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Opinion of the Court.

Upon the subjec; of a licensee suing his own patentee the Chief Justice observed : “A mere licensee cannot sue strangers who infringe. In such cases redress is obtained through or in the name of the patentee or his assignee. Here, however, the p:1 tentee is the infringer, and, as he cannot sue bimself, wie licensee is powerless, so far as the courts of the United States ile concerned, unless he can sie in lois own name. A court of equity looks to the substance rather than form. When it has jurisdiction of parties it grants the appropriate relief without regard to whether they come as plaintiff or defendant. In this case the person who should have protected the plaintifl' against all infringements has become himself the infringer.'

White v. Rankin, 144 V. S. 629, was a bill by a patentee for infringement, to which there was answer setting up an agreement between the plaintiff and one of the defendants to assign to him an interest in the patent on certain conditions, which it was alleged were performed, and certain other matters which it was alleged gave the defendants the right to make, us and sell the patented invention. The case was tried upon a stipu. lation admitting that defendants had made and sold the

pa tented intentions, and that a certain written agreement between the plaintiff and one of the defenılants had been made as above stated. The Circuit Court entered a decree dismissing the bill, which was reversed by this court. * It” (the court, "uppears," said Mr. Justice Blatchford, "to have dismissed the bill on the simple ground that the defendant set up a contract of license from White. The bill being purely a bill for infringement, founded upon patents, what was set up by the defendants was set up as a defence and as showing the lawful right in them to do what they had done, and as a ground for the dismissal of the bill because they had not infringed the patents.” The decree was not one upon the facts of the case, but was simply a decree that the court had no jurisdiction to try the case.

The subject matter of the action, as set forth in the bill, gave the court jurisdiction, and exclusive jurisdiction, to try it. All of the parties to the suit were citizens of California, and if jurisdiction did not exist under the patent laws it did not exist at all. “The Circuit Court found nothing as to the existence or

Opinion of the Court.

validity of the contract, decree or deed mentioned in the stipulation. The stipulation provides that at the hearing the contract, complaint, answer, decree and deed set forth in the stipulation may be offered in evidence, subject to such objections as might be urged against the originals thereof, The stipulation further states that the defendants do not admit that anything is due to the plaintiff from Thompson, and that they do admit that nothing had been paid by Thompson to the plaintiff under the decree of the state court of August 26, 188+, and since the making thereof. All these matters and questions ought to have been adjudicated by the Circuit Court before it could find ground to determine whether or not it should dismiss the bill. Until it had so adjudicated those questions the decision in the case of Hartell v. Tilghman could not apply."

The cases in the Circuit Courts and Courts of Appeal are too numerous to be analyzed, or even cited. One of the most recent and satisfactory is that of the Atherton Machine Co. v. Atwood-Morrison Co., 102 Fed. Rep. 949, in which it was broadly held that a suit in which the relief sought is an injunction and a recovery of damages for the infringement of a patent is one arising under the patent laws of the United States, although it incidentally involves a determination of the question of the ownership of the patent, which was claimed by both complainant and defendant under separate assignments from the patentee. All the cases cited herein are reviewed and the jurisdiction sustained.

The difficulty with the defendant's position in the case under consideration is that it apparently leaves the plaintiff without an adequate remedy. Defendant has broken no express covenant of the contract, since it has made no covenant. It has simply ignored the existence of the contract and granted a license to another party. It is difficult to see what remedy is available to the plaintiff in a state court that would not involve the right of the defendant to use the patent. In other words, it would be an ordinary suit for infringement in which the Federal courts would alone have jurisdiction. Whether it sued at law or in equity, its damages would be such as are

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Opinion of the Court.



usual in cases of infringement, and the only injunction it could obtain would be against the further use of the invention.

In any suit that could be brought the title of the plaintiff to sue must be put in issue, and, that being the title to the patent, is put in issue in every suit for infringement. We held in Pratt v. Paris Light & Coke Co., 168 U. S. 255, with respect to an action in a state court, which involved the question whether the patents were void and an infringement upon prior patents, that this did not necessarily oust the state court of its jurisdic

and by parity of reasoning we hold in this case that the mere fact that the suit may involve the existence of the license does not oust the court of jurisdiction of a suit for the infringement of a patent.

