EBY V. KING, 158 U. S. 366 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Eby v. King, 158 U.S. 366 (1895)

Eby v. King

No. 336

Argued May 1-2, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 366


Reissued letters patents No. 7851, granted August 21, 1877, to Henry H. Eby for an improvement in cob-carriers for cornshellers are void as being for a different invention from that described and claimed in the original letters, specification, and claim.

It is doubtful whether the Commissioner of Patents has jurisdiction to consider and act upon an application for a surrender of letters patent and reissue when there is only the bare statement that the patentee wishes to surrender his patent and obtain a reissue.

Whether, when a patent has been surrendered and reissued, and such reissue is held to be void, the patentee may proceed upon his original patent is considered and discussed, but is not decided.

This was a bill in equity to recover damages for the infringement of reissued letters patent No. 7,851, granted August 21,

Page 158 U. S. 367

1877, to the plaintiff, Eby, for an improvement in cob carriers for cornshellers.

The object of the invention was stated to be

"the production of a cob carrier for power cornshellers, to receive the cobs from the spout of the sheller and deliver them in any desired direction, which is adapted to be adjusted both vertically and horizontally upon its supporting frame, and driving mechanism without interfering with or stopping its operation, and the (my) invention therein consists in mounting the carrying frame upon a revolving block at its inner end and upon adjustable legs at the outer end, and driving the endless belt by cog gearing applied at the inner end thereof; and, further, in the combination, with such parts, of the central vertical shaft and its connections for transmitting power from a pulley to the inner end of the endless belt, all as fully hereinafter described for effecting the purpose before explained."

The device is illustrated by the following drawings:


Page 158 U. S. 368


The specification further proceeds:

"In operation, the carrying frame is located with reference to the cornsheller in such manner that the cobs can be discharged upon the lower end of the endless belt. Motion being communicated to the pulley, C', the endless belt is operated through the gearing described, and the cobs moved to and thrown from the outer or upper end of the carrying frame. The cobs are delivered into a wagon driven under the end of the carrier, or into any proper stationary or removable receptacle."

"When desired to turn the carrying frame to either side, to deliver the cobs in any other direction or into other receptacles, the outer end is moved bodily around, which moves the block, B, and the gearing, and the hook bolts, b', may then be tightened up to hold the parts more rigidly in their new position."

"By means of the devices for supporting the carrier and the gearing for driving the endless belt at the inner end of the carrying frame, any extent of movement of such carrying frame is permitted without stopping the operation of the endless belt, and this movement is effected with but little inconvenience and delay. The changing of the direction of the carrying frame both vertically and horizontally could not be performed with as great facility if the endless belt were driven otherwise than at its inner end, where the least movement

Page 158 U. S. 369

is made, or if the said carrying frame were supported by less efficient means than those described."

There were two claims, which read as follows:

"1. A movable independent cob carrier, wherein are combined a supporting and revolving block, a carrying frame, whose inner end is supported upon said block, and whose outer end is supported upon movable legs and gearing applied at the inner end of the carrying frame, and capable of acting continuously, whether the carrying frame is fixed in position or being swung to a new position, substantially as described."

"2. A movable independent cob carrier, wherein are combined a carrying frame supported at its inner end upon a revolving block, and the central vertical shaft and its connections, whereby the said carrying frame can be adjusted vertically and horizontally without stopping the operation of the endless belt, substantially as and for the purposes set forth."

The defenses were that the reissue was void; that the invention was lacking in patentable novelty, and a denial that the defendant had infringed.

Upon a hearing upon pleadings and proofs, the court below was of opinion that the reissue was obtained for the purpose of broadening the claims to cover existing machines, and was consequently void, and also that the defendant had infringed neither the original nor the reissue. Thereupon the court dismissed the bill, and plaintiff appealed to this Court.

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