The reasons for refusing at October Term 1898, to dismiss this
case on the ground that the appeal to this Court was not taken in
time are the same as those set forth in Allen v. Southern
Pacific Railroad, 173 U. S. 479
Page 176 U. S. 69
The complaint of the Manufacturing Company that the assessment
upon it of the taxes complained of was illegal, because in effect
levied on patents or patent rights, did not involve the
construction, or the validity, or the infringement of the patents
referred to, or any other question under the patent laws, and was
not therefore a suit arising under the patent laws, and the Circuit
Court had no jurisdiction of it on that ground.
The provisions in Rev.Stat. § 629, clauses 9 and 16, § 563, and
§ 1979, brought forward from the Act of April 20, 1871, c. 22,
refer to civil rights only, and are inapplicable here.
Following United States v. Sayward, 160 U.
, and Fishback v. Western Union Tel. Co.,
161 U. S. 96
Court holds that the sum of $2,000 named in § 1 of the Act of March
3, 1887, c. 373, as corrected by the Act of August 13, 1888, c.
866, was jurisdictional, and following The Paquete Habana,
175 U. S. 677
holds that this is not affected by the fact that the operation of
the Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, was to do away with any pecuniary
limitation on appeals directly from the circuit court to this
This suit was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States
for the District of Indiana by the Indiana Manufacturing Company, a
corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of
Indiana, against Sterling R. Holt and others, taxing officers of
Marion County, Indiana, and of a township in said county, and some
others, constituting the board of review of that county, all of
whom were citizens of Indiana, to enjoin the collection of certain
personal taxes for the years 1892, 1893, 1894, and 1895, assessed
upon the capital stock and tangible property of the company. The
bill alleged that the larger part of the assessment made by the
taxing authorities was for the supposed value of certain rights
under letters patent from the United States owned by the company,
and which the company insisted were not subject to taxation by the
state authorities; that the capital stock, aside from the tangible
property, represented solely the supposed value of the letters
patent, and that the taxes in respect of the tangible property had
been paid by the company. Complainant charged that the assessment
was illegal, unconstitutional, and void, and averred that the suit
"to redress the deprivation, under color of a law of the State
of Indiana, of a right secured by the laws of the United States,
and, further, that it is a suit arising under the patent laws of
the United States. "
Page 176 U. S. 70
The circuit court entered a decree, in accordance with the
prayer of the bill, perpetually enjoining the collection of the
taxes claimed to be due in respect of the capital stock insofar as
the value thereof was derived from patent rights or letters patent
owned by complainant. An appeal was taken to the Circuit Court of
Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and dismissed by that court for
want of jurisdiction. 80 F. 1.
The circuit court of appeals held that the suit was not one
arising under the patent laws of the United States, and that, as
the jurisdiction of the circuit court could rest only on the ground
that the constitutional rights of complainant were infringed by the
laws of the State of Indiana which were repugnant to and in
contravention of the Constitution of the United States, an appeal
would not lie to that court, and could only be taken directly to
this Court under section five of the Judiciary Act of March 3,
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER delivered the opinion of the Court.
The decree of the circuit court was entered in March, 1896, and
the appeal to this Court was not taken until somewhat over one year
and six months, though within two years, thereafter. In January,
1898, a motion to dismiss was made on the ground that section 1008
of the Revised Statutes, giving two years for the bringing of a
writ of error or the taking of an appeal to review the judgments or
decrees of the circuit or district courts, was repealed by the
Judiciary Act of March 3, 1891. We did not concur in that view, and
the motion was denied, though without an opinion. But in Allen
v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 443
U. S. 479
Page 176 U. S. 71
reasons will be found for our conclusion that the limit of two
years remained unchanged.
In this as in all cases, if it appears that the circuit court
had no jurisdiction, it is the duty of this Court to so declare and
enter judgment accordingly.
Complainant rested the jurisdiction on clauses 9 and 16 of
section 629 of the Revised Statutes.
(1) Section 629 provides that
"the circuit courts shall have original jurisdiction as follows:
. . . Ninth. Of all suits at law or in equity arising under the
patent or copyright laws of the United States."
