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HAPGOOD V. HEWITT, 119 U. S. 226 (1886)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hapgood v. Hewitt, 119 U.S. 226 (1886)

Hapgood v. Hewitt

Argued November 10-11, 1886

Decided November 29, 1886

119 U.S. 226


In a suit in equity by the trustees of a dissolved Missouri corporation to compel an employs of the corporation to convey to the plaintiffs the title to letters patent obtained by him for an invention made while he was in their employ, it not appearing from the facts set forth in the bill that there was any agreement between the employee and the corporation that

Page 119 U. S. 227

it was to have the title to the invention or to any patent he might obtain for it, it was held, on demurrer, that the hill could not be sustained.

Although the dissolved corporation assigned its right in the premises to an Illinois corporation organized by the stockholders of the former, whatever implied license the former had to use the invention was confined to it, and was not assignable.

The employee could bring no suit for infringement against the Missouri corporation, for it was dissolved, nor any suit in equity against its trustees for an infringement, for they were not alleged to be using the invention, and a suit at law against the trustees or the stockholders of the Missouri corporation for infringement by it could not be enjoined because the theory of the bill was that there was a perfect defense to such a suit.

The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

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