Huber v. Nelson Manufacturing Co.
148 U.S. 270 (1893)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Huber v. Nelson Manufacturing Co., 148 U.S. 270 (1893)

Huber v. Nelson Manufacturing Company

No. 143

Argued March 16-17, 1893

Decided March 27, 1893

148 U.S. 270




Letters patent No. 260,232, granted June 27, 1882, to Henry Huber, as assignee of Stewart Peters and William Donald, of Glasgow, Scotland, for an "improvement in water closets," the patent expressing on its face that it was "subject to the limitation prescribed by § 4887, Rev.Stat., by reason of English patent dated April 7, 1874, No. 1207," are void because the English patent had expired April 7, 1881.

Reissued letters patent No. 10,86, granted to James E. Boyle, April 19, 1887, for an improvement in flushing apparatus for water closets, on the reissue of original patent No. 291,139, granted to Boyle January 1, 1884, the application for the reissue having been filed January 2, 1885, are void, as to claims 1 and 2 of the reissue.

Page 148 U. S. 271

Every claim of the original patent contained as an element a flushing chamber, and no claim of the reissue which leaves out a flushing chamber can be construed as valid.

There is new matter in the reissue specification inserted to lay a foundation for the expanded claims in the reissue.

There is nothing in the original patent which suggests the possibility that Boyle's invention could be operated by a combination which omitted the flushing chamber as an element thereof.

In equity to prevent the infringement of letters patent and for damages for such infringement. Decree dismissing the bill, from which the plaintiffs appealed. The case is stated in the opinion.

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a bill in equity filed October 3, 1887, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern Division of the Eastern District of Missouri by Henry Huber and James E. Boyle, as plaintiffs, against the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company, a Missouri corporation, for the alleged infringement of two patents.

The first patent sued upon was granted June 27, 1882, No. 260,232, for an "improvement in water closets," to Henry Huber, one of the plaintiffs, as assignee of Stewart Peters and William Donald, of Glasgow, Scotland. That patent sets forth that Peters and Donald had presented a petition for the grant of a patent for such improvement, and had assigned their right, title, and interest in it to Huber, and that a description of the invention was contained in the specification annexed to the patent, and the patent granted to Huber, his heirs or assigns, for seventeen years from June 27, 1882, the exclusive right to make, use, and vend the invention throughout

Page 148 U. S. 272

the United States and the territories thereof, "subject to the limitation prescribed by sec. 4887, Rev.Stat., by reason of English patent, dated April 7, 1874, No. 1207."

The answer of the defendant avers that although the British patent, No. 1207, was granted to Peters and Donald on April 7, 1874, for fourteen years from that date, it was subject to the provisions and conditions of § 2 of chapter 5 of the Act of 16 Victoria approved February 21, 1853, and to the condition thereunder that if Peters and Donald, their executors, administrators, or assigns, did not pay a stamp duty of

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