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proof gallons contained therein, name of the distiller, location of the distillery, and are signed by the storekeeper and gauger on duty at the distillery. This stamp is merely used as a check, and does not represent a tax; the stamp consists of but one piece of paper about three by two inches, and is attached by paste or other adhesive material, and by tacks at the corner and center, by the gauger on duty at the distillery. This stamp (warehouse) has been in use from 1868 to the present time, and no change has been made in the construction of the same, the only changes being in the quality and kind of paper used and the designs of the engraving.
"The package is then removed to the bonded warehouse of the distillery, where it remains until the distiller files with the collector of the district a paper, called an entry for withdrawal; this paper is accompanied by the amount of the tax upon the spirits contained in the package; the collector thereupon fills out, signs, and forwards to the gauger the tax-paid stamp, which is a piece of paper nearly square, upon the face of which is engraved the body of the stamp, together with nine coupons, of which stamp and coupons, with the stub which remains in the books from which the stamp is cut, complainant's Exhibit Hollister Revenue Stamp is a copy. From 1868 until about 1871, this stamp, which has always been called the tax-paid stamp, was constructed g of two pieces of paper; before the stamp was printed, the paper of which the body of the stamp was composed was perforated with a round aperture, about one and a half inches in diameter; to the back of the paper was then attached, by paste or mucilage, a piece of tissue paper, completely covering said aper ture; the stamp was then printed, the engraving covering both the body of the paper and so much of the tissue paper as appears through the aperture. From about 1871 to 1875 the stamp was composed of but one piece of paper, the use of the tissue paper and the aperture having been abandoned. In August, 1871, there was added to the tax-paid stamp a piece of paper, which was pasted by its edges upon the back thereof, as shown in complainant's Exhibit Hollister Revenue Stamp. Stamps of the latter character have been in use from August, 1875, to this date.
"On receipt of the tax-paid stamps by the gauger, he proceeds to affix them to the head of the barrel, together with certain marks and brands; he, together with the storekeeper, having first signed the same at the places indicated in complainant's Exhibit Hollister Revenue Stamp. The gauger puts this stamp on the barrel by means of some adhesive material and tacks; he then cancels it by the use of a stencil-plate, imprinting across the face of the stamp and extending over each side upon the head of the barrel waved lines; he also imprints upon the head with a stencil-plate his name and official designation. The whole surface of the stamp is then varnished with a transparent varnish; no varnish can be used which is oily enough to affect the paste. The package is then removed from the warehouse and passes into the custody of the distiller or owner. If the owner desires to purify the contents of the package, it is then taken to the establishment of a duly authorized rectifier of distilled spirits. The rectifier then notifies the collector of the district that he desires to dump, for rectification, the contents of certain specified packages, whereupon the collector directs a gauger to proceed to the rectifying establishment and gauge the specified packages. When the packages are gauged, the gauger is required by regulations to cut from the tax-paid stamp a designated portion thereof, and transmit the same to the collector, with a report of his operations. The packages are then dumped into the tubs of the rectifier, and the identity of their contents lost. * The portion of the tax-paid stamp detached or cut and forwarded by the gauger, as heretofore described, includes the serial number of the stamp, the date on which the tax was paid, and the number of proof gallons; the number of the cask, the location of the warehouse, and the person or firm to whom delivered, and the signature of the collector; the part so cut out is over the paper back."
The employment of the paper backing in the stamp used by the appellant, whereby the part to be cut out is prevented from adhering to the head of the barrel, and the arrangement of a part of the stamp so as to indentify the package with that described in the stub, the removal of which destroys the stamp so that it cannot be used again, constitutes the alleged infringement of the first claim of the Locke patent, which covers every stamp within that description.
