U.S. Supreme Court
French v. Carter, 137 U.S. 239 (1890)
French v. Carter
Argued November 12, 1890
Decided November 24, 1890
137 U.S. 239
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Letters patent No. 244,224, granted to Hamline Q. French, July 12, 1881, for an improvement in "roofs for vaults" are invalid in view of the state of the art, for want of patentable invention, it requiring only mechanical skill to pass to the patented device from what existed before, the question being one of degree only as to the size of the component stones.
A prior foreign publication is competent as evidence in regard to the state of the art, and as a foundation for the inquiry whether it required invention to pass from a structure set forth in the publication to the patented structure.