While we do not intend to allow the jurisdiction of the Fed: eral courts to be invoked primarily for the determination of the respective rights of parties to a contract concerning patents, yet when the bill is an ordinary one for an infringement and the answer puts in issue the title of the plaintiff to sue, we think the jurisdiction is not ousted by the mere allegation that the license has been revoked and that the court is at liberty to go on and determine that fact. We regard this question as conclusively settled in Littlefield v. Perry, 21 Wall. 205, and White v. Rankin, 144 U. S. 628, and have no disposition to disturb it.

The decree of the Circuit Court is, therefore,
Reversed, and the case remanded for further proceedings oon-

sistent with this opinion.

MR. JUSTICE Gray did not sit in this case or participate in the decision.

Statement of the Case.




No. 478. Argued January 7, 1902.-Decided May 6, 1902.

The power to exclude or expel aliens is vested in the political departments

of the Government, to be regulated by treaty or by act of Congress, and to be executed by the executive authority according to such regulations, except so far as the judicial department is authorized by treaty or by statute, or is required by the Constitution, to intervene. And this is true

of the privilege of transit. By the treaty between the United States and China, of 1894, the privilege

of transit across the territory of the United States could only be enjoyed subject to such regulations of the Government of the United States as

might be necessary to prevent the privilege from being abused. The treaty, in recognizing the privilege and providing that it should con

tinue, proceeded on the ground of its existence and continuance under governmental regulations, and no act of Congress was required to carry

it into effect. Under existing regulations the action of the collector of customs in refus.

ing transit cannot be interfered with by the courts.

This was a petition to the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition represented that the petitioner was a citizen of the Empire of China, and a resident of Guatemala in the Republic of Mexico, and was travelling to that place when interrupted in his journey as afterwards described; that on August 24, 1901, he purchased, for the sum of 183 Mexican dollars, from the agent of the Japanese steamship company of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha at Hong Kong in China, passage thence to San José de Guatemala in Mexico, and received from said agent al ticket for passage on the steamship Nippon Maru to the port of San Francisco, and an order upon the San Francisco agent of said company for a steerage ticket from San Francisco tu San José de Guatemala ; that upon arriving in the port of San Francisco he was, on September 19, 1901, examined by a customs inspector, his baggage and private papers opened, and his

Statement of the Case.

person searched ; that, after the examination of the petitioner, the collector of customs at the port made an order of deportation, denying him the privilege of transit, and he was, by virtue of that order, detained by the agent of the steamship company in a frame building on the Pacific Mail dock at San Francisco, and, unless released by the court, would be deported and sent back to China; that the petitioner was not making application to enter the United States, or to pass in transit through the territory thereof, but was merely a passenger en route for a foreign port, and touching at the port of San Francisco while on his journey along the usual course of travel, and for the purpose of transshipping to another vessel; that the order under which he was held was illegal and void, and not authorized by any law of the United States, or by any treaty between the United States and the Empire of China; and that the collector of customs had no authority under the law to examine or to confine the petitioner.

The District Attorney, by leave of court, intervened in behalf of the United States, and suggested that the petitioner was a native of the Empire of China, and a laborer by occupation, and before the filing of his petition arrived at San Francisco from Hong Kong in transit, through the territory of the United States, for the Republic of Mexico; that the collector of customs for the port of San Francisco, after careful and due investigation, bad decided that he was satisfied that the petitioner did not intend in good faith to continue his voyage through the territory of the United States to the Republic of Mexico, and had for that reason denied him the privilege further to continue his journey through the territory of the United States, and had ordered him deported to China ; and that the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner, or over the subject matter of this proceeding.

The parties submitted the case to the decision of the court upon the following facts : “ The petitioner is a subject of the Empire of China. He arrived at the port of San Francisco on the Japanese steamship Nippon Maru, the manifest of which vessel states that he intended to go to San José de Guatemala. Petitioner herein also alleges that that was his intended destina

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