LEGAL VICTORY FOR NEW YORK.
By a decision just handed down by the United States Circuit court, the city of New York is saved from paying large damages in the long pending patent suit brought by the Bragg Manufacturing company. On January 4, 1876, a patent was issued to Robert Bragg for a mechanism operated automatically to utilise the force accumulated by the motion of the gong hammer striking the gong in fire engine houses so as to effect the release of the horses from their stalls. Because a device of the same sort was installed in this city years ago, the Bragg Manufacturing company declared that it was an infringement of its patent rights, and, having previously won similar suits in Stockton and Terre Haute, on June 15, 1891, instituted a suit in equity in the United States Circuit court of this district, claiming large damages. The contention on the part of the city was that there had been no infringement, as the complaining company was not the pioneer in the invention. It was shown that as far back as 1850 a patent for operating by accumulated force was granted, and that in 1869 Flanders had a device for freeing horses in a fire engine house in Boston, and in 1872 Higgins, engineer of company No. 6, at Albany, N. Y., and Bailey, of the steam fire engine Hugh Rankin, had released their horses with automatic devices similar to that described in the Bragg patent of 1876. Deciding the contention, the decision says among other things: “This controversy is unquestionably determinative upon the presentation of new facta After careful consideration, I have reached the conclusion that the Higgins and Bailey devices, though unpatented, were in successful operation and use prior to the invention in suit, and that the city of New York has established such use by a fair preponderance of the evidence and in accordance with the established rule. The bill is dismissed, with costs.”