Glue Company v. Upton - 97 U.S. 3 (1877)
U.S. Supreme Court
Glue Company v. Upton, 97 U.S. 3 (1877)
Glue Company v. Upton
97 U.S. 3
1. The mere change in form of a soluble article of commerce, by reducing it to small particles so that its solution is accelerated and it is rendered more ready for immediate use, convenient for handling, and, by its improved appearance, more merchantable, does not make it a new article within the sense of the patent law.
2. To render an article new within that law, it must be more or less efficacious, or possess new properties by a combination with other ingredients.
3. Reissued letters patent No. 4072, granted July 12, 1870, to Thomas P. Milligan and Thomas Higgins, assignees of Emerson Goddard, for an improvement in the manufacture of glue, the alleged improvement consisting "of glue comminuted to small particles of practically uniform size, as distinguished from the glue in angular flakes hitherto known," are void for want of novelty.
This is a suit in equity by the Milligan and Higgins Glue Company against George Upton, for the alleged infringement of reissued letters patent No. 4072 for an improvement in the manufacture of glue, granted July 12, 1870, to Thomas P. Milligan and Thomas Higgins, assignees of Emerson Goddard, upon the surrender and cancellation of original letters patent No. 44,528, issued to the latter Oct. 4, 1864. The complainant is the assignee of Milligan and Higgins. The bill prays for an injunction and for an account of the defendant's gains and profits arising from the manufacture and sale of the patented article. Upon hearing, the court below dismissed the bill, whereupon the complainant appealed here. The facts relating to the alleged invention are stated in the opinion of the Court.