The Hartford-Fairmount Decision in suit brought by Homer Brooke

[Trade Journal]

Publication: National Glass Budget

Pittsburgh, PA, United States
vol. 34, no. 43, p. 1,8,9, col. 1-3,1,4,1-2


HARTFORD-FAIRMONT DECISION.


The decision handed down in the District Court of the United States, District of Connecticut, on February 18, in the suit brought by the Homer Brooke Glass Co. and the Owens Bottle Machine Co. against the Hartford-Fairmont Co. is of prime importance to the glass bottle trade, and for this reason eminent patent attorneys represented the contestants. The plaintiffs were represented by Attorneys Frederick P. Fish, of Boston, and Charles Neave, of New York City; the defendants by Attorneys John P. Bartlett and Thomas Ewing, of New York. District Judge Thomas, before whom the case was tried, held the Brooke patent valid, but he decides that the defendant does not infringe and dismisses the bill. "The evidence is conclusive that the Brooke machine and the defendant's machine are radically different in theory and operation, and they certainly are in no way similar in appearance or operation," says the trial judge. Full text of the decision follows:

This is the usual bill in equity alleging that Letters Patent No. 723,983 were granted to Homer Brooke on the 31st day of March, 1903, upon an application filed March 3, 1898, and charging the defendant with infringement, and praying for an injunction and an accounting. The defenses are invalidity and non-infringement.

The invention, as stated in the specification, relates to "devices for cutting or separating molten material, and especially is designed for cutting a stream of flowing molten glass into unformed molten masses of predetermined quantity and distributing the same into suitable receptacles."

The bill charges infringment [sic] infringement of claims 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9, but at final hearing counsel for plaintiffs withdrew consideration as to claims 1, 2, 6, 7 and 9 and now relies on claims 3, 4 and 5, which are as follows:

3. An automatic device for cutting or separating a flowing stream of molten material into unformed molten masses, the same comprising a cutting-knife and means for moving the same, and means for discharging the said molten masses into suitable receptacles.

4. An automatic device for cutting or separating a flowing stream of molten material into unformed molten masses of predetermined quantity, the same comprising a knife and means for moving the same, a plurality of receptacles, and means for discharging the said molten masses into said receptacles.

5. An automatic device for cutting or separating a flowing stream of molten material into unformed molten masses, the same comprising a knife and means for moving the same, a plurality of receptacles, means for discharging the said molten masses into said receptacles, and means for intermittently moving said receptacles into position to receive the cut-off masses.

In a suit brought by the Homer Brooke Glass Co. vs. Schram Glass Manufacturing Company, 249 Fed 228, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held the claims here in issue to be valid, and the decision in that case is sufficient answer to that portion of the defendant's answer which alleges invalidity, especially in view of the fact that no new evidence of such controlling importance as to compel a different conclusion has been here offered in support of the alleged invalidity.

So that infringement is the only question to be here discussed and decided.

The decision here to be given will be contained in the answers to two questions. First Does the defendant treat a flowing stream of molten glass? and second, does the defendant's cutting device cut, support and discharge or cut and discharge the cut-off portion of the molten masses? These questions will be considered in their order.

e can do no better here, in explaining briefly the purpose of the Brooke device and the difficulties of prior methods in manufacturing glass which Brooke sought to overcome, than to quote from the opinion of Judge Evans in the Schram case, supra. On pages 228 and 229 he said:

The patent to Brooke relates to an apparatus for cutting and distributing molten materials, particularly glass, and is of particular value to the manufacturer of fruit jars, bottles and other similar glass objects used by the public in large quantities, the cost of which constitutes an important factor in their successful manufacture. While the art of making glass articles is old, it was, prior to Brooke's device, deficient in a particular, an under