MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
While patent cases are usually disposed of upon bill, answer, and proof, there is no objection, if the patent be manifestly invalid upon its face, to the point being raised on demurrer, and the case being determined upon the issue so formed. We have repeatedly held that a patent may be declared invalid for want of novelty, though no such defence be set up in the answer. Dunbar v. Myers, 94 U.S. 187; Slawson v. Grand Street Railroad, 107 U.S. 649; Brown v. Piper, 91 U.S. 37.
The patent in question is for the combination of, (1) a fixed or stationary building; (2) two railway tracks; (3) an elevating apparatus; (4) elevator hopper scales, having a fixed or stationary hopper, provided with a valve or slide in its bottom; (5) a discharge spout, arranged for discharging the grain directly from the hopper into a car.
The second claim has the same combination duplicated, with the addition of a horizontal conveyor; the chutes JJ having therein doors or valves, and the slides or doors OO.
Suppose, for instance, it were old to run a railroad track into a station or depot for the reception and discharge of passengers, it certainly would not be patentable to locate such station between two railroad tracks for the reception of passengers on both sides, and to add to the accommodations a ticket office, a newspaper stand, a restaurant, and cigar stand, or the thousand and one things that are found in buildings of
Not a new function or result is suggested by the combination in question. The cars run into the building on railway tracks, as they have done ever since railways were invented. The building is fixed and stationary, as buildings usually are. It is no novelty that it should contain an elevating device, and that the latter should raise the grain to the hopper scale, and should discharge it either into a bin or a vessel, or into another car. In principle it makes no difference which.
In fact, the combination claimed is a pure aggregation, and the decree of the court dismissing the bill is, therefore,