Allen v. Riley

Allen v. Riley
Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

203 U.S. 347

Allen  v.  Riley

 Argued: November 5, 6, 1906. --- Decided: December 3, 1906

Frances J. Riley, the defendant in error, who was plaintiff below, recovered a judgment against plaintiffs in error, defendants below, for $1,250, in the district court of Brown county, in the state of Kansas, which judgment was affirmed by the supreme court of the state, and the defendants below have brought the case here by writ of error.

The suit was commenced by the filing of a petition by defendant in error, plaintiff below, in a district court of Kansas, March 17, 1902, to recover the value of certain lands alleged to have been transferred by the plaintiff to the defendant Erasmus W. Allen, in part payment for the transfer to plaintiff of rights for the state of Kentucky under a patent dated January 30, 1901, for a washing machine. The right to recover is based upon the failure of the defendants to comply with the Kansas statute, which failure defendants do not deny, but they insist that the statute is void as being in violation of the Constitution of the United States and the act of Congress referred to in the opinion. The Kansas statute is chapter 182 of the Laws of 1889. A copy of the act is set out in the margin. [1]

Messrs. N. H. Loomis, R. W. Blair, and H. A. Scandrett for plaintiffs in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 348-350 intentionally omitted]

Messrs. A. E. Crane and T. T. Woodburn for defendant in error.

[Argument of Counsel intentionally omitted]

Mr. Justice Peckham, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court:


  1. Chapter 182, Laws of 1889 (paragraphs 4356, 4357, and 4358, General Statutes of Kansas, 1901), reads as follows:

'Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or barter, or offer to sell or barter, any patent right, or any right which such person shall allege to be a patent right, in any county within this state, without first filing with the clerk of the district court of such county copies of the letters patent, duly authenticated, and at the same time swearing or affirming to an affidavit before such clerk that such letters patent are genuine, and have not been revoked or annulled, and that he has full authority to sell or barter the right so patented; which affidavit shall also set forth his name, age, occupation, and residence; and if an agent, the name, occupation, and residence of his principal. A copy of this affidavit shall be filed in the office of said clerk, and said clerk shall give a copy of said affidavit to the applicant, who shall exhibit the same to any person on demand.

'Sec. 2. Any person who may take any obligation in writing for which any patent right, or right claimed by him or her to be a patent right, shall form a whole or any part of the consideration, shall, before it is signed by the maker or makers, insert in the body of said written obligation, above the signature of said maker or makers, in legible writing or print, the words, 'Given for a patent right.'

'Sec. 3. Any person who shall sell or barter, or offer to sell or barter, within this state, or shall take any obligation or promise in writing for a patent right, or for what he may call a patent right, without complying with the requirements of this act, or shall refuse to exhibit the certificate when demanded, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof before any court of competent jurisdiction shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $1,000, or be imprisoned in the jail of the proper county not more than six months, at the discretion of the court or jury trying the same, and shall be liable to the injured in a civil action for any damages sustained.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).