The complaint that the assessment of these taxes was illegal
because in effect levied on patents or patent rights did not
involve the construction, or the validity, or the infringement of
the patents referred to, or any other question under the patent
laws. This was not, therefore, a suit "arising under the patent
laws," and the circuit court had no jurisdiction on that ground.
Dale Tile Manufacturing Company v. Hyatt, 125 U. S.
; Wood Mowing Machine Company v. Skinner,
139 U. S. 293
Wade v.Lawder, 165 U. S. 624
(2) The sixteenth clause of section 629 reads thus:
"Of all suits authorized by law to be brought by any person to
redress the deprivation, under color of any law, statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any state, of any right,
privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution of the United
States, or of any right secured by any law providing for equal
rights of citizens of the United States, or of all persons within
the jurisdiction of the United States."
Similar jurisdiction is conferred upon district courts by the
twelfth clause of § 563 of the Revised Statutes.
Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes provides:
"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage of any state or territory, subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or
other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law,
suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. "
Page 176 U. S. 72
All these provisions were brought forward from the Act of April
20, 1871, entitled "An Act To Enforce the Provisions of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and
for Other Purposes." 17 Stat. 13, c. 22.
Assuming that they are still in force, it is sufficient to say
that they refer to civil rights only, and are inapplicable
If state legislation impairs the obligations of a contract, or
deprives of property without due process of law, or denies the
equal protection of the laws, as asserted by counsel in respect of
the statutes of Indiana, remedies are found in the first section of
the Act of August 13, 1888, 25 Stat. 433, c. 866, giving to the
circuit courts jurisdiction of all cases arising under the
Constitution and laws of the United States, and in § 709 of the
Revised Statutes, which gives a review on writ of error to the
judgments of the state courts whenever they sustain the validity of
a state statute or of an authority exercised under a state, alleged
to be repugnant to the Constitution or laws of the United States.
Carter v. Greenhow, 114 U. S. 317
Pleasants v. Greenhow, 114 U. S. 323
(3) Treating this bill as setting up a case arising under the
Constitution or laws of the United States on the ground that the
laws of Indiana authorized the taxation in question, and were
therefore void because patent rights granted by the United States
could not be subjected to state taxation, or because the obligation
of the contract existing between the inventor and the general
public would be thereby impaired, or for any other reason, the
difficulty is that the pecuniary limitation of over two thousand
dollars applied, and the taxes in question did not reach that
amount. And the effect on future taxation of a decision that the
particular taxation is invalid cannot be availed of to add to the
sum or value of the matter in dispute. New England Mortgage
Company v. Gay, 145 U. S. 123
Clay Center v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Company,
145 U. S. 224
Citizens' Bank v. Cannon, 164 U.
The language of the first section of the Act of March 3, 1887,
as corrected by the Act of August 13, 1888, is:
"That the circuit courts of the United States shall have
original cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the several
Page 176 U. S. 73
of all suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity where
the matter in dispute exceeds, exclusive of interest and costs, the
sum or value of two thousand dollars and arising under the
Constitution or laws of the United States, or treaties made or
which shall be made, under their authority."
25 Stat. 433, 434, c. 866. This was carefully considered in
United States v. Sayward, 160 U.
, and it was held that the sum or value named was
jurisdictional, and that the circuit court could not, under the
statute, take original cognizance of a case arising under the
Constitution or laws of the United States unless the sum or value
of the matter in dispute, exclusive of costs and interest, exceeded
two thousand dollars. That decision was reaffirmed in Fishback
v. Western Union Telegraph Company, 161 U. S.
, 161 U. S. 99
And the conclusion reached is not affected by the fact that the
operation of the Act of March 3, 1891, was to do away with any
pecuniary limitation on appeals directly from the circuit courts to
this Court. The Paquete Habana, 175 U.
We are therefore constrained to hold that the circuit court had
Decree reversed, with costs, and cause remanded to the
Circuit Court with a direction to dismiss the bill.