Brill v. Peckham Motor Truck Co.
189 U.S. 57 (1903)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Brill v. Peckham Motor Truck Co., 189 U.S. 57 (1903)

Brill v. Peckham Motor Truck and Wheel Company

No. 181

Argued March 2-3, 1903

Decided April 6, 1903

189 U.S. 57

Syllabus

Where, in a patent case, a preliminary injunction has been granted by a circuit court on the strength of a previous adjudication by the same court over the same patent, the case involving questions of fact in respect of anticipation and infringement, and not being ripe for final hearing, it is error for the circuit court of appeals, on an appeal from the interlocutory order, to direct a dismissal of the bill. Mast Foos Company v. Stover Manufacturing Company,177 U. S. 485, applied.

This was a bill in equity filed in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York by John A. Brill and the J. G. Brill Company against the Peckham Motor Truck & Wheel Company and others, praying for injunction and accounting for infringement of letters patent No. 478,218, for an improvement in car trucks, issued July 5, 1892.

The J. G. Brill Company was a manufacturer of street cars and trucks at Philadelphia, and the Peckham Motor Truck & Wheel Company was a manufacturer of trucks at Kingston, New York.

The bill was filed October 15, 1900, and a motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of complainants on claims 1 and 2 of the patent in suit was heard by Judge Lacombe on October 26, 1900, on affidavits previously served by complainants, including the record of an adjudication in the circuit court in the case of Brill v. Third Avenue Railroad Company, in which the opinion of Judge Shipman was filed July 9, 1900. 103 F. 289.

Defendants filed affidavits at the hearing, which had been sworn to October 25 and 26, and which complainants had apparently had no opportunity to inspect before the argument. These affidavits set up two patents (Manier, of August 27, 1889,

Page 189 U. S. 58

No. 409,993, and Peckham, of January 21, 1890, No. 419,876), which had also been before Judge Shipman in the prior case, and defendants contended, in view of these two patents, that the two claims in controversy must be limited in their scope, and that there had been no infringement of the claims as thus limited. Judge Lacombe held that, as there was no prior patent before him which had not been before Judge Shipman, and as the combination which Judge Shipman described as the gist of the invention was undoubtedly in defendants' structures, complainants were entitled to a restraining order under "well settled rules of practice." 105 F. 626. The preliminary injunction was therefore granted. From this interlocutory order, defendants took an appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and on a hearing there, the order granting the preliminary injunction was reversed, and the cause remanded to the circuit court with instructions to dismiss the bill with costs. 108 F. 267. A petition was filed for a rehearing, and denied. 49 C.C.A. 87, 110 F. 377. This writ of certiorari was then granted. 183 U.S. 698.

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