Brown v. Piper
91 U.S. 37 (1875)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. Piper, 91 U.S. 37 (1875)

Brown v. Piper

91 U.S. 37

Syllabus

1. The application by the patentee of an old process to a new subject, without any exercise of the inventive faculty and without the development of any idea which can be deemed new or original in the sense of the patent laws, is not the subject of a patent.

2. Evidence of what is old and in general use at the time of an alleged invention is admissible in actions at law under the general issue and in equity cases without any averment in the answer touching the same.

3. The court can take judicial notice of a thing in the common knowledge and use of the people throughout the country.

Piper filed a bill to enjoin Brown and Seavey from infringing two patents, one of which, not being insisted on at the hearing, need not be considered. The other -- No. 732, dated March 19, 1861 -- makes claim as follows:

"Preserving fish and other articles in a close chamber by means of a freezing mixture, having no contact with the atmosphere of the preserving chamber."

The defendants by their answer, among other objections not necessary to be mentioned, denied the novelty of the alleged invention.

The court below rendered a decree sustaining the validity of the patent and perpetually enjoined the defendants from using or employing the invention therein described. They bring this appeal.

Page 91 U. S. 38

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