California Artificial Stone Paving Co. v. Molitor - 113 U.S. 609 (1885)
U.S. Supreme Court
California Artificial Stone Paving Co. v. Molitor, 113 U.S. 609 (1885)
California Artificial Stone Paving Company v. Molitor
Submitted November 25, 1884
Decided March 2, 1885
113 U.S. 609
A certificate of division of opinion under § 652 Rev.Stat. can be resorted to only when "a question" has occurred on which the judges have differed, and where "the point" of disagreement may be distinctly stated.
It cannot be resorted to for the purpose of presenting questions of fact, or mixed questions of fact and law, or a difference of opinion on the general case.
When there is reasonable ground to doubt as to the wrongfulness of the conduct of a defendant in a suit in equity to prevent the infringement of a patent, the process of contempt should not be resorted to to enforce the plaintiff's rights.
Plaintiff obtained a decree in equity against defendant as an infringer of plaintiff's rights under a patent for an improvement in pavements. Defendant continued to lay pavements. Plaintiff proceeded against him for contempt, alleging that he was still using plaintiff's process. Defendant denied the allegation and answered that he was using a process different from that which had been adjudged to be an infringement. On this question there was a division of opinion in the court below. Held that the process of contempt is not an appropriate remedy.
This was a suit to enjoin against the use of a patented invention and for an order to show cause why defendant should not be punished for contempt. The facts which make the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.