York & Maryland Line Railroad Company v. Winans - 58 U.S. 30 (1854)
U.S. Supreme Court
York & Maryland Line Railroad Company v. Winans, 58 U.S. 17 How. 30 30 (1854)
York & Maryland Line Railroad Company v. Winans
58 U.S. (17 How.) 30
A railroad company organized under a charter from Pennsylvania is responsible for the infraction of a patent right respecting cars, although the entire capital stock of the company was held by a connecting railroad company in Maryland, which latter company also worked the road by the instrumentality of its agents, and motive power, and cars.
The obligations to the community which the Pennsylvania company is placed under by its charter cannot be evaded by any transfer of its rights and powers to another company, and in this case, the Pennsylvania company contributes to the expense of working the road, and of paying the officers and agents who are employed.
Courts will not allow corporations to escape from their proper responsibility, by means of any disguise.
Where the patent was signed by an acting commissioner of patents, it was not necessary to aver or prove that he was legally entitled to act in that capacity. The court will judicially take notice of the persons who preside over the patent office, whether they do so permanently or transiently.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.