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of the mind put forth in search for new results or new methods, creating what had not before existed, or bringing to light what lay hidden from vision; but, on the other hand, to be the suggestion of that common experience which arose spontaneously, and by a necessity of human reasoning, in the minds of those who became acquainted with the circumstances with which they had to deal." } This language may be thought to mean that whatever new and useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or design is produced by intuition, is an invention, and that whatever such thing is produced by reason, is not an invention. But such an interpretation of the language would make it a reductio ad absurdum. Intuition may sometimes reach to a single brilliant result; but intuition can never conceive or correlate the mazes of movements and mechanisms which constitute a modern automatic machine. To enforce such a rule as that hypothetically implied in the language of Justice MATTHEWS would be to deny invention to those marvellous combinations of numerous metallic devices which compose American automatic machinery, and which work with such complexity and yet with such precision that they seem themselves to be endowed with reason. But fortunately the supposed interpretation of that language, is evidently not the meaning of the court. The court does not deny invention to all the products of pure reason in the useful arts. It merely finds want of invention in those things which are conceived “spontaneously and by a necessity of human reasoning" in the minds of those who have their attention directed to the subject. Thus it is seen to remain true that the ideal line which separates things invented from things otherwise produced has never been completely defined nor described. There is no affirm.ative rule by which to determine the presence or absence of invention in every case.' But there are several negative rules, each of which applies to a large class of cases, and
1 Hollister o. Benedict Mfg. Co. 013 U. 8. 72, 1885.
: Dunbar 0. Albert Field Tack Co. 4 Bann. & Ard. 519, 1879.
all of which are entirely authoritative and sufficiently clear. To formulate those rules, and to state their qualifications and exceptions, and to review and explain the adjudged cases from which those rules, qualifications, and exceptions are deducible, is the scope of several sections which immediately follow.
$ 25. It is not invention to produce a device or process which any skilful mechanic or chemist would produce whenever required.
The Corn Planter Patent' is the accepted name of a case which was based on ten reissued patents for as many different features of Brown's corn planter. Number 1094 was a patent for a peg to prevent the rear part of the machine from tipping so much as to dump the driver upon the ground. The Supreme Court held that patent to be void, for the reason stated in the rule which stands at the head of this section.
Vinton v. Hamilton’ was a case which arose out of a patent for a hole in a cupola furnace, the function of that hole being to draw off the molten cinder which floated on the top of the molten iron in the furnace. The Supreme Court held that patent also to be invalid for want of invention; held, in effect, that a patent for a new and useful hole is as lacking in invention as a patent for a new and
The Atlantic Works v. Brady' was based on a patent for a dredging-boat with a screw in its stem, boats with screws in their sterns having previously been used for dredging by running them stern foremost. In holding that patent to be void, the Supreme Court, speaking by Justice BRADLEY, delivered a paragraph of very instructive argument in support of the rule of this section: a paragraph so valuable as to call for its verbatim quotation in this text.
“The process of development in manufactures creates a constant demand for new appliances, which the skill of ordinary head workmen and engineers is generally adequate to devise, and which, indeed, are the natural and proper outgrowth of such development. Each step forward prepares the way for the next, and each is usually taken by spontaneous trials and attempts in a hundred different places. To grant to a single party a monopoly of every slight advance made, except where the exercise of invention somewhat above ordinary mechanical or engineering skill is distinctly shown, is unjust in principle, and injurious in its consequences. The design of the patent laws is to reward those who make some substantial discovery or invention which adds to our knowledge and makes a step in advance in the useful arts. Such inventors are worthy of all favor. It is never the object of those laws to grant a monopoly for every trifling device, every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and spontaneously occur to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of manufactures. Such an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and unknown liabilities to lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made in good faith.”
1 The Corn-Planter Patent, 23 Wallace, 232, 1874.
* Vinton o. Hamilton, 104 U. S.
8 Atlantic Works v. Brady, 107 U. S. 199, 1882.
Many other cases' may also be consulted for illustrations of the rule of this section.
1 Tack Co. v. Mfg. Co. 109 U. S. 119, 1883; Morris 0. McMillin, 112 U. S. 244, 1884; Hollister . Benedict Mfg. Co. 113 U. S. 72, 1885; Yale Lock Co. v. Greenleaf, 117 U. S. 554, 1886; Pomace Holder Co. 0. Ferguson, 119 U. S. 335, 1886; Weir o. Morden, 125 U. S. 98, 1888;
Brown v. District of Columbia, 130 U. S. 1888; Snow v. Taylor, 4 Bann. & Ard. 5, 1878; Walker v. Rawson, 4. Bann. & Ard. 130, 1879; King v. Frostel, 4 Bann. & Ard. 238, 1879; Lorillard v. Ridgway. 4 Bann. & Ard. 565, 1879; National Mfg Co. 0. Meyers, 15 Fed.
