45 F. 582 (D.N.J. 1891), Cahoone Barnet Mfg. Co. v. Rubber & Celluloid Harness Co.

Citation:45 F. 582
Case Date:March 24, 1891
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 582

45 F. 582 (D.N.J. 1891)




United States Circuit Court, D. New Jersey.

March 24, 1891

Coult & Howell, for complainant.

J. C. Clayton, for defendants.


The bill of complaint in this case was filed to enjoin an alleged infringement of design patent No. 16,114, granted to Samuel E. Tompkins and John F. Goodsell, assignors to the complainant, for a design for the ornamentation of harness. The letters patent bear date May 26, 1885, and the claim of the patentees is stated to be 'for a design for the ornamentation of harness, consisting of a piece of harness having thereupon the flattened spiral convolutions overlapping and resting upon each other, and placed at a slight distance from the edge of the piece, so that both the plain edge of the piece and the scalloped edge of the

Page 583

spiral show out in contrast;' or, as stated in the specification, 'the design consists of a spiral flattened, as shown, so that the individual coils or helices thereof lap over and rest upon each other. ' With the application for letters patent were filed certain drawings more fully illustrating the nature, object, and use of the design,--thus Figs. 1 and 3 were edge views of brow-bands of bridles; Fig. 2 showed a harness rosette; Fig. 4 was the plan of a pad-housing; and Fig. 5 was a bridle-winker; each ornamented by the coils of spiral wire, flattened and arranged, as above stated, and illustrating the effect produced by the use of the design in the manner prescribed. The bill charges that the defendants are actually engaged in manufacturing, and in putting on the market for sale, at a lower price than that fixed by the complainant, harness trimmed and ornamented with designs, in all material respects a copy of and an infringement upon the design secured to them by letters patent, as heretofore stated; and an injunction is participate, as individuals, in acts done by it. On the other hand, in sustained. The defendants are the Rubber & Celluloid Harness Trimming Company, Andrew Albright, Samuel E. Tompkins, and John F. Goodsell. The defendant corporation has answered separately, and the individual defendants, Albright, Tompkins, and Goodsell, have filed a joint and several separate answer. In their answer these individual defendants aver--

'That the said Albright is the president of the Rubber & Celluloid Harness Trimming Company; that the said Samuel E. Tompkins owns some of the stock of said company; that the said John F. Goodsell is one of the foremen of said company; that the acts complained of in said bill, if done at all, were done solely by said company, and that none of these defendants, in their capacity as individuals, have ever done anything herein in violation of any rights of the complainant; that whatever they may have done has been done as officer, member, or foreman of the Rubber & Celluloid Harness Trimming Company, which alone is responsible for the wrong, if any there be, complained of.'

Under what circumstances and to what extent an officer or a stockholder of a corporation can be held personally responsible for infringements of letters patent committed by the corporation are open questions. The adjudications of the courts are contradictory. In the case of Nickle Co. v. Worthington, 13 F. 392, Judge LOWELL...

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