WADE v. LAWDER(1897)
Wm. W. Fry, for defendants in error.
Mr. Chief Justice FULLER delivered the opinion of the court.
On the 27th of July, 1891, Wade and Ringo entered into the following contract:
The application for letters patent was then pending, and, [165 U.S. 624, 627] under an assignment of his interest in the invention by Ringo to Wade, a patent issued September 22, 1891, to Wade and Buckner, Ringo's co-owner.
The gravamen of the bill was that plaintiff was induced to enter into the contract by certain false and fraudulent representations by defendant as to the utility and value of the invention in question, and also that various matters and things were fraudulently omitted from the contract by the defendant. Any other grounds of complaint indicated are unimportant. It was averred that the bed was worthless, and in a replication plaintiff alleged 'that the patent, as set out in defendant's answer as having been issued to C. Wade and J. C. Buckner, at the instance of said Ringo, is void, for the reason that the said patent so issued has neither novelty of invention nor utility of purpose.' But the utility of the invention was only involved on the question of the falsity of the alleged representations.
The circuit court of Audrain county held, upon the evidence, that the contract was exactly as both parties desired and intended it to be; that the charges of fraud were not substantiated; that it did not appear that the folding bed was wholly worthless; and that as plaintiff was experienced in the sale of the article, had every opportunity to test it, and the opinion of friends and of an expert to aid him, had advised and suggested changes and supposed improvements to defendant during the working out of the idea, inspected the models at various times, proposed the trade first himself, and again a second time, and at the time of the trade knew or ought to have known far more about folding beds than defendant, who was wholly ignorant of them prior to the time he began work on the invention, representations as to the utility of the improvement, even if in fact untrue, would not constitute sufficient ground for rescission. In these conclustions the supreme court of the state concurred. 122 Mo. 322, 25 S. W. 901.
The general rule is that 'where a suit is brought on a contract of which a patent is the subject-matter, either to enforce such contract, or to annul it, the case arises on the contract, or out of the contract, and not under the patent laws.' [165 U.S. 624, 628] Manufacturing Co. v. Hyatt, 125 U.S. 46 , 8 Sup. Ct. 756, and cases cited; Machine Co. v. Skinner, 139 U.S. 293 , 11 sup. Ct. 528; In re Ingalls, 139 U.S. 548 , 11 Sup. Ct. 652; Marsh v. Nichols, Shepard & Co., 140 U.S. 344 , 11 Sup. Ct. 798.
We are unable to discover in this case that plaintiff specially set up and claimed, at the proper time and in the proper way, any right under the laws of the United States, or that any such right was denied him by the decision of the state courts. The controversy was in respect to the rescission of a contract for the exchange of an invention for a stock of merchandise. The decree rested on grounds broad enough to sustain it without reference to any federal question. Application for letters patent was pending when the contract was entered into, and letters patent were issued, so that Wade obtained a half interest therein, as provided. The state courts held, for the reasons given, that Wade got what he had bargained for, and was not deceived or misled in the premises. Under these circumstances, the writ of error cannot be maintained. Rev. St. 709.