A-4932, OCTOBER 14, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 378

A-4932: Oct 14, 1924

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PATENTS - ROYALTIES WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OF A STEAMSHIP COMPANY TRANSPORTING TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES WAS CONSULTED AS TO AND RENDERED ASSISTANCE IN EVOLVING DISTINCTIVE SHIPPING TICKETS FOR THE SEGREGATION OF THE BAGGAGE OF TROOPS. THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT TO HIM EITHER ON THE BASIS OF SERVICE RENDERED. OR FOR SO MUCH OF HIS IDEA AS WAS FINALLY USED. WAS MOVED OVERSEAS. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS NO LEGAL OBLIGATION ON THE UNITED STATES TO PAY EITHER FOR THE SERVICES IN EVOLVING THE GROUP SYSTEM OF SHIPPING TICKETS OR FOR THE IDEA WHICH WAS THE BASIS OF SUCH SYSTEM. CONSIDERABLE DIFFICULTY WAS EXPERIENCED BY DEBARKATION QUARTERMASTERS IN SEGREGATING THE BAGGAGE AND OTHER IMPEDIMENTA OF THE VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND FORWARDING SAME TO THE PROPER DESTINATION.

A-4932, OCTOBER 14, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 378

PATENTS - ROYALTIES WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OF A STEAMSHIP COMPANY TRANSPORTING TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES WAS CONSULTED AS TO AND RENDERED ASSISTANCE IN EVOLVING DISTINCTIVE SHIPPING TICKETS FOR THE SEGREGATION OF THE BAGGAGE OF TROOPS, WHICH TICKETS AS FINALLY ADOPTED CONTAINED MORE POINTS OF DISSIMILARITY THAN SIMILARITY WITH THOSE DEVISED BY HIM, THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT TO HIM EITHER ON THE BASIS OF SERVICE RENDERED, OR FOR SO MUCH OF HIS IDEA AS WAS FINALLY USED, THERE HAVING BEEN NO CONTRACT FOR HIS SERVICES, NOR EVIDENCE OF THE FAIR VALUE OF THE BENEFITS CONFERRED THEREBY, AND THE IDEA HAVING BEEN IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 14, 1924:

HERLUF F. J. RAVN REQUESTED AUGUST 19, 1924, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 039764, DATED AUGUST 6, 1924, DISALLOWING HIS CLAIM OF $5,000 ALLEGED TO BE DUE FOR DEVISING A GROUP SYSTEM UNDER WHICH TROOP BAGGAGE, ETC., WAS MOVED OVERSEAS. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS NO LEGAL OBLIGATION ON THE UNITED STATES TO PAY EITHER FOR THE SERVICES IN EVOLVING THE GROUP SYSTEM OF SHIPPING TICKETS OR FOR THE IDEA WHICH WAS THE BASIS OF SUCH SYSTEM.

DURING THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WORLD WAR AND IN TROOP MOVEMENTS OVERSEAS, CONSIDERABLE DIFFICULTY WAS EXPERIENCED BY DEBARKATION QUARTERMASTERS IN SEGREGATING THE BAGGAGE AND OTHER IMPEDIMENTA OF THE VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND FORWARDING SAME TO THE PROPER DESTINATION. COMPLAINTS OF SUCH DIFFICULTY WERE MADE TO EMBARKATION QUARTERMASTERS AT HOBOKEN, N.J., WITH THE RESULT THAT THEY SET ABOUT DEVISING SOME SCHEME TO ELIMINATE THE DIFFICULTY AND ONE WHICH WOULD NOT DISCLOSE TO THE ENEMY THE COMPOSITION, ORIGIN, AND DESTINATION OF THE TROOPS IN EVENT SUCH SCHEME FELL INTO THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY THROUGH THE SINKING OF THE TROOP SHIPS OR OTHERWISE. THESE QUARTERMASTERS CONSULTED WITH OFFICIALS OF THE CUNARD STEAMSHIP CO. AND THE INTERNATIONAL MERCANTILE MARINE CO., BOTH OF WHICH COMPANIES TRANSPORTED MANY OF THE TROOPS. CLAIMANT WAS SUPERINTENDENT OF BAGGAGE OF THE FIRST-NAMED COMPANY AND HIS SUPERIOR OFFICERS WERE APPROACHED AND GAVE THEIR CONSENT TO THE QUARTERMASTERS CONSULTING WITH HIM IN THE MATTER. THEY DID CONSULT WITH HIM, WITH THE RESULT THAT HE SUBMITTED A SCHEME BASED ON GROUP TAGS WITH VARIOUS COLORED MARKINGS. THE QUARTERMASTER IN CHARGE REPORTS THAT:

4. THE WRITER HAS NO DESIRE TO DISPARAGE THE ASSISTANCE RENDERED BY MR. RAVN IN THE FINAL ADOPTION OF THE GROUP TAGS, FOR HE DID TAKE A GREAT DEAL OF INTEREST IN IT AND WAS WILLING AT ANY TIME TO GIVE HIS ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE, BASED ON HIS MANY YEARS' EXPERIENCE WITH THE CUNARD COMPANY, BUT THE SYSTEM FINALLY ADOPTED WAS NOT THE ONE SUGGESTED BY MR. RAVN, BUT A COMPOSITE OF THE MANY SUGGESTIONS MADE BY ALL OF THOSE WHO WERE CALLED ON, ADAPTED BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE THREE OFFICERS ABOVE REFERRED TO, BASED ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF TRANSPORTATION AND ARMY CONDITIONS.

