180 F. 456 (S.D.N.Y. 1910), Union Switch & Signal Co. v. General Ry Signal Co.

Citation:180 F. 456
Party Name:UNION SWITCH & SIGNAL CO. v. GENERAL RY. SIGNAL CO. (two cases). GENERAL RY. SIGNAL CO. et al. v. LONG ISLAND RY. CO.
Case Date:May 27, 1910
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 456

180 F. 456 (S.D.N.Y. 1910)

UNION SWITCH & SIGNAL CO.

v.

GENERAL RY. SIGNAL CO. (two cases).

GENERAL RY. SIGNAL CO. et al.

v.

LONG ISLAND RY. CO.

United States Circuit Court, S.D. New York.

May 27, 1910

Gifford & Bull (Geo. E. Cruse and Livingston Gifford, of counsel), for the Union Switch & Signal Company and the Long Island Railway Company.

Clifton V. Edwards (Lawrence K. Sager and Thomas Howe, of counsel), for the General Railway Signal Company and another.

RAY, District Judge.

The first two suits are for alleged infringement of United States letters patent No. 819,322 and No. 819,323, issued to Jacob B. Struble, while the third suit pending in the Eastern District of New York, but ordered to a final hearing by Judge Lacombe in the Southern District with the other suits, is for alleged infringement of the Young patents, No. 757,537, No. 762,370, No. 815,890, and No. 815,891. For convenience, the Union Switch & Signal Company will be referred to as the 'Union Company.' It owns the Struble patents. For convenience the General Railway Signal Company will be referred to as the General Company. The General Company is the sole licensee of the Young patents. The Union Company sues the General Company on the signaling installation made by it on the New York Central Railroad Company in its electric zone, while the General Company sues the Long Island Company because of its use of its signaling system made by the Union Company on the electrified part of its railroad. The Union Company defends the Long Island Company.

The invention described and claimed in the two Struble patents relates to automatic block signaling on electric railways. The Young patents

Page 457

relate to the same subject. The Union Company contends: That in Struble No. 819,322 application, filed November 16, 1901, it has claims for a generic invention, the distinctive current and distinguishing apparatus idea of means as explained by its expert, Mr. Waterman, viz., claims 4, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, and claim 22 for the specific invention viz., the use with the generic invention of inductive resistances between the blocks, enabling the propulsion current to return by both rails. That Struble No. 819,323 application, filed March 12, 1902, has the generic invention in claims 1, 9, 10, 15, 31, and the specific in claims 19, 20, 22, 32, and 33. That Young does not have claims for the generic invention except in combination with the specific invention, but does for the specific, viz., in No. 762,370, application, filed January 19, 1903, claims 6 and 10; in No. 815,890, application filed February 21, 1903, claims 18 to 24, inclusive; in No. 815,891, application filed April 25, 1903, claims 2 and 3; in No. 757,537, application filed November 6, 1903, claims 1 to 8, inclusive, and claims 10 and 11. The Union Company claims that Struble was and is the pioneer in the matter of block signaling on electric railways; that he was the first to provide a system of electric block signaling on electric railroads; that he was the first to provide such a system wherein interference between the signaling and power circuits was prevented, and that he accomplished this by using a current for signaling which was different from the car propulsion current; that is, by using a direct current for operating the car motors and an alternating current for energizing the signal relays. The Union Company contends that no prior patent or publication shows this, and that, as the claims of the Struble patent do, the fact of pioneership is established.

