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Opinion of the Court.
he did the work, an old graveled street, and also that rock was encountered in part of it. It also appears that nearly the whole of the work was done under the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and that the prices certified by the engineer and paid Talty were what are commonly known as “board rates, and that said allowances were not made under any mistake of fact, but that they were the prices universally paid to other contractors doing similar work at the time.
“I am therefore of the opinion that my former report should be amended by striking out the set-off therein stated, and finding a balance due Talty of $825.08, with interest from March 1, 1876. All of which is respectfully submitted.
“ DAN DONOVAN. “Correct copy. A. MCKENZIE,
“ Acting Auditor, District of Columbia.”
The objections to the reports of the referee are untenable. It is impossible, however, to quote the reports without unduly extending this opinion. It is enough to say they were stated to have been founded upon depositions of witnesses and “original sheets of measurements taken from the field book of the engineer measuring the work.” They exhibited the measurements and the quantity of material in tabulated form. Other papers were used and figures taken from original books in the possession of the District. The referee reported :
“It was agreed at the hearing that the papers heretofore filed in this case have disappeared. Search in the office of the attorney for the District, and at the house of Mr. Donovan, former referee, has failed to discover anything of these papers. It is not charged that their disappearance is due to any fault of the claimant.
“In these circumstances the referee is satisfied to rely upon the memoranda in the sheets just referred to."
The report also set out contract No. 828 and its extension, and an itemized account of the work done and materials furnished, certified by the assistant engineer of the District.
It is not necessary to set out at length the objections to the report and those to the rulings of the court in refusing certain
Statement of the Case.
findings. We have examined and considered them and are of the opinion that there was no error in the rulings of the court, and the judgment is
RUSSELL v. UNITED STATES.
APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.
No. 242. Argued April 16, 1901.-Decided May 27, 1901.
This was an action at law against the United States upon an alleged im
plied contract to pay for the use of a patented invention belonging to the plaintiffs in error, in rifles used by the Government which had been purchased under contract from a Norwegian Company. It was conceded that a contract must be established in order to entitle appellants to recover, as the Court of Claims has no jurisdiction of demands against the United States founded on torts. Held, that on the facts proved in this case no such contract was proved against the United States, and that if the petitioners have suffered injury, it has been through the infringement of their patent, and not by a breach of contract.
This was an action for $100,000, brought in the Court of Claims by the appellants, upon an implied contract, asserted to have arisen from the use by the United States of Krag-Jorgensen rifles, which rifles contained, it is claimed, certain features, which were the invention of Russell, one of the appellants. The United States demurred to the petition, and the demurrer was sustained.
The facts as presented by the petition are as follows: That on or about August 3, 1880, letters patent No. 230,823, for certain new and useful improvements in firearms, were granted to Russell, and that he and Livermore are now the owners of such invention.
That pursuant to an advertisement by a board of officers convened under the act of Congress, approved February 24, 1881, to select a magazine rifle for the service of the United States, Russell submitted to said board an operative magazine rifle
Statement of the Case.
made in accordance with his letters patent, and on or about December 16, 1890, submitted to another board of officers, convened for like purpose, the same rifle. The officers made reports on the rifle, which reports, it is alleged, may be found in certain Congressional documents designated by number and of the session of Congress of whose records they constitute a part.
On the 15th of September, 1892, a second board recommended the adoption of the magazine rifle presented to it by the KragJorgensen Gevaerkompagni of Christiania, Norway, and the rifle was provisionally adopted by the War Department for the use of the United States Army. The rifle is termed in the petition “ Army rifle.”
The petition recites a correspondence between Russell and the Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army, giving its substance, which may be omitted, as the letters are hereafter set out in full.
It is also alleged that on June 7, 1893, the Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni and the United States, represented by Brigadier General D. W. Flagler, United States Army, Chief of Ordnance, under the direction and by the authority of the Secretary of War, entered into a contract, whereby that company granted to the United States the right to manufacture an unlimited number of said “ Army rifles.” As much of the contract as we consider important is hereinafter set out.