The counsel for the appellee describes "the Locke stamp as a combination of three parts: (1) a part which is designed to become a stub when the stamp proper is separated therefrom, and displays a serial number; (2) a constituent part of the stamp proper which is designed for permanent attachment to the barrel; (3) a constituent part of the stamp proper displaying the same identifying serial number as the stub, which part, after the stamp proper has been affixed to the barrel, bears such relation to the permanent part that it can be so removed therefrom as to retain its own integrity, but mutilates and thereby cancels the stamp by its removal." In this combination it will not be questioned that the first and second elements were well known, and that the third, so far as its contents are identical with those on the stub, is not new. The question turns on that feature of the third element where, by a removable part of the stamp proper, the contents of which indentify the stamp with the stub after the stamp has been attached, can be so removed as to retain its own integrity, but mutilates and thereby cancels the stamp by its removal. This is what we ascertain to be the precise idea embodied in the invention described and claimed in the patent, and which, although we find to be new in the sense that it had not been anticipated by any previous invention, of which it could therefore be declared to be an infringement, yet is not such an improvement as is entitled to be regarded in the sense of the patent laws as an invention.
In reaching this conclusion, we have allowed its due weight to the presumption in favor of the validity of the patent arising from the action of the patent-office in granting it; and we have not been unmindful of the fact, abundantly proven, and indeed not denied, that the adoption of the present tax-paid stamp, in lieu of that previously in use by the internal revenue bu reau, has proven its superior utility in the prevention of frauds upon the revenue. The testimony on that point of the commissioner of internal revenue from his official reports is quite conclusive. In his report for 1875, he mentions the adoption of "new regulations in regard to the use of tax-paid stamps, by which a portion of the stamp is cut out at the time of dumping and returned with the gauger's report," and says: "This effectually destroys the stamp and prevents its reuse, while, at the same time, a sufficient amount of the engraving is shown upon the slip to determine whether the stamp is genuine;" and, in 1876, that official reported that "the plan of requiring the return of a portion of the tax-paid stamps, whenever a package to which it is attached is dumped for rectification, has been found to be such a valuable prevention of fraud that it has been extended to include all stamps for rectified spirits and wholesale liquor dealers' stamps. These three varieties of stamps for distilled spirits are now prepared at a trifling additional cost, with a paper back affixed to each in such a way that the portion of the stamp containing all the important data can be cut therefrom and filed with the commissioner or collector, thus furnishing conclusive evidence of the destruction of the stamp, (rendering its reuse impossible,) and furnishing also evidence as to the contents of the package bearing the stamp. It is believed that this system affords the government a very effectual protection against the perpetrations of frauds in connection with the collection of the tax on distilled spirits." 15
Such an increased utility, beyond what had been attained by devices previously in use, in cases of doubt, is usually regarded as determining the question of invention. But in the present case we are not able to give it such effect. No change, it will be observed, was made in the character of the
stamp, so far as the relation between the stamp proper and the stub is concerned, nor in the identifying marks which constituted the written and printed matter upon both; and the expedient of using a paper backing which prevented the adhesion to the package of the part intended to be detached and removed, it is manifest would be adopted by any skilled person having that end in view. The idea of detaching that portion of the stamp, with the double effect of destroying the stamp by mutilation and preserving the evi. dence of the identity of the package on which it had been first placed in use, which is all that remains to constitute the invention, seems to us not to spring from that intuitive faculty of the mind put forth in the search for new results or new methods, creating what had not before existed, or bringing to light what lay hidden from vision; but, on the other hand, to be the suggestion of that common experience which arose spontaneously, and by a necessity of human reasoning, in the minds of those who had become acquainted with the circumstances with which they had to deal. Cutting out a portion of the stamp, as a means of defacing and mutilating it so as to prevent a second use, was matter of common knowledge and practice before the date of this patent; and cutting out a particular portion on which the identifying marks had been previously written or printed was simply cutting a stub from the stamp instead of cutting the stamp from the stub, as before. So that when the frequency and magnitude of the frauds upon the revenue, committed by the removal of tax-paid stamps from packages on which they had been originally placed by the officer to others surreptitiously substituted for them, or by emptying the packages of their original contents and fraudulently refilling them with spirits on which no tax had been paid, attracted the general attention of the revenue department, the answer to the problem of prevention was found by immediate inference from the existing regulations, in the adoption of the expedient now in question. As soon as the mischief became apparent, and the remedy was seriously and systematically studied by those competent to deal with the subject, the present regulation was promptly suggested and adopted; just as a skilled mechanic, witnessing the performance of a machine, inadequate by reason of some defect, to accomplish the object for which it had been designed, by the application of his common knowledge and experience perceives the reason of the failure and supplies what is obviously wanting. It is but the display of the expected skill of the calling, and involves only the exercise of the ordinary faculties of reasoning upon the materials supplied by a special knowledge, and the facility of manipulation which results from its habitual and intelligent practice; and is in no sense the creative work of that inventive faculty which it is the purpose of the constitution and the patent laws to encourage and reward. On this ground the decree of the circuit court is reversed, and the cause remanded, with directions to enter a decree dismissing the bill; and it is so ordered.
