LEGGETT V. STANDARD OIL CO., 149 U. S. 287 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Leggett v. Standard Oil Co., 149 U.S. 287 (1893)

Leggett v. Standard Oil Company

No. 225

Argued April 20-21, 1893

Decided May 10, 1893

149 U.S. 287


The second claim in reissued letters patent No. 5785, granted March 10, 1874, to Edward W. Leggett for an improvement in lining oil barrels with glue, viz.:

"for a barrel, cask, etc., coated or sized by the material and by the mode or process whereby it is absorbed into and strengthened the wood fibre, substantially as herein described,"

is void as it is an expansion of the claim in the original patent so as to embrace a claim not specified therein.

Page 149 U. S. 288

The first claim therein, viz.,:

"the within described process of coating or lining the inside of barrels, casks, etc., with glue, wherein the glutinous material, instead of being produced by reduction from a previously solid state, is permitted to attain only a certain liquid consistency and is then applied to the package and permitted to harden thereon for the first time, substantially as herein set forth and described,"

is void: (1) because it was a mere commercial suggestion, and not such a discovery as involved the exercise of the inventive faculties, and (2), by reason of such prior use as to prevent the issue of any valid patent covering it.

The invalidity of a new claim in a reissued patent does not affect the validity of a claim in the original patent, repeated in the reissue.

The poverty or pecuniary embarrassment of a patentee is not sufficient excuse for postponing the assertion of his rights or preventing the application of the doctrine of laches.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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