137 U.S. 445 (1890), New York Belting & Packing Co. v. New Jersey Car-spring & Rubber Co.

Citation:137 U.S. 445, 11 S.Ct. 193, 34 L.Ed. 741
Case Date:December 22, 1890
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 445

137 U.S. 445 (1890)

11 S.Ct. 193, 34 L.Ed. 741




United States Supreme Court.

December 22, 1890

Appeal from the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of New York.


[11 S.Ct. 194] B. F. Lee and W. H. L. Lee, for appellant.

A. V. Briesen, for appellee.



This is a suit in equity brought upon a patent for a design by the New York Belting & Packing Company, assignee of

Page 446

George Woffenden, against the New Jersey Car-Spring & Rubber Company. The bill was dismissed upon demurrer, and the case is here on appeal from that decree. The ground for dismissing the bill, as stated by the circuit judge in his opinion, was that the subject-matter of the patent was not patentable, (30 F. 785,) and this is the question which has been discussed on the appeal. The invention claimed in the patent is a new and original design for rubber mats, of which the subjoined plate is a diagram:

(Image Omitted)

Referring to the diagram, the specification describes the invention as follows: 'In accordance with this design the mat gives under the light different effects according to the relative position of the person looking at it. If the person changes his position continuously the effects are kaleidoscopic in character. In

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some cases moire effects, like those ofmoire or watered silk, but generally mosaic effects, are produced. Stereoscopic effects also, or the appearance of a solid body or geometric figure, may, at times, be given to the mat, and, under proper conditions, an appearance of a depression may be presented. The design consists in parallel lines of corrugations, depressions, or ridges, arranged to produce the effects as above indicated. The drawing represents a mat embodying this design. A is a mat, which is, as represented, square, although it might be oblong, or other desired shape. It is divided into a number of sections, a, b, c, d, the corrugations or depressions and ridges in those represented by the same letter being parallel. Thus in the center and outer border formed by the section a, b, the corrugations extend around the mat parallel with its outer edge and with each other. At the points where each depression crosses the diagonals drawn from corner to corner of the mat through the center, it makes a right angle with its previous path. In the intermediate borders, the corrugations in the sections c are arranged at an angle with those in the sections d, and in both they form an angle with the corrugations in the sections a, b. By the different shading of the sections, attempt has been made to represent the mosaic effects produced, which, it will be understood, vary like a kaleidoscope, as the observer shifts his position. The above forms simply one of the many ways in which my invention may be carried into effect. The corrugations in the center and outer border need not extend entirely around the mat, but in each of the sections a depression in one section may be opposite a ridge in the next, and it is not necessary that the corrugations be parallel with the edges of the mat. They may run in any direction. The ridges and depressions in the intermediate borders might be made to form different angles with each other, or with those in the other sections; or the borders might be increased or diminished...

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