There have been two very important patent cases recently tried before two separate U. S. District Courts; we allude to the famous India Rubber Case, Goodyear versus Day, and the Revolving Fire-Arms case of Colt /ersus Allen. These trials have impressed us forcibly with the conviction that our U. S. Courts of Chancery are founded upon a wretched system. They are termed " Courts of Equity," —the better name for them would be " Courts for the benefit of Lawyers." The ease of Goodyear versus Day, for the infringement of V a patent for the manufacture of vulcanized in- dia rubber goods, has been before our U. S. Courts for some years, and it has only been brought to a conclusion within a few weeks. And yet, although an injunction has been granted against H. H. Day, we cannot strictly call it " a conclusion of the whole matter," for the defendant has published a card, stating that, under the advice of his counsel, he will appeal from the decision of the District Judges to the Supreme Court at Washington. This case may be banded from court to court, for some years to come, before it is finally concluded. The Supreme Court at Washington may reverse the decision of the District Court, and then, atter that, a long trial by Jury will have to put the cap on the whole ot the circumlocutions of the courts and the speeches of counsel. The first thing that is done by a patentee to get satisfaction for the infringement of a patent, is to apply to a U. S. Court for an injunction to restrain such and such a person or persons from infringing his patent. Notice is given to the alleged infringer of this application, and he at onse employs counsel, and if the patent is an important one. " lawyers of the highest fees" are engaged, and on the plaintiff's side the most forcible arguments are adduced to prove the defendant to be a pirate, while, upon the defendant's side, as plausible logic is poured forth to prove the plaintiff a thief. For this mdia rubber case the great Daniel Webster was employed by Goodyear, andthe renowned Rutus ChoatebyDay; other assistant and eminent counsel were also employed by both parties, arid the speeches which they made to enlighten the Judges, occupied a number of days. After they were all made, these same jud ges took a most patient view of the whole subject, and came to the conclusion that they would make a short day's work of it, and hence they at once shut up Day from working any longer on his own account. We do not know, but it is our opinion, that this case must have cost each of the parties $20,000, at least, for lawyers'fees alone. Now, is this all that our republican simplicity has wrought us, in obtaining justice for alleged violation of rights? Is it not possible to erect a system of United States Jurisprudence of a more economical, conclusive, and satisfactory character than this? We think it is. While 'wMatfMtmffisf, wo BtyitLt.Viat it in Burster to pull down than build up, and we do not like to disturb existing systems for new ones, until good evidence is given that the evils will be remedied and beneficial results follow. It is our humble opinion that if our District Judges, in reference to patents, would at once, when any injunction is prayed for,, order a trial by Jury, without hearing any long arguments in equity at all, the ends of justice would be more promptly and satisfactorily obtained than by holding Courts of Equity, for the benefit ot enlightening the Judges_as to their duty in the case. We will not, at present, enter into a further discussion ot this subject, although we have much upon our mind to say; at some other time we will return to iS; and merely say, in conclusion, that duty compels us to keep it before the people.
This article was originally published with the title "Important Patent Cases" in Scientific American 8, 6, 45 (October 1852)