(113 U. S. 713)
Ex parte FISK, Petitioner.1
(March 2, 1885.)
1. STATE LAWS, WHEN RULES OF DECISION.
The principle that in actions at law the laws of the states shall be regarded as rules of decision in the courts of the United States, (section 721, Rev. St.) and that the practice, pleadings, and forms and modes of proceedings in such cases shall conform as near as may be to those of the courts of the states in which the courts sit, (section 914,) is applicable only where there is no rule on the same subject prescribed by act of congress, and where the state rule is not in conflict with any such law.
18. C. 19 Fed. Rep. 235.
2. SAME EXAMINATION OF Party to SUIT-NEW YORK STATUTE.
The statute of New York, which permits a party to a suit to be examined by his adversary as a witness at any time previous to the trial in an action at law, is in conflict with the provision of the Revised Statutes of the United States which enacts that "the mode of proof in the trial of actions at common law shall be by oral tes timony and examination of witnesses in open court, except as hereinafter provided." Section 861.
3. SAME-REV. ST. U. S. ?? 861, 863, 866, 867.
None of the exceptions afterwards found in sections 863, 866, and 867, provide for such examination of a party to the suit in advance of the trial as the statute of New York permits.
4. SAME-POWER OF UNITED STATES Court.
The courts of the United States sitting in New York have no power, therefore, to compel a party to submit to such an examination, and no power to punish him for a refusal to do so.
5. SAME-ORDER OF STATE COURT BEFORE REMOVAL.
Nor can the United States court enforce such an order made by a state court before the removal of the case into the circuit court of the United States.
6. SAME CONTEMPT-RELEASE-HABEAS CORPUS.
Where a person is in custody, under an order of the circuit court, for contempt in refusing to answer under such an order, this court will release him by writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the order of imprisonment was without the jurisdiction of that court.
Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus and Certiorari.
Wheeler H. Peckham, for petitioner. John R. Dos Passos, for respondent. MILLER, J. This is an application on the part of Clinton B. Fisk for a writ of habeas corpus, to be directed to the marshal of the Southern district of New York, in whose custody the petitioner is held under an order of the circuit court for that district. The history of the case which resulted in this order, so far as it is necessary to the decision of the matter before us, may be briefly stated as follows: Francis B. Fogg brought suit in the supreme court of the state of New York against Fisk to recover the sum of $63,250, on the allegation of false and fraudulent representations made by Fisk in the sale of certain mining stocks. In the progress of the suit, and before the trial, the plaintiff obtained from the court the following order: "Ordered, that the defendant, Clinton B. Fisk, be examined and his testimony and deposition taken as a party before trial, pursuant to sections 870, 871, 872, 873, etc., of the Code of Civil Procedure, and that for such purpose he personally be and attend before the undersigned, a justice of this court, at the chambers thereof, to be held in the new county court-house, in the said city of New York, on the thirty-first day of January, 1883, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon of that day." A motion to vacate this order was overruled, and the judgment finally affirmed by the court of appeals. Thereupon the defendant appeared before the court and submitted to a partial examination, answering some questions and objecting to others, until, pending one of the adjournments of the examination, he procured an order removing the case to the circuit court of the United States. In that court an order was made to continue the examination before a master, to whom the matter was referred. The defendant refusing to be sworn and declining to be examined, he was brought before the circuit court on an application for attachment for a contempt in refusing to obey the order.
