Hendrie v. Sayles,
98 U.S. 546 (1878)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hendrie v. Sayles, 98 U.S. 546 (1878)

Hendrie v. Sayles

98 U.S. 546


Where, before the issue of letters patent therefor, a party assigns his invention, and letters are lawfully issued to the assignee in his own name, the latter is entitled, where the instrument of assignment does not show a different intention, to obtain a renewal of them at the expiration of the original term.

Lafayette F. Thompson and Asahel G. Bachelder, claiming to be inventors of a railroad brake, executed, before letters patent were issued to them therefore, the following assignment, which was duly recorded in the Patent Office:

"Whereas we, Lafayette F. Thompson, of Charlestown, and Asahel G. Bachelder, now or late of Lowell, in the State of Massachusetts, have invented an improved mode of operating the brakes of railway cars, and have applied, or intend to apply, for letters patent of the United States of America therefor."

"Now, therefore, this indenture witnesseth, that for and in consideration of $100, in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, I have assigned and set over, and do hereby assign, sell, and set over, to Henry Tanner, of Buffalo, in the State of New York, all the right, title, and interest whatever which we now have, or by letters patent would be entitled to have and possess, in the aforesaid invention, the said invention being described in the specification as prepared and executed by us, or to be prepared and executed by us, for the obtaining of said letters patent; the whole to be enjoyed and held by the said Henry Tanner and his legal representatives, to the full extent and manner in which the same should have been or could be held and enjoyed by us had this assignment never been made."

"And we do, by these presents, authorize the Commissioner of Patents to issue the said letters patent to the said Henry Tanner

Page 98 U. S. 547

and his legal representatives, as the assignee of our whole right and title to the same and to the new invention aforesaid."

"In witness whereof, we have hereto set our signatures and seals, this first day of April, A.D. 1852."



"Witness, R. H. EDDY"

Letters patent were issued on the sixth day of the following July to Tanner, who, July 13, 1854, assigned to Thomas Sayles all his remaining right and title in them for the unexpired term thereof, and "any extension thereof that may hereafter be granted," excepting, however, certain reserved territory and specified railroad corporations. Said letters were renewed and extended for seven years from July 6, 1866.

After that date, and until some time in 1873, Hendrie infringed the patents within the territory not so reserved, and Sayles filed his bill for an account &c., to which Hendrie demurred, upon the ground that Sayles had no legal title to the extended term. The demurrer was overruled, and a decree for want of an answer passed for the complainant. Hendrie thereupon appealed here.

Page 98 U. S. 548

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