The defendant, the General Company, insists that the Struble patents are void for want of patentable novelty, that defendant does not infringe, and that during the pendency of the applications the claims were unwarrantably amended by including new matter. The defendant says that these patents relate simply to the application of the ordinary block signaling system then in common use on steam railways to an electric railway system; that is, that the patents in suit merely add or apply the old block signaling system to the electric railway without making any changes of adaptation or securing any new and different results and refers to several prior patents which it claims show this. The defendant says there was 'no invention involved in adding Schreuder, Roome, and Spang systems to an electric railway'; (2) 'the Struble patents are anticipated'; (3) 'defendant does not infringe'; and (4) that the patents in suit contain new matter not disclosed in the original application, and that, while an application for a patent and the claims may be amended, under no circumstances can the application be amended into a new or a different invention than that first claimed. The defendant insists that the new matters introduced into the Struble applications were not only not disclosed in the original application, but were and are directly contradictory thereto. Also, that the rights of Stillwell and of Young accrued before Struble made either of the claims upon which suit is brought.

Page 458

The following claims of Struble, No. 819,322, dated May 1, 1906, on application filed November 16, 1901, are in issue, viz., 4, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22, and they read as follows:

'4. In a signaling system, the combination of a closed track-circuit, an alternating-current supply therefor, a signal and means to control the operation of said signal, said means responding to the absence or presence of the alternating current in the track-circuit and not responding to continuous or direct currents traversing said track-circuit in its control of the signal. * * *

'11. In a signaling system for use on railways employing an electric electric current as a motive power and the track as a return for the electric current, the combination of a circuit which includes portions of both rails, an alternating-current supply for such circuit, and a translating device responsive to the presence or absence in it of the alternating current in said track-circuit to control a signal and not responsive to the motive-power current or continuous or direct currents in said circuit in its control of a signal.

'12. In a signaling system for use on railways employing a direct current as a motive power and the track as a return for the direct current, the combination of a circuit which includes portions of both rails, an alternating-current supply for such circuit, and a translating device responding to the presence or absence in it of alternating current in said circuit in its control of a signal and not responding to continuous or direct currents in said circuit in its control of a signal.

'13. In a signaling system the combination of a track-circuit, a constant source of alternating-current supply therefor, a signal, and means to control the operation of said signal, said means responding to the absence or presence of the alternating current in the track-circuit and not responding to continuous or direct currents traversing said track-circuit in its control of the signal. * * *

'18. In combination, a source of electric energy, a distribution-circuit for said source of energy, motor vehicles operated from said source of energy, a number of circuits electrically independent of each other for controlling signaling devices supplied with current differing in character from the current supplied from the other source of energy, signaling devices, and means carried by a vehicle for electrically isolating a signal when the vehicle moves into one of said independent circuits.

'19. A signaling system for electric railways employing the track as a return for the car-propulsion current, having in combination a number of circuits electrically independent and each formed in part by the track, a source of current for each circuit, a translating device for each circuit responsive to control a signaling device to the current intended for its operation and not to the propulsion-current, and the signaling devices.

'20. In an electric-railway system, a source of power-current, vehicles operated thereby, a power-circuit comprising two conductors extending from the power-current source to the cars, one of which is formed by the track, a signal-circuit of which the track forms both sides, a source of current for said signal devices connected to both rails of the track, and signal devices completing such circuit.

'21. In an electric-railway system, a source of power-current of one character, vehicles operated thereby, a circuit for said power-current comprising two conductors with which the cars make moving contact, one of which is formed by the track, a signal-circuit of which the rails of the track forms both sides, a source of current for said signal-circuit furnishing current of a different character and connected to both rails, and signal devices completing such signal-circuit.

'22. In an electric-railway system, a source of power-current, a power-circuit in which the track forms one side and conducts current in the same direction, signaling-circuits formed by the track in which the two rails conduct current in opposite directions consisting of a series of rail-sections having adjacent ends electrically separated from each other and inductive resistances connecting said adjacent ends and forming a path from section to section for the power-currents.'

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The following claims of Struble, No. 819,323, dated May 1, 1906, on application filed March 12, 1902, are in issue, viz., 1, 9, 10, 15, 19, 20, 22, 31, 32, and 33. They read as follows:

'1. A railway signaling system, having in combination a source of alternating current, a track-circuit in circuit with the source of alternating current, a reactance-coil connected across the track-rails of the...

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