Sivut kuvina

Opinion of the Court.

evidence, not only of the fact and the amount of the indebtedness, but also of the time when and the manner in which it arose; and that an objection to the statement does not lie to its competency, but to its effect. United States v. Stone, 106 U. S. 525.

It would be manifestly unjust to compel the principal and sureties of a bond to pay an alleged indebtedness based upon a statement of account, when there are palpable errors upon the face of the statement; or when the defendants are prepared to show by affirmative evidence that there are in fact errors in the accounts. As already stated, the bill of exceptions contains nothing to show the character of the evidence introduced, by way of explanation or contradiction of the certified transcript of accounts presented by the government. The single question raised and presented by plaintiffs in error was whether the order of the Postmaster General, in connection with the certified statement of account, was final and conclusive on the defendants in error. We hold that it was merely evidence which, unexplained or uncontradicted, would have warranted a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in error for the balance shown thereby to be due. But this evidence did not conclude the defendants, and, for aught that appears from the

, record, they may have explained or contradicted the statement, or shown it to be incorrect; and as it does not appear what the evidence was on this subject, we are unable to say that the judgment was wrong, there being no error in the charge of the court.

Nor is there anything said or decided in United States v. Barlow, 132 U. S. 271, 280, cited and relied on by plaintiff in error in conflict with this conclusion. In that case Mr. Justice Field, speaking for the court, said: “We admit that where matters appertaining to the postal service are left to the discretion and judgment of the Postmaster General, the exercise of that judgment and discretion cannot in general be interfered with, and the results following defeated. But the very rule supposes that information upon the matters upon which the judgment and discretion are invoked is presented to the officer for consideration, or knowledge respecting them is possessed


by him. He is not at liberty, any more than a private agent, to act upon mere guesses and surmises, without information or knowledge on the subject.” This ruling of the court falls far short of holding that the transcript of accounts is conclusive upon the officer.

Our conclusion is that the order of the Postmaster General and the certified accounts produced by the government in the present case were only prima facie evidence of the balance claimed against the defendants in error, and that there was no error in the court below in so holding; and the judgment is accordingly


UNITED STATES v. DUMAS. No. 231. Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Submitted April 20, 1893. Decided May 1, 1893. MR. JUSTICE JACKSON : This case, in all essential respects, is similar to that of United States v. Dumas, No. 230, just decided, the only difference being that this suit is based upon a bond for a different period, and against a different set of sureties, but it involves the same questions and on the same state of facts as presented in the former case. For the reasons given in the opinion in the former case the judgment below in this case is





No. 225. Argued April 20, 21, 1893. – Decided May 10, 1893.

The second claim in reissued letters patent No. 5785, granted March 10, 1874,

to Edward W. Leggett for an improvement in lining oil barrels with glue, viz. : “ for a barrel, cask, etc., coated or sized by the material and by the mode or process whereby it is absorbed into and strengthened the wood fibre, substantially as herein described ” is void as it is an expansion of the claim in the original patent so as to embrace a claim not specified therein.

Opinion of the Court.


The first claim therein, viz. : “the within described process of coating or

lining the inside of barrels, casks, etc., with glue, wherein the glutinous material, instead of being produced by reduction from a previously solid state, is permitted to attain only a certain liquid consistency and is then applied to the package and permitted to harden thereon for the first time, substantially as herein set forth and described,” is void: (1) because it was a mere commercial suggestion, and not such a discovery as involved the exercise of the inventive faculties; and, (2), by reason of

such prior use as to prevent the issue of any valid patent covering it. The invalidity of a new claim in a reissued patent does not affect the validity

of a claim in the original patent, repeated in the reissue. The poverty or pecuniary embarrassment of a patentee is not sufficient ex

cuse for postponing the assertion of his rights, or preventing the application of the doctrine of laches.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Edmund Wetmore, (with whom was Mr. Samuel C. Reed on the brief,) for appellant.

