Dobson v. Dornan
118 U.S. 10 (1886)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Dobson v. Dornan, 118 U.S. 10 (1886)

Dobson v. Dornan

Argued March 31, 1886

Decided April 19, 1886

118 U.S. 10

Syllabus

The specification of letters patent for a design for a carpet, which is accompanied by a photographic illustration, and merely states that the nature of the design is fully represented in such illustration, and claims "the configuration of the design hereunto annexed, when applied to carpeting," sets forth a sufficient description and claim, and the patent is valid.

Page 118 U. S. 11

An interlocutory decree which awards a recovery for profits and damages for the infringement of a patent for a design for a carpet, and orders an account of the profits from infringing by the manufacture, use, and sale of carpeting bearing the design and of the damages by reason of the infringement, is not open to the objection that it awards the profits and damages resulting from the making and selling of the carpeting, instead of those resulting from the use of the design.

On the question of the infringement of a patent for a design for carpeting, in a suit in equity where exhibits of carpets containing the patented and the infringing designs were produced in the circuit court, and it decided the question of infringement against the defendant by the aid of ocular inspection of those exhibits, and, on an appeal by him, those exhibits were not produced in this Court, and there was, in the record, testimony tending to show infringement, this Court held that although there was contradictory testimony, it could not, in the absence of ocular inspection, say that the circuit court erred in finding infringement.

The decision in Dobson v. Hartford Carpet Co.,114 U. S. 439, as to the rule of damages in a suit in equity for the infringement of a patent for a design for a carpet, confirmed.

The plaintiff mast show what profits or damages are attributable to the use of the infringing design.

The defendant made no profits on the manufacture and sale of carpets containing the infringing design. The plaintiff made a certain percentage of profit on the manufacture and sale of carpets containing the patented design. The defendant's carpets were far inferior in quality and market value to those of the plaintiff. The circuit court presumed that the defendant's carpets displaced those of the plaintiff, to the extent of the defendant's sales, and held that the entire profit which the plaintiff would have received at such percentage, from the sale of an equal quantity of his own carpets of the same pattern, was the proper measure of his damages. There was no satisfactory evidence that those who bought the defendant's cheap carpets would have bought the plaintiff's higher priced ones, or that the design added anything to the defendant's price or promoted his sale of the particular carpet, and none to show what part of the defendant's price was to be attributed to the design; held that the circuit court was in error. The decree was reversed, and the case remanded with direction to disallow the award of damages and to award six cents damages and to allow to the defendant a recovery of his costs after interlocutory decree, and to the plaintiff a recovery of his costs to and including interlocutory decree.

Bill in equity to restrain the infringement of a patent for a

carpet design. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 118 U. S. 12

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