Busell Trimmer Co. v. Stevens
137 U.S. 423 (1890)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Busell Trimmer Co. v. Stevens, 137 U.S. 423 (1890)

Busell Trimmer Company v. Stevens

No. 71

Argued November 12-13, 1890

Decided December 15, 1890

137 U.S. 423

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED

STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS

Syllabus

Letters patent No. 238,303, granted to William Orcutt, March 1, 1881, for improvements in rotary cutters for trimming the edges of boot and shoe soles, although the patented claim shows great industry on the part of the patentee in acquiring a thorough knowledge of what others had done in the attempt to trim shoe soles in a rapid and improved mode by the various devices perfected by patents for that purpose, good judgment in selecting and combining the best of them, with no little mechanical skill in their application, are nevertheless invalid for want of patentable invention, as the claim presents no discoverable trace of the exercise of original thought, and is only an improvement in degree upon previous cutters, and therefore not patentable.

There is no substantial difference between the improved cutter for cutting the teeth of gear wheels, etc., patented to Joseph R. Brown by letters patent

Page 137 U. S. 424

No. 45,294, dated November 29, 1864, and the patent in controversy in this suit except in the configuration of their molded surfaces, and this is not a patentable difference, even though the Brown cutter was used in the metal art and the Orcutt cutter in the leather art.

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