Mr. Charles C. Beaman, (with whom was Mr. Joseph H. Choate on the brief,) for appellee.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a suit in equity brought April 8, 1887, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York by Edward W. Leggett, a citizen of New York, against the Standard Oil Company, an Ohio corporation, for the alleged infringement of reissued letters patent No. 5785, granted to the complainant March 10, 1874, for an “improvement in lining oil barrels with glue.”

The original patent No. 143,770 was issued October 21, 1873. The specification and claim of this original patent are as follows:

“Be it known that I, Edward Wright Leggett, of the city, county, and State of New York, have invented an improved process of coating or lining the inside of barrels, casks, etc., for the purpose of rendering the same impervious to water, oil, or any contained substance, of which the following is a specification:

Opinion of the Court.

“This inyention relates to that class of processes employed for the coating or lining of the insides of barrels for the abovementioned purpose, and consists in preparing from any suitable glutinous substance glue, said glue being permitted to attain but a certain consistency and then applied directly as a coating or lining

“In carrying out my invention I proceed as follows: Take any of the materials from which glue may be made and proceed in the usual or any suitable manner for the manufacture of glue until the soup has attained a certain consistency.

“This consistency must be considerably less than that which is required wherein semi-fluid, solid, or cake glue is to be produced, and while it is in this half-finished state, so to speak, it is applied directly to the inside of the barrel, or cask, where, after due evaporation, it will be found that said cask or barrel is lined thoroughly and completely with glue, inasmuch as a pressure of steam generated by the heat applied is sufficient to force the thin glutinous fluid well into the pores and recesses of the wood, thus insuring a perfect lining.

"I am aware that barrels, etc., have been lined or coated with glue when said glue has been subjected to a process of reduction by dilution from its original consistency to a sufficiently liquid state, but I am not aware of any process wherein the glutinous material has been permitted to attain only its proper consistency and then applied directly, thus saving the time, labor, and expense heretofore employed by continuing the manufacture of the glutinous soup until it has attained a semi-fluid or gelatinous consistency, thus necessitating a reduction by dilution and reheating before it is fit for application, as set forth in this specification, travelling over, as it were, the same ground, backward and forward, two or three times, whereas by my process this trouble is entirely dispensed with by operating as within described.

“This invention has nothing to do with the glue-lined barrel as an article of manufacture, but relates particularly to a new and inexpensive process of constructing a glue-lined barrel, cask, etc. “Heretofore the glue has been taken in its complete state


Opinion of the Court.

as an article of manufacture, bas been reheated, diluted, and then applied, but such a process necessarily carries with it all the expense of preparing the glue at first as an article of trade or commerce.

"My process contemplates taking the glue when at a proper consistency and applying it to the inside of the package, permitting it to harden for the first time upon that surface.

“I claim as my invention:

“ The within-described process of coating or lining the inside of barrels, casks, etc., with glue, wherein the glutinous material, instead of being produced by reduction from a previously solid state, is permitted to attain only a certain liquid consistency and is then applied to the package and permitted to harden thereon for the first time, substantially as herein set forth and described."

An application for the reissue of this patent was filed February 2, 1874, and contained substantially the same specification. It repeated the claim of the original patent, and in addition thereto made a second claim for “a barrel, cask, etc., coated or sized by the material and by the mode or process substantially as herein described.” On February 6, 1874, the examiner rejected the second claim thus made for the reason “that a barrel coated by the process described has no features or characters to distinguish it from a barrel coated with glue as prepared in the ordinary way.” Thereafter the patentee amended the specification on which the reissue was applied for by inserting the following:

“The distinguishing feature of this improvement may be found on examination to be the superior integrity of the lining by the use of soup glue; by its peculiar character it is more freely absorbed by the wood penetrating into fibre deeper than by the ordinary mode. Hence the sizing or coating is not only upon the surface, but penetrates into the wood, thereby presenting a thicker covering to the action of the oil, and this sizing is not liable to be broken off or cracked in handling the cask, as part of the coating is absorbed into the fibre and cells of the wood, which gives additional strength to it."

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