$ 26. But if a particular result was long desired and sometimes sought, but never attained, want of invention cannot be predicated of a device or process which first reached that result, on the ground that the simplicity of the means is so marked that many believe they could readily have produced it if required.' That is the opinion of many relevant to some real inventions, because solved problems often seem easy to persons who could never have solved them, and true inventions sometimes seem obvious to persons who could never have produced them. This doctrine does not contradict that of the last section. It only teaches us that the fact upon which the doctrine of the last section is founded cannot be proved by a posteriori opinion, when that opinion is inconsistent with a priori attempts and failures.
In The Loom Co. v. Higgins,' Justice BRADLEY remarked that: “It may be laid down as a general rule, though perhaps not an invariable one, that if a new combination and arrangement of known elements produce a new and beneficial result, never attained before, it is evidence of invention.” The exception to his rule, which Justice BRADLEY contemplated, doubtless refers to cases the result wherein was never before attained only because it was never before desired. In the Circuit Court cases which support the doctrine of this section, the proviso that the thing or process which the patentee was the first to produce had been previously sought for by others in vain, is never overlooked, but, on the contrary, is always treated as a material element in the proposition.'
Rep. 241, 1883; McMurray v. Mil.
Rep. 590, 1887; Kidd v. Horry, 33
1 Celluloid Mfg. Co. v. Chrolithion Collar & Cuff Co. 23 Fed. Rep. 397, 1885; Celluloid Mfg. Co. v. American Zylonite Co. 28 Fed. Rep. 195, 1886; Dudgeon v. Watson, 29 Fed. Rep 248, 1886; International Crown Co. v. Richmond, 30 Fed. Rep. 778, 1887; Wilcox v. Bookwalter, 31 Fed. Rep. 229, 1887; Osborne v. Glazier, 31 Fed. Rep. 402, 1887; Palmer v. Johnston, 34 Fed. Rep. 336. 1888; Stegner v. Blake, 36 Fed. Rep. 185, 1888; Marvin v. Gotshall, 36 Fed. Rep. 908, 1889; Timken o. Olin, 37 Fed. Rep. 205, 1888; Tondeur v. Chambers, 37 Fed. Rep. 333, 1889.
? Loom Co. v. Higgins, 105 U. S. 591, 1881.
A qualification of the rule of this section consists in the subordinate point, that where several improvements have mutually contributed to introduce an unused invention into public favor, and where it does not appear that either of those improvements alone would have produced that result; no presumption in favor of either of those improvements being an invention, arises out of the commercial success of the invention thus improved. And another qualification should be made, by holding that the rule of the section does not apply where the prior attempts were unsuccessful because they were stupid.
$ 27. It is not invention to produce an article which differs from some older thing only in excellence of workmanship.
In Pickering v. McCullough it appeared that certain prior combinations were not capable of successful working because their mechanical construction was faulty. The Supreme Court held that those faults could have been removed by mere mechanical skill, without the exercise of the faculty of invention, and that therefore those combinations constituted good defences to the patent in suit.
In Buzzell v. Fifield Judge LOWELL held a patent for a
Terry Clock Co. v. New Haven Clock Co. 4 Bann. & Ard. 121, 1879; Wallace v. Noyes, 13 Fed. Rep. 180, 1882; Ward v. Plow Co. 14 Fed. Rep. 696, 1883; Davis o. Fredericks, 19 Fed. Rep. 99, 1884; Patterson v. Duff, 20 Fed. Rep. 641, 1884; Brown Mfg. Co. o. Deere, 21 Fed. Rep. 713, 1884; McFarland v. Spencer, 23 Fed. Rep. 151, 1885; Celluloid Mfg. Co. 0. Chrolithion Collar & Cuff Co. 23 Fed. Rep. 397, 1885; Sewing Ma
chine Co. v. Frame, 24 Fed. Rep. 596, 1894; Asmus v. Alden, 27 Fed. Rep. 687, 1886.
2 Corbin Cabinet Lock Co. Eagle Lock Co. 37 Fed. Rep. 338, 1889.
3 Butler o. Steckel, 27 Fed. Rep. 219, 1886.
* Pickering v. McCullough, 104 U. S. 310, 1881.
5 Buzzell o. Fifield, 7 Fed. Rep. 467, 1881.