The Incorporation of Goldsmiths brought a claim against jewelers and metal workers who were not part of their incorporation for selling jewelry and metal works. The Incorporation of Goldsmiths argued that Parliament had conferred exclusive privileges to the incorporated goldsmiths to search for, manufacture, and sell metal works, and that the defendants had been doing the same illegally since they were not properly incorporated. The non-incorporated defendants argued that after a certain practice has been maintained for a substantial time, i.e. their selling metal works despite their non-incorporated status, the statute conferring the privileges falls into disuse and becomes moot.