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Opinion of the Court.
pendent of its neighboring frames.] The door for each frame has a small spring bolt, i, and a lock, d, attached to it, the two operating together, and forming, in the hands of the postmaster, a perfect safeguard against all entrance to the box by means of the key, as is more particularly set forth in letters-patent granted to me on the 24th day of October, 1871, and numbered 120,177.
“ What I claim as the in “ What I claim as the invention of the said Linus vention of the said Linus Yale, Jr., deceased, is, First. Yale, Jr., deceased, is, 1. The The combination of several combination of several box box frames with each other frames with each other and and with pigeon holes, as de with pigeon holes, as described, by means of rivets scribed, by means of rivets passing through the frames passing through the frames and the wood-work entering and the wood-work entering between the said frames, the between the said frames, the combination being substan- combination being substantially as described. Second. tially as described. 2. The The combination of two or combination of two or more more metallic frames and metallic frames and doors and doors and locks with pigeon locks with pigeon holes, said holes, said frames
frames having frames having flanges, which flanges, which protect and protect and enclose, wholly or enclose, wholly or in part, the in part, the front edges of front edges of said pigeon said pigeon holes.” holes. 8 Third. bination of several metallic box frames with each other and with pigeon holes, said bow frames being secured to
Opinion of the Court.
said pigeon holes independently of each other, by means of screws or other similar fastening, as described.]”
On the 8th of May, 1872, the Patent Office examiner called the attention of the applicant to the fact that the following matters in the new specification were not warranted by the original patent, namely: the words “or screws,” in the part marked “1,” the words “may be,” in the parts marked "2" and “ 6,” the parts marked “3,” “4,” and “7," and the third claim being the part marked “8."
On the 9th of May, 1872, the applicant appealed to the Commissioner of Patents in person, because the examiner had refused to examine the case on its merits, in view of the introduction of such new matter; but, on the next day, the applicant virtually withdrew his appeal, by amending his application as follows: He erased part "1;” he erased the words "may be," in parts “2” and “6,” and substituted in each case the word “is;” he erased parts “3” and “4” and substituted for the latter the words, “I prefer to locate rods f f behind the plate to prevent the introduction of a hand if the glass be broken.” He also erased part “7," and claim 3, part. “8," and submitted the case for further action.
The application was then reconsidered, and twice rejected, and from the second rejection the applicant appealed to the examiners-in-chief, who reversed the decision of the examiner, and the reissue was granted, July 9, 1872.
In view of these facts, Judge Shipman, in his decision in the present case, said: “It is unquestionable that the patentee, when he made his original application, intended to say that his invention did not consist simply in making, by his combination of metallic doors, door frames, and wooden boxes, a continuous metallic frontage, but that it also consisted in the way in which the frontage was made continuous, viz. by the connection of the adjoining frames with each other. His definite and exact specification shows that he supposed that his patentable invention was thus limited. He described with precision and clearness, that his metallic frontage was to be
Opinion of the Court.
so constructed that the frames were to be fastened to each other at top, bottom, and sides, and not merely to the woodwork. "A specific invention, complete in itself,' was described, 'fully and clearly, without ambiguity or obscurity.' Under the definitions which are given in the decisions which have been referred to, and in Manufacturing Co. v. Ladd, 102 U. S. 408, of the inadvertence, accident, or mistake which permits a reissue, when a patent is said to be inoperative on account of a defect or insufficiency in the specification, which arose through such inadvertence or mistake, and also of the nature of the defectiveness or insufficiency which is meant by the statute, there was no mistake, although the patentee might have fallen into an error of judgment, or into an erroneous conclusion of fact; and, furthermore, the original patent, according to the definitions contained in the recent, and, perhaps, in the earlier cases, was not defective nor insufficient, either in its descriptive portion or in its claims. The second claim of the first reissue, construed in the light of the contemporaneous facts which are shown in the 'file wrapper and contents,' cannot be fairly construed to mean a metallic frontage irrespective of the fastening of the frames to each other through the wood-work. Were this claim to be construed without study of the history of the application as it made its way through the Patent Office, and of the amendments which it was compelled to undergo, it would probably receive the construction which naturally belongs to the first claim of the present reissue. But the patentee abandoned, under pressure from the Patent Office, the clauses in the application which made the fastening of the frames to each other to be optional, and abandoned also a proposed third claim, which described the box frames as secured to the pigeon holes independently of each other, by means of screws or other similar fastening.' In view of the fact that the Patent Office excluded from the descriptive part of the specification suggestions of any other method of fastening than that by which the frames were to be fastened to each other, it would be singular if the intent of the Office was to include in the second claim such other method of construction. If this claim has properly, and the
Opinion of the Court.