Without disposing of this motion, the circuit court made another order, towit: "It is hereby ordered and adjudged that the motion to punish the said defendant for such contempt stand adjourned to the next motion day of this court, to-wit, on the twenty-eighth day of March, 1884. It is further ordered that the defendant Clinton B. Fisk, be, and he is hereby, directed and required to attend personally on the fourteenth day of March, 1884, before the Honorable ADDISON BROWN, one of the judges of this court, at a stated term thereof, at his chambers in the post-office building, in said city of New York, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon of that day; then and there, and on such
other days as may be designated, to be examined, and his testimony and deposition taken, and continued as a party before trial, pursuant to section 870 et seq. of the Code of Civil Procedure, and for the purposes mentioned in said order of January 12, 1883, and February 12, 1884, heretofore made in this action." The defendant appeared before the court in pursuance of this order, and, stating that he was advised by counsel that the court had no jurisdiction to require him to answer in this manner to the questions propounded to him by the counsel for plaintiff, he refused to do so. For this, on further proceeding, he was held by the court to be in contempt, and fined $500, and committed to the custody of the marshal until it was paid. It is to be relieved of this imprisonment that he prays here the writ of habeas corpus.
*The jurisdiction of this court is always challenged in cases of this general character, and often successfully. There can be no doubt of the proposition that the exercise of the power of punishment for contempt of their orders by courts of general jurisdiction is not subject to review by writ of error, or appeal to this court. Nor is there, in the system of federal jurisprudence, any relief against such orders, when the court has authority to make them, except through the court making the order, or possibly by the exercise of the pardoning power. This principle has been uniformly held to be necessary to the protection of the court from insults and oppressions while in the ordinary exercise of its duties, and to enable it to enforce its judgments, and orders necessary to the due administration of law, and the protection of the rights of suitors. When, however, a court of the United States undertakes, by its process of contempt, to punish a man for refusing to comply with an order which that court had no authority to make, the order itself, being without jurisdiction, is void, and the order punishing for the contempt is equally void. It is well settled now, in the jurisprudence of this court, that when the proceeding for contempt in such a case results in imprisonment, this court will, by its writ of habeas corpus, discharge the prisoner. It follows, necessarily, that on a suggestion by the prisoner that, for the reason mentioned, the order under which he is held is void, this court will, in the language of the statute, make "inquiry into the cause of the restraint of liberty." Section 752, Rev. St.
That the case as made by the petitioner comes, for the purposes of this inquiry, within the jurisdiction of this court, under the principles above mentioned, is established by the analogous cases. Ex parte Rowland, 104 U. S. 604; Ex parte Lange, 18 Wall. 163. But did the court transcend its jurisdiction in fining the petitioner for contempt? Or, rather, did it have the power to make the order requiring him to submit to the preliminary examination? For, if it had that power, it clearly could enforce obedience to the order by fine and imprisonment if necessary. The record of the entire proceeding in this branch of the case, both in the state court and the circuit court, is before us, and we are thus enabled to form an intelligent opinion on the question presented.
The power of the court to continue the examination of the defendant, after the removal of the case into the court of the United States, is asserted on two grounds: (1) That the order for his examination, having been made by the supreme court of New York, under its rightful jurisdiction, while the case was pending in it, is still a valid order, partially executed, which accompanies the case into the circuit court, and that in that court it cannot be reconsidered, but must be enforced. (2) That if this be not a sound proposition, the circuit court made an independent order of its own for the examination of the defendant, which order is justified by the principle that the Code of Civil Procedure of New York, under which both orders were made, is a part of the law governing the courts of the United States sitting within that state.
We will inquire into the latter proposition first, for the points to be considered in it lie at the foundation of the other also. The general doctrine that