That the United States did proceed to manufacture said Army rifles, and introduce them for use in the United States Army, and since January 1, 1894, commenced to account, and has ever since accounted, to the Krag-Jorgensen Company for royalties, at the rate named in the contract, and paid certain sums on account thereof. The company failed to furnish an indemnifying bond, but the United States, with consent of the company, withheld a certain amount of the royalties, which aggregated on or about June 16, 1895, the sum of $25,000. The company then gave a bond with sureties, and the said sum was paid to it. The bond was conditioned as follows:
“That whereas the Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni of Christiania, Norway, has, on the seventh day of June, 1893, entered into a contract with the United States, represented by Brigadier General D. W. Flagler, Chief of Ordnance, for
Statement of the Case.
granting unto the United States full rights to manufacture an unlimited number of the Krag Jorgensen magazine firearms, for the military service of the United States, under the American patents Nos. 429,811, of June 10, 1890, and 492,212, of February 21, 1893, granted to 0. W. J. Krag and E. Jorgensen, during the lifetime of the said patents, and by the said contract covenanted to indemnify the United States, and all persons acting under them, for all liability on account of any patent rights granted by the United States which may affect the right to manufacture therein contracted for, and further covenanted and agreed to furnish, before the payment of any royalties by the United States, a good and sufficient bond in the penal sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, to protect and defend the United States against all suits and claims by any and all persons for infringement on their inventions in the manufacture of said arms, and to pay all judgments that may be obtained against the United States for the same:
“Now, therefore, if the said Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni shall and will in all respects indemnify the United States, and all persons acting under them, for all liability on account of any patent rights granted by the United States which may affect the right to manufacture granted by said contract, and shall and will fully protect and defend the United States against all suits and claims by any and all persons for infringement of their inventions in the manufacture of said arms, and pay all judgments that may be obtained against the United States, or any officer or agent thereof for the same, then the above obligation shall be void and of no effect; otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.'
It is alleged that the United States manufactured and used upwards of 75,000 “Army rifles” containing Russell's invention, and derived a profit thereby of $1 on each rifle.
The petition concluded as follows:
“That neither the said contract, entered into by the United States and the Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni (Exhibit L) nor the said bond of indemnity delivered by the Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni to the United States, did provide the claimants with a remedy against the said Krag-Jorgensen Gevaerkompagni,
Statement of the Case.
for the use made by the United States of the claimants' said patented invention in accordance with the first alternative proposed by the Ordnance Department in its said letter to the claimant Russell, bearing date November 18, 1892 (Exhibit B).
“That there is to be implied from the use by the United States of the claimants' said patented invention, as herein before related, a contract, whereby the United States agreed to pay to the claimants reasonable compensation for the same, and whereby the amount of such compensation was to be ascertained by means of a suit to be brought by the claimants in this court, in accordance with the second alternative proposed in the said letter (Exhibit B), and that the sum of $100,000 would be reasonable compensation for the said use, and that the United States has failed to pay the claimants the said sum of $100,000, or any sum or sums whatsoever for or on account of the said use, although duly requested thereunto.
“The claimants are the only persons owning or interested in the claim above set forth, and no assignment or transfer of the said claim or of any part thereof or interest therein has been made. The claimants are justly entitled to receive and recover from the United States the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), after allowing all just credits and offsets. The claimants have always borne true allegiance to the government of the United States, and have not in any way aided, abetted or given encouragement to rebellion against the said government, and they believe the facts hereinabove stated to be true.
“Wherefore the claimants pray for judgment against the United States in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), and for such further relief as this honorable court may be entitled to grant, both at law and in equity, in the premises."
The following is the correspondence:
“ EXHIBIT A.
“WASHINGTON, D. C., November 16, 1892. “To the Chief of Ordnance, U. S. Army.
“Sir: In the interest of Major Wm. R. Livermore, U.S. Army,