Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. Kearney - 158 U.S. 461 (1895)
U.S. Supreme Court
Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. Kearney, 158 U.S. 461 (1895)
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company v. Kearney
Argued April 26, 29, 1895
Decided May 27, 1895
158 U.S. 461
Reissued letters patent No. 5184, granted to Francis Kearney and Luke F. Tronson December 10, 1872, for an improvement in spark-arresters, are void for want of patentable novelty.
This was a suit in equity brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of New Jersey by Francis Kearney and Mary F. Tronson, executrix of Luke F. Tronson, deceased, against the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, for the alleged infringement of reissue letters patent of the United States No. 5, 184, granted to Francis Kearney and Luke F. Tronson, December 10, 1872, for an improvement in spark arresters, the original patent having been granted April 20, 1871, No. 113,528. Mary F. Tronson having died since the appeal was taken, Elwood C. Harris was substituted as administrator, etc.
The railroad company relied on these defenses: 1. That the reissue was illegal and void, because the original patent was not inoperative by reason of a defective or insufficient specification, or any error arising from inadvertence, accident, or mistake; that the scope of the patent had been enlarged so as to cover another and different invention from the original, and that new matter had been introduced into the specification; 2. that the alleged invention covered by the reissue patent was not patentable, since the change from prior forms of spark arresters was not productive of any improved or materially different result; 3. that the reissue patent was void for want of substantial novelty in the subject matter thereof in view of the prior state of the art, as shown in certain enumerated patents; 4. noninfringement.
The case was heard on bill, answer, and proofs, and resulted in a decree for injunction, and referring the case to a master to take an account of the gains and profits accruing to the company by reason of infringement, and of the damages suffered of by complainants thereby. The master subsequently reported, and a final decree was rendered against the defendant for the sum of $6,235.52, whereupon the case was brought to this Court on appeal. The opinion of the circuit court will be found reported, 32 F. 320.