United States Gypsum Company v. National Gypsum Company

PETITIONER: United States Gypsum Company
RESPONDENT: National Gypsum Company
LOCATION: Kingsley Books, Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 11
DECIDED BY:
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 352 US 457 (1957)
ARGUED: Nov 05, 1956 / Nov 06, 1956
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States Gypsum Company v. National Gypsum Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 05, 1956 in United States Gypsum Company v. National Gypsum Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 06, 1956 in United States Gypsum Company v. National Gypsum Company

Earl Warren:

United States Gypsum (Inaudible) Company et al.

Judge Rosenman.

Samuel I. Rosenman:

When the Court recessed yesterday, I believe I had completed discussing the -- the jurisdiction of the court below to do what it did in this case, the power of the court below.

I should now like -- like to address myself to the merits of what the court below did.

The first thing that the court below did was to strike down Counts I and II of the Iowa suits.

We think that there -- that there can be no doubt about the proper use of discretion in doing that.

The Court did it on the ground that those two Counts clearly violate Article IV of the decree which had to judge these patent licenses to be illegal, null and void.

And being illegal, null and void, the Court said that you could not bring suit upon them.

The Court did not say as Judge Bromley intimated yesterday or said yesterday that these two Counts were struck down because of fresh misuse.

They were not, and I shall ask Your Honors to look at the conclusion in a few moments with respect to those two Counts, they were struck down not because they were brought, they were struck down because they flew directly in the face of the decree.

And the United States Government is very much interested in this and said below contrary to what Judge Bromley said -- said below and repeat here that they are very much interested in protecting the decree and therefore, they joined with us not only in sustaining the jurisdiction of the Court but in the exercise of its discretion.

Harold Burton:

Did I -- did I understand you to say that this Court had held this practice were invalid?

Samuel I. Rosenman:

The patent licenses -- the patent licenses, the license agreement.

Harold Burton:

The license agreement?

Samuel I. Rosenman:

Yes, sir, under which Counts I and II were brought, not the patents -- the patent -- the patent agreements.

All that this Court held was that the United States couldn't contest the patents if it wished to but that does not involve in this appeal.

What the Court said was --

Harold Burton:

Then we're to assume that they are the -- of course, there are valid patents under that statement.

Samuel I. Rosenman:

Well --

Harold Burton:

At least they haven't been --

Samuel I. Rosenman:

-- those are in dispute.

Harold Burton:

-- they haven't been declared invalid.

Samuel I. Rosenman:

They have not.

That is correct, sir.

They have not been declared invalid.

But the license agreements have been declared to be illegal, null and void.

And the United States Government is very much interested in protecting its decree which adjudged these patent licenses, these patent licenses to be illegal, null and void and did not take the position that they would not interfere or intervene in the case below because this was a private litigation.

Felix Frankfurter:

Let me -- let me put what you've just said into different or unequivocal language.

You're saying that even though the suit that had been brought by the USG (Inaudible) had explicitly disavowed any right under the -- under the assignment under the license and said they merely sue for quantum meruit, you say that the decree would have been just affixed.

Samuel I. Rosenman:

Yes, sir.