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IMPORTANT DECISION RESPECTING…

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IMPORTANT DECISION RESPECTING THE PATENT LAWS. In the Vice-Chancellor's coutt, the canse of "Rushton v. Crawley" has been heard, and was a bill tiled by Henry Rush- ton of Manchester, a chignon and trizotte manufacturer, for an injunction to restrain the defendants, Messrs. Crawley and Son, of Wood-street, CiieaiDpide, from infringing a patent obtained by the plaintiff on the 2.gh of JuM, 1867, for an invention and improvement in the manufacture of artificial hair for ladies' headdresses and frizettes. The plaintiff's patent contained the following speci- fication :â This invention relates to the manufacture of hair to be used in imitation of human hair for head-dresses and the like, and for other purposes for which ordinary and curled hairs are required For these purposes I take animal ftbre- by preference, Russian wool, or wool of a coarse texture- and steep it in a bath of sulphate of copper from 10 to 15 hours to cleanse it and separate the olenginonsmatterthere- tlOll. The wool or fibre when thus treated is to be next boiled for a perioi from one to two hours ill a solution of catechu, or liquid prepared by adding and difsolving therein catechu in greater or less quantities, according to the depth of the shade required; sulphate of iron is to be then added to the liquid last described as a dye, or to fix the colour wilt n red or brown is de- sired, the quantity of the sulphate being also varied ac- cording to the depth of shade necessary. Another mode of treating the wool or fibre consists in boiling it in a liquid prepared by adding two parts of fustic to ten parts of wa'er the material is then removed, dried, and after- wards boiled in a second liquid prepared by adding two p^rts of logwood to ten parts of water, to whtch halt a pound of sulphate of iron is to be added for dyeing black the fibre is then to be taken out, dried, and carded for use, the fibre being crap-d or formed into roll-, frizettes, and the like, or used ai curled hair for stuffing articles of furniture, up- holstery, or other like purposes, the long fibre being separated and used for artificial hair, which may be made up in any required form-pliiin. curled, or dressed. The crup ing or eutling process by which the wool or fibre is renderrd elastic for upholstery and other like purposes consists in boilir,g it in gelatitie, the proportion of the latter ingredient being about one quarter of a pound to two gallons of witer. In the latter case the yellow colour is produced by the fustic' the red or brown by the logwood, and the dark and black shades by the sulphate of iron The cuiled hair thus pro- duced may, if desired, be mixed with ai y other fibres for the purposes here mentioned, or for tliosi analogous thereto I claim the nse and application of wool, particularly the kind known as Russian tops, or oi her similar wools or fibre, in the manufsc ure of artificial hair in imitation of human hair, and also in the manufactio-e of crisped or curled hair for furni- ture, upholstery, and other like purposes." The plaiiit ff alleged that his invention or improve- ment in the manufacture of artificial hair had been very successful, and he bad derived large profits therefrom, and the novelty and utility thereof had been generally acknowledged that in March 1869, the plaintiff for the first time discovered that artificial hair manufactured from wool, according to his invention, was being sold in large quantitiea by the defendants. The plaintiff thereupon issued a notice to the various purchasers of artificial bair from the defendants, cautioning tbem against selling goods of the above description, on the ground that it was an infringement of his patent. The defendants than issued a circular alluding to the threats held out by the plaintitf and stating that they bad challenged him to take legal proceedings against them, their reasons fcr adopting this course being that, in the first place, the invention had its origin with themselves, as thev could prove, and that tht y had used Russian wool for these manufactures previous to and in the year 1864. and goat-bair long previous to the date of a patent which the plaintiff had obtained in 1865 for making artificial hair with mohair and also that the process by which the plaintiff made such illa- terial into chignons, frizettes, &c., was not new,- and that the materials upon which his patents rested had been for many years employed for dolls' hair as a sub- stitute for human hair. Mr. G-lasse, Q. C., Mr. Webster, Q. C., and Mr. Rus- sell Kcberts, in support of the plaintiff's casa, said that although the matter of ladies' chignons mi<>ht appear to be one of a very trifling nature, yet it was frequently in articles of the smallest and cheapest description tha,t the largest profits were obtained. In this case it appeared that one firm of manufacturers made up no less than two tons weight of chignons and frizettes pt-r week. Some vears ago, when ladies became desirous of increasing the apparent bulk of their hair, they resorted to art'fieial human hair as a substitute for their own, but as the fashion spread among the lower classes human hair became too expensive for ordinary use, and then hone-hair pads were re- sorted to but these frequently became v sible at any parting of the hair, and by that means the delusion was spoilt. Afterwards mohair w.is manufactured to imita'e human ha r, and the {liintiff in 1865 took out a patent for the use of mohair in making chignon?. S ill the mohair, although very soft and a good imita- tion of human hair, was found to requite more sub- stance, aLd at length the plaintiff discovered that he could give the requisite firmness, size, and consistency by the use of Russian tops or coarse wool, combed out. to a uniform length, and dyed to represent the natural ornament of the head and the cheap rate at which these articles were sold recommended them for general use. The plaintiff claimed by his specification the em- ployment oi Russian wool or other coarse IInimal fiore. The validity of the patent depended upon the principle that you might adapt a known material to a new pur- pose for which it had not before been used. This had been decided by many authorities, and the plaintiff came strictly within the principle. The Vice-Chancellor, said it this patent could be sustained, then every new material adapted to chignons might be made the subject of a patent. If they could be made of straw or paper, a patent for the use of such