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HART STEEL COMPANY ET AL. v. RAILROAD SUPPLY COMPANY.

decided: May 21, 1917.

HART STEEL COMPANY ET AL
v.
RAILROAD SUPPLY COMPANY.



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Clarke

[ 244 U.S. Page 295]

 MR JUSTICE CLARKE delivered the opinion of the court.

This suit is here on certiorari to review the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

On December 9, 1908, the respondent herein, The Railroad Supply Company, as owner of three United States patents, viz., Nos. 538,809, 691,332 and 721,644, filed a bill in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against The Hart Steel Company and Guilford S. Wood, praying that the defendants be restrained from infringing certain designated claims of its patents, which are described in their specifications as coverning new and useful improvements in railway tie-plates. This case will be hereinafter referred to as the First Case.

Three months later, on March 26, 1909, the same plaintiff commenced a second suit against The Elyria Iron & Steel Company in the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, praying for the same relief with respect to the same claims of the same patents as in the First Case.

[ 244 U.S. Page 296]

     The two bills differed only as to the parties defendant. The Elyria Iron & Steel Company, the defendant in the Second Case, was a manufactring corporation and was the owner of all of the capital stock of The Hart Steel Company, the defendant in the First Case, which was the selling agent of the Elyria Company, and Wood was its manager.

The same defenses being relied upon in the two cases, the evidence was taken in the first one, and by stipulation a carbon copy of it was filed in the second, and the same exhibits were used in the two.

The claimed infringement consisted in the manufacture of a single order of tie-plates by the Elyria Company and the sale of them by the Hart Company, with Wood as its manager, to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company.

Such proceedings were had in the First Case that on December 18, 1911, the Circuit Court for the Northern District of Illinois decided that the construction or device sold by the defendants did not infringe the claims of the plaintiff's patents relied upon, and dismissed the bill for want of equity.

In the Second Case such proceedings were had that on March 4, 1912, the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio entered precisely the same decree as was entered in the First Case.

Each case was appealed to the appropriate Circuit Court of Appeals and on April 7, 1914, that court for the Sixth Circuit, in a carefully considered opinion, found the claims of the patents relied upon void for want of novelty and invention and affirmed the decision of the District Court. A petition for rehearing was denied on the thirtieth day of the following June.

On the sixth day of October, 1914, the first day of the next ensuing term of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the ...


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