applicant knew that it was intended to have, a narrow construction -- and of this knowledge I think there can be little doubt — the plaintiff would not insist that the 1st and 2d claims of the present reissue ought, in view of the decision in Miller v. Brass Co., supra to be so construed as to be any broader than the 3d claim, which requires the combination of door frames, doors, and pigeon holes to be by means of rivets or bolts which attach the frames both to the wood-work and to each other."
It was held that there was no infringement, and, on that ground, the bill was dismissed.
We concur in these views of the Circuit Court, and in the result which it reached. In view of the numerous recent decisions of this court on the subject of reissued patents, it would serve no good purpose to expand or amplify the views so well expressed by the judge at circuit. They are supported by the decisions in Miller v. Brass Co., 104 U. S. 350; Mahn v. Harwood, 112 U. S. 354; Parker. & Whipple Co. v. Yale Clock Co., 123 U. S. 87; Matthews v. Iron Clad Mfg. Co., 123 U. S. 347.
Our conclusion makes it unnecessary to consider the defence raised in the answer, and urged in argument, that the postoffice boxes used by the defendant were used by him as postmaster of the United States at the city of New York; that the boxes were the property of the United States and were rented by it to sundry persons; that the rent was a part of the postal revenue of the United States and was not a source of personal emolument to the defendant; that it was not within the power of the defendant to remove or alter the boxes; and that the use of such boxes at the post office, while the defendant was postmaster, was not an infringement of the patent by him and did not make him liable to this suit.
The question whether, when Congress fails to provide a regulation by law
as to any particular subject of commerce among the States it is conclusive of its intention that that subject shall be free from positive regulation, or that, until Congress intervenes, it shall be left to be dealt with by the States, is one to be determined from the circumstances of each case as it
arises. So far as the will of Congress respecting commerce among the States by
means of railroads can be determined from its enactment of the provisions of law found in Rev. Stat. § 5258, and Rev. Stat. c. 6, Title 48, S8 4252–4289, they are indications of an intention that such transportation of commodities between the States shall be free except when restricted
by Congress, or by a State with the express permission of Congress. A State cannot, for the purpose of protecting its people against the evils of
intemperance, enact laws which regulate commerce between its people and those of other States of the Union, unless the consent of Congress,
express or implied, is first obtained. Section 1553 of the Code of the State of Iowa, as amended by c. 143 of the
acts of the 20th General Assembly in 1886, (forbidding common carriers to bring intoxicating liquors into the State from any other State or Territory, without being first furnished with a certificate, under the seal of the auditor of the county to which it is to be transported or consigned, certifying that the consignee or person to whom it is to be transported or delivered is authorized to sell intoxicating liquors in the county,) although adopted without a purpose of affecting interstate commerce, but as a part of a general system designed to protect the health and morals of the people against the evils resulting from the unrestricted manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors within the State, is neither an inspection law, nor a quarantine law, but is essentially a regulation of commerce among the States, affecting interstate commerce in an essential and vital part, and, not being sanctioned by the authority, express or implied, of Congress, is repugnant to the Constitution of the United
States. Whether the right of transportation of an article of commerce from one
State to another includes by necessary implication the right of the consignee to sell it in unbroken packages at the place where the transportation terminates, quære.