Eames v. Godfrey

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

68 U.S. 78

Eames  v.  Godfrey

GODFREY sued Eames in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts, in an action on the case for infringing a patent for a new and useful improvement in boot-trees, of which patent he, Godfrey, was the assignee. The defendant pleaded Not Guilty, and gave notice of special matters of defence. The case was tried by a jury, who found the defendant guilty, and assessed the damages at $2177.50.

The patent was for a combination of mechanical powers for a new and useful improvement in boot-trees, and included a certain mechanism for distending the leg of the boot-tree. The plaintiff did not claim that the defendant had used the same mechanism that he did for distending the leg of the boot-tree, but that the defendant had used all the other parts of his combination, and that the mechanism which the defendant used, although differing in construction and operation from that described in the patent, yet performed the same function. The defendant contended, that not having used the mechanism described in the patent for distending the leg of the boot-tree, although he had used the other parts of the combination, he was not guilty of infringing the patent, and requested the court so to rule. The court refused to rule as requested, but instructed the jury, 'that to make out an infringement of the claim for combination, it was not necessary for the plaintiff to show that the mechanism for distending used by the defendant and its mode of operation were the same with that described in the plaintiff's patent for the purpose of distending the boot-tree; and that if said mechanism for distending the leg, &c., used by the defendant, was not the same mechanism, operating in the same manner as that described in the plaintiff's patent for the same purpose; still if there were in the defendant's machine a mechanism performing the same function as that performed by plaintiff's distending mechanism, and if this was combined with the other parts in the manner in which the distending mechanism described in the plaintiff's patent was combined, it was an infringement of said patent, and the defendant would be liable therefor.'

The defendant excepted to the instructions given, and the refusal of the court to instruct as prayed for.

On error here, the instructions and refusal, as aforesaid, were the points before this court.

Mr. F. A. Brooks for the plaintiff in error; Mr. Causten Browne, contra.

Mr. Justice DAVIS delivered the opinion of the court:


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).