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MORGAN V. DANIELS, 153 U. S. 120 (1894)

U.S. Supreme Court

Morgan v. Daniels, 153 U.S. 120 (1894)

Morgan v. Daniels

No. 313

Argued March 21-22, 1894

Decided April 23, 1894

153 U.S. 120


When a question between contending parties as to priority of invention is decided in the Patent Office, the decision there made must be accepted as controlling, upon that question of fact in any subsequent suit between the same parties unless the contrary is established by testimony which, in character and amount, carries thorough conviction.

Page 153 U. S. 121

On October 30, 1889, the appellee, Fred. H. Daniels, commenced suit against the defendant in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts. In his bill, he alleged that he was the original, sole, and first inventor of an improvement in machines for coiling wire or wire rods; that on June 26, 1886, he filed in the United States Patent Office an application in due form for a patent; that on September 4, 1886, the Commissioner of Patents declared an interference between his application and one filed by the defendant on June 24, 1886; that thereafter testimony was taken on such interference, and a decision rendered on March 22, 1889, adversely to his claim of a priority in invention; that a rehearing was had, which rehearing resulted, on October 28, in affirming the original decision. The bill further averred that the defendant was not, as decided by the Commissioner of Patents, the first inventor or discoverer, and prayed for a decree that he, plaintiff, be entitled to receive a patent for his invention, as specified in his claims, and that defendant be enjoined from taking any steps to use or dispose of letters patent for said invention or any part thereof.

This suit was brought under the authority of § 4915, Rev.Stat., which is as follows:

"Whenever a patent on application is refused either by the Commissioner of Patents or by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia upon appeal from the commissioner, the applicant may have remedy by bill in equity, and the court having cognizance thereof, on notice to adverse parties and other due proceedings had, may adjudge that such applicant is entitled, according to law, to receive a patent for his invention, as specified in his claim, or for any part thereof, as the facts in the case may appear. And such adjudication, if it be in favor of the right of the applicant, shall authorize the commissioner to issue such patent on the applicant filing in the Patent Office a copy of the adjudication, and otherwise complying with the requirements of law. In all cases where there is no opposing party, a copy of the bill shall be served on the Commissioner, and all the expenses of the proceeding shall be paid by the applicant, whether the final decision is in his favor or not. "

Page 153 U. S. 122

To this bill, on January 10, 1890, the defendant filed an answer denying that plaintiff was the inventor as alleged. The case was submitted to the circuit court upon the testimony used in the interference proceedings, and upon such testimony a decree was entered finding that plaintiff was the original inventor, and entitled to receive a patent for the invention. From such decree the defendant brings this appeal.

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