Bill of Complaint


On May 23, 1903, the following suit was filed in the US Circuit Court for the District of Indiana.  The original is in the files at Minnetrista.  The legalese has been condensed to save space and make for easier reading.


Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Company brings this Bill of Complaint against Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company.  Your Orator complains and says:

1. Wilbur Fetters, of Philadelphia, was the inventor of certain new and useful improvements in glass pressing machines.

2. Said Wilbur Fetters did make application for Letters Patent for said invention.  Letters Patent were granted, being numbered 602,636.

3. On September 30, 1899, said Wilbur Fetters assigned the title to said Letters Patent to the Orator.  Your Orator is now the sole and exclusive owner of said Letter Patent.

4. Your Orator has caused the improvements to be extensively applied to practical use and has expended large sums of money in said improvements.

5. Defendant was duly notified of the Letters Patent, yet the Defendant has unlawfully made certain machines which embody the invention.

6. Defendant has realized great profits and advantages which should and would have been accrued by your Orator.

7. Your Orator fears that said Defendant will continue to unlawfully make and use machines embodying the invention and thereby will cause irreparable injury to your Orator.

8. Your Orator prays that the said Defendant be perpetually enjoined and restrained by an injunction from making or using the said improvement described in said Letters Patent; that the unlawful manufacture of such machines be decreed to be an infringement of said Letters Patent; that the Defendant pay over unto your Orator the gains, profits and advantages which it has derived by said infringement, and also the damages which your Orator has sustained.

9. Your Orator prays that a temporary or provisional injunction be issued during the pendency of this suit.


Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Co.

By J. L. McCulloch, president

By J. Wood Wilson, sec’y


What resolution ever became of the lawsuit, regrettably, is not contained in the files.  However, we do know that eighteen months later, on November 19, 1904, Ball Brothers bought out the Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Co.  Whether the lawsuit was a factor in the purchase will likely never be known.


Richard H. Cole, Jr.

© 2003 Minnetrista