, as it would be for an effect, and would, consequently, prohibit all other persons from using the same article, however manufactured. Leaden pipes are the same, the metal being in no respect different. Any difference in form and strength must arise from the mode of manufacturing the pipes. The new property in the metal claimed to have been discovered by the patentees, belongs to the process of manufacture, and not to the thing made.
But we must look to the claim of the invention stated in their application by the patentees. They say, “ We do not claim as our invention and improvement any of the parts of the above described machinery, independently of their arrangement and combina' ve above set forth. " What we claim as our inven. tion, anu desire to secure by letters-patent, is, the combination of the following parts above described, to wit, the core and bridge or guide-piece, the chamber, and the die, when used to form pipes of metal, under heat and pressure, in the nanner set forth, or in any other manner substantially the same."
The patentees have founded their claim on this specification, and they can neither modify nor abandon it in whole cr in part. The combination of the machinery is claimed, through which the new property of lead was developed, as a part of the process in the structure of the pipes. But the jury were instructed, “ that the originality of the invention did not consist in the
Le Roy et al. v. Tatham et al.
novelty of the machinery, but in bringing a newly discovered principle into practical application.” The patentees claimed the combination of the machinery as their invention in part, and no such claim can be sustained without establishing its novelty — not as to the parts of which it is composed, but as to the combination. The question whether the newly developed property of lead, used in the formation of pipes, inight have been patented, if claimed as developed, without the invention of machinery, was not in the case.
In the case of Bean v. Smallwood, 2 Story, R. 408, Mr. Justice Story said, “ He (the patentee) says that the same apparatus, stated in this last claim, has been long in use, and applied, if not to chairs, at least in other machines, to purposes of a similar nature. If this be so, then the invention is not new, but at most is an old invention, or apparatus, or inachinery applied to a new purpose. Now I take it to be clear, that a machine, or apparatus, or other mechanical contrivance, in order to give the party a claim to a patent therefor, must in itself be substantially new. If it is old and well known, and applied only to a new purpose, that does not make it patentable.”
We think there was error in the above instruction, that the novelty of the combination of the machinery, specifically claimed by the patentees as their invention, was not a inaterial fact for the jury, and that on that ground, the judgment must be reversed. The other rulings of the court excepted to, we shall not examine, as they are substantially correct.
Mr. Justice Nelson, Mr. Justice Wayne, and Mr. Justice Grier dissented.
Mr. Justice NELSON—dissenting.
The patent in this case, according to the general description given by the patentees, is, for improvements upon, and additions to, the machinery or apparatus of Thomas Burr, for manufacturing pipes and tubes from metallic substances. They declare, that the nature of their invention, and the manner in which the same is to operate, are particularly described and set forth in their specification. In that, they refer to the patent of Burr of the 11th April, 1820, for making lead pipe out of set or solid lead by means of great pressure, the product being wronght pipe, as contradistinguished from cast, or pipe made according to the draw-bench system. The apparatus, as described by Burr, consisted of a strong ion cylieder, bored sufficiently true for a pis1on to traverse easily within it. This cylinder was closed at one end by the piston, and also closed at the other, except a small aperture for the die which formed the external diameter of the pipe. The core or mandril, which determined the inner
Le Roy et al. v. Tatham et al.
diameter, was a long cylindrical rod of steel, one end of which was attached to the face of the piston, extending through the centre of the cylinder, and passing also through the centre of the die at the opposite end, leaving a space around the core and between it and the die for the formation of the pipe. The metal to form the pipe was admitted into the cylinder in a fluid state, and when it become set or solid, the power of a hydraulic press was applied to the head of the piston, which, moving against the body of solid lead in the cylinder, drove it through the die, the long core advancing with the piston and with the body of lead through the die, and thus forming the pipe. The cylinder usually holds from three to four hundred pounds of lead, and continuous pipe is made till the whole charge is driven out.
This plan, though one of deserved merit, and of great originality, failed, when reduced to practice, except for the purpose of making very large pipe, larger than that usually in demand, and consequently passed out of general use. The long core attached to the face of the piston, advancing with it in the solid lead under the great pressure required, was liable to warp and twist out of a straight line, and out of centre in the die, which had the effect to destroy the uniformity of the thickness and centrality of the bore of the pipe.
The old mode, therefore, of making pipe by the draw-bench system, continued down to 1837, when the patentees in this case discovered, by experiment, that lead, when recently set and solid, but still under heat and extreme pressure, in a close vessel, would reunite after a separation of its parts, and “heal" (in the language of the patentees) “as it were by the first intention," as completely as though it had not been divided.
Upon the discovery of this property of lead, which had never before been known, but, on the contrary, had been supposed and believed, by all men of science skilled in metals, to be impossible, the patentees made an alteration in the apparatus of Burr, founded upon this new property discovered in the metal, and succeeded completely in making wrought pipe out of solid lead by means of the hydraulic pressure. The product was so much superior in quality to that made according to the old mode, that it immediately wholly superseded it in the market. The pipe was also made much cheaper.
The patentees, by their discovery, were enabled to dispense with the long core of Burr, and to fix firmly a bridge or cross bars at the end of the cylinder near the die, to which bridge they fastened a short core extending into and through the die. By this arrangement they obtained a firm, immovable core, that always preserved its centrality with the die, and secured the manufacture of pipe of uniformity of thickness of wall and