materials might be sustained. Mr. Grove, Q.C., Mr. Aston, and Mr. A. E. Miller, for the defendants, contended, in the first place, that the patent was altogether invalid. The plaintiff claimed by his specification not only Russian tops, but any animal or tibre wool of a coarse texture. Any wool, therefore, was comprised in the patent, and he not only claimed the use of wool in chignons, but in the manufacture or stuffing of furniture, upholstery, and other like purposes. In fact, he claimed all manner of coarse wool or animal fibre, and he claimed the use of it for all manner of purposes, without confining him- self to artificial hair, and this was far too extensive a claim to support a patent. It was then submitted that there was eoid^nre in this case to show that both mohair ai d wool of a coarse texture had been used by the defencantri and other, long before the date d the rlaintifl's patent. The affidavits of several witnesses were r-ad, and Mr. John Crawley, the elder, upon being crof.s-« xamined in court, said that before and iu the year 1861 he bad used mohair and wool in the manufacture of ladies' bead-dresses, pads and frizsttes. When human hair became dearer in 1861 his firm had used Russian wool for t-,ese purposes. Be first purchased a small quantity for trial, and then ordered a pack containing 240i! which was all made np into pads and frizettes. When the f A-hion of wearing chignons came in about the year 1865 he had procured a large quantity of mohair, which was. in fact, the Angoia wool; he had also used Devonshire wool, alpaca wool, ong top*, and English tops, which aa a name given combed out into straight pieces, and innri«8K^ £ ?nsequence of the plaintiff having seen a pad fnr- th» « ,ni °l mo^a'r that he took out his first patent £ â¢d th,; mohair in manufacture of artificial L tZ it Tar atter the witness had himself refused .v rftTnninT1M? *or such an obvious adaptation of taken by surprise Jd ft iTi Botice by the plaintiff that he had obtained a patent for doing what he himself had been doing before. Another witness, Mr. W. Martin, upon being cross-examined on behalf of the plaintiff, confirmed the statement m his affidavit, that for several years Pâ¢vumsly to 1867 he had purchased Russian tops and other wools of a similar description, which be had dyed and prepared for artificial hair, and had sold l" t<) variouK manufacturers of articles made to imitate hair, He had lately confined his business to the preparation of mohair for the same purpose, as that article, aithough more expensive, was found to be much better. Ivussian wool was the lowest class of wool used for this purpose, and was formerly applied o,'¡y to stuffiog lurniture. Mr. GlasRe, for the plalilllff, said he should not feel himself just-itied in contending further against the weight of evidence to prove a prior user of the mate- rial claimed by the plaintiff in the manufacture of articles of a similar nature; but be submitted that the plaintiff should not be ordered to pay the costs of these proceedings. The Vice-Chancellor, in giving judgment, said this was a very important question both as affectidg, the patent law and the interest:' of the pubin^. A prior user of the material claimed by the piatntiff: bad now- been proved, but he did not think he stiould be justi- fied in disposing of the case without exprtssing his view of the law as to tne plaintiff's patent. Some P--OP!e were of opinion that the patent law required amend- ment, and that patents act ei very much to the detri- ment of trade but while they existed it was iniprtait that they should D,.t be taken out so a, to hamper oiht-r persons engaged in the trade, and that they should in it,be supported merely for the purpose of u-ing different materials to produce the sallie result. This patent was altogether so vicious in point of view, that he should have decided against its validity at once, only that he wished to hear what evidence there was as to prior user of the materials claimed by the plaintiff, and not to di.-pu.-e of tbe case upon technical grounds alone, A man, in taking out a patent, was not a", liberty to make it EO extensive as to embarrass the trade and prevent persons from knowing what they might and what they might not use in the manufacture of any article. This plaintiff first took out a patent in 1865 for the use of mohair, but it was found that that could not be maintained, and it was allowed to expire. It was evident now that mohair had been in use long before 1865 for these purposes, so that it was an instance of a man trying to get an advantage by taking out a patent, which the public, who were always alarmed at the threats of legal proceedings, would rather submit to than be rendered liable for the heavy expenses of a law suit. There was no justification whatever for taking out the first patent. Then, in 1867, the plaintiff took out this patent for the use of Russian tops or any similar coarse wool in the manufacture of artificial hair, and al:,o for making furniture, upholstery and other like purposes.^ If this patent were sustained, it would be impossible for any one to use wool without the consent of the plaintiff for purposes for which it was used long before our g-andtathers were born. It. was now proved that wool d this kind had been used for many years before the date of the plaintiff's patent, and nothing was more unjos ifiable than for a man to take out a pate nt of this nature, which had the effect of embarrassing the trade, so that these defendants, who had carried on their business for so long a time, should hive found themselves put to the heavy ex- penses of a Chancery suit in order to prove their title to use what they had been in the habit of using before. It wai a gross breach of the privilege allowed to in- ventors, and was not a subject for a patent. A man could not take nut a pafect merely for the use of a well- known material in the manufacture of articles of every- day use, for otherwise there might be a patent every time a man employed any material that bad not before been used. There must be some invention applied in the manufacture to secure the validity of a patent. Oil the legal ground, therefore, as well as on the evidence that this sort of wool had been used before the date of the patent, he was cl-arlv of opinion that the patent was invalid. The plaintiff's conduct was wholly unjustifiable, for be must have well known that there had been a prior user of the fame material. He should, therefore, dismi-s the bill wi,h costs.

THE LATE LORD ARTHUR CLINTON.

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