5. MR. RAVN'S PLAN PROVIDED FOR FIVE (5) DIFFERENT DESIGNS, THESE TO BE INCREASED TO TWENTY-FIVE (25) BY THE DESIGNS BEING PRINTED IN DIFFERENT COLORS. AS FINALLY ADOPTED, TWENTY-FIVE (25) DIFFERENT DESIGNS WERE USED AND ALL OF THEM PRINTED IN THE SAME COLOR, AND IT MAY BE STATED, IN THIS CONNECTION, THAT THIS FIGURE OF TWENTY-FIVE (25) DISTINCT TAGS WAS FIXED ON BY THE UNDERSIGNED IN THE BEGINNING AS THE PROBABLE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS REQUIRING SEPARATE TAGGING THAT WOULD BE PLACED ON AND ONE TRANSPORT AT ONE TIME. MANY OF THE OTHER SUGGESTIONS MADE BY MR. RAVN WERE NOT CONSIDERED FEASIBLE AND WERE NOT ADOPTED. I ATTACH PHOTOSTATIC COPIES OF THE GROUP TAGS AS FINALLY ADOPTED AND PLACED IN EFFECT AT HOBOKEN.

CLAIMANT HAS SUBMITTED COPIES OF THE ORIGINAL TAGS DEVISED BY HIM AND A COMPARISON OF THEM WITH THE TAGS FINALLY ADOPTED AND USED IN OVERSEAS TROOP MOVEMENTS IS SUFFICIENT TO DISCLOSE THAT THEY ARE BY NO MEANS IDENTICAL. IN FACT, THEIR POINTS OF DISSIMILARITY ARE MORE NUMEROUS THAN THEIR POINTS OF SIMILARITY.

THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MATTER, IF ANY, MUST BE BECAUSE OF THE USE OF SOME OF THE IDEAS DEVELOPED BY CLAIMANT OR BECAUSE OF HIS SERVICES IN EVOLVING THE IDEA.

THERE ARE THREE WAYS BY WHICH THE UNITED STATES MAY BECOME LIABLE FOR PRIVATE PROPERTY: (1) WHEN THE PROPERTY IS TAKEN WITHOUT CONSENT OF THE OWNER FOR PUBLIC USE THE CONSTITUTION IMPOSES LIABILITY ON THE UNITED STATES TO PAY JUST COMPENSATION FOR THE PROPERTY TAKEN; (2) WHEN THE PROPERTY IS SECURED UNDER A CONTRACT THE UNITED STATES IS LIABLE FOR THE PRICE STIPULATED IF THE CONTRACT IN FORM AND SUBSTANCE HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND THERE IS AN APPROPRIATION ADEQUATE TO ITS FULFILLMENT; AND (3) WHEN THE PROPERTY IS TAKEN UNDER AN AGREEMENT, NOT IN THE FORM PRESCRIBED BUT WHERE THE ACQUISITION HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED BY LAW, THE UNITED STATES IS LIABLE ON A QUANTUM MERUIT OR VALEBAT.

HERE NO PROPERTY WAS TAKEN OR SECURED UNDER ANY OF THESE CONDITIONS. SECTION 3744, REVISED STATUTES. IN FACT, CLAIMANT HAD NOT PATENTED THE TAGS (SECTION 4899, REVISED STATUTES; 4 COMP. GEN. 224), NOR HAD THEY BEEN DEPOSITED FOR REGISTRATION AS TRADEMARKS OR FOR COPYRIGHTS. WHATEVER ORIGINALITY THERE MAY HAVE BEEN IN THE TAGS FINALLY ADOPTED AND WHATEVER PART OF ORIGINALITY EMBODIED THEREIN MAY HAVE BEEN SECURED FROM CLAIMANT, THE MATTER WAS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS WHATEVER FOR THE CLAIMED ROYALTY OF $5,000, OR ANY OTHER SUM BY REASON OF THE USE OF THE SHIPPING TAGS. SEE SECTIONS 9522 AND 9523, COMPILED STATUTES, 35 STAT. 1077; WHITE-SMITH MUSIC PUB.CO. V. APOLLO CO., 209 U.S. 1; HOLMES V. HURST, 174 U.S. 82.

THERE WAS NO CONTRACT, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, TO PAY CLAIMANT FOR HIS TIME AND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR ARRIVING AT THE FAIR VALUE OF THE BENEFITS CONFERRED BY HIS SERVICES, NOR APPROPRIATION, EVEN IF A CONTRACT TO PAY THEREFOR COULD BE IMPLIED. THIS VIEW OF THE MATTER RENDERS IT UNNECESSARY TO DECIDE WHETHER SO MUCH OF CLAIMANT'S IDEAS OF DISTINCTIVE SHIPPING TAGS AS WAS EMBODIED IN THE TAG FINALLY ADOPTED OR HIS ASSISTANCE IN EVOLVING SUCH TICKETS WAS NOT FURNISHED OR RENDERED AS A PART OF THE SERVICE OF THE CUNARD STEAMSHIP CO., FOR WHICH THE UNITED STATES HAS FULLY PAID AS A PART OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE TROOPS, THEIR BAGGAGE AND OTHER IMPEDIMENTA.