Cochrane v. Badische Anilin & Soda Fabrik
111 U.S. 293 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cochrane v. Badische Anilin & Soda Fabrik, 111 U.S. 293 (1884)

Cochrane v. Badische Anilin and Soda Fabrik

Argued March 26-27, 1884

Decided April 14, 1884

111 U.S. 293




If the claim of reissued letters patent No. 4321, Division B, granted to Charles Graebe and Charles Liebermann April 4, 1871, for an "improvement in dyes or coloring matter from anthracine" (the original patent, No. 95,465, having been granted to them October 5, 1869), namely:

"Artificial alizarine, produced from anthracine or its derivatives by either of the methods herein described, or by any other method which will produce a like result,"

is construed so broadly as to cover a dyestuff, imported from Europe, made by a process not shown to be the same as that described in No. 4321 and containing large proportions of coloring matters not shown to be found to any practically useful extent in the alizarine of the process of No. 4321, such as isopurpurine or anthrapurpurine, it is wider in its scope than the original actual invention of the patentees, and wider than anything indicated in the specification of the original patent. If the claim is to be construed so as to cover only the product which the process described in it will produce, it does not cover a different product which cannot be practically produced by that process.

This was a suit in equity for the alleged infringement of a patent for improvement in dyes from anthracine. The nature of the invention, the extent of the claims, and the facts which went to show the infringement or to affect the validity of the patent are fully brought out in the opinion of the Court from the large mass of testimony in the record. Judgment below sustaining the validity of the patent, from which the alleged infringers appealed.

Page 111 U. S. 294

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit in equity, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, by Badische Anilin and Soda Fabrik, a corporation organized under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Baden, in the Empire of Germany, against the appellants, for the infringement of reissued letters patent No. 4,321, granted to Charles Graebe, of Frankfort on the Main, and Charles Liebermann, of Berlin, Prussia, April 4, 1871, for an "improvement in dyes or coloring matter from anthracine." The original patent, No. 95,465, was granted to the same persons October 5, 1869, for an "improved process of preparing alizarine." It was reissued on two separate amended specifications, Division A and Division B. No. 4,321 is Division B.

The following is the text of the specifications of No. 4,321 and No. 95,465. Reading in it what is outside of brackets, and what is inside of brackets, omitting what is in italics, gives the specification of No. 4,321. Reading what is outside of brackets, including what is in italics, omitting what is inside of brackets, gives the specification of the original patent:

"Be it known that we, Charles Graebe, of Frankfort on the Main, and Charles Liebermann, of Berlin, in the Kingdom of Prussia, have invented a [new and useful improvement in the manufacture of alizarine;] process for preparing alizarine from anthracine, and we do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description thereof, which will enable those skilled in the art to make and use the same. We first change the anthracine into anthrakinon (oxanthracine), a substance known to [the] chemists by the investigations of Anderson. For this purpose we take one part, by weight, of anthracine, two and a half parts, by weight, of bichromate of [potash,] potassa, and ten or fifteen parts, by weight, of concentrated acetic acid, and we heat these substances together in a vessel, either of glass or day, to about 100

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