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ments in the same machine can not obtain a joint patent for their separate inventions; and where one furnishes the capital and another makes the invention (5); or where a mere suggestion is made by one and not acted on by him, but is carried out and perfected by another (6); such persons are not joint inventors.
An inventor may assign to another his unpatented invention, or his inchoate right to obtain a patent, but in any such case of assignment, in whole or in part, it is nevertheless his sole invention and the application must be signed by him (7); although, upon request of the applicant, the patent may issue to the assignee, or to the inventor and assignee jointly, as the case may be (8).
§ 24. Applications. All proceedings for obtaining patents are begun by application to the Commissioner of Patents. Such application must be in writing, and signed by the inventor (9). A complete application comprises a first fee of fifteen dollars (9a), a petition addressed to the Commissioner, a specification of the invention, an oath as to certain facts; and a drawing, model, or specimen when required (10). An application will not be
(5) Rules Prac. U. S. Pat. Off., Rule 28.
(7) Or in case of his death, by his executor or administrator. (Above.)
(8) U. S. R. S., Sec. 4895.
(9) Or inventors in the case of a joint invention; or by his or their representatives in case of death or insanity. (Above.)
(9a) Except in applications for designs, where the fees vary according to the term desired.
(10) Rule 30.
placed upon the files for examination until all of its parts, except the model or specimen, are received.
§ 25. The petition. The petition must state the name, residence, and postoffice address of the petitioner, must contain other matters of a formal nature, and must be signed by the petitioner. It is the general practice for applicants and their attorneys to follow the printed form of petition furnished by the Patent Office (11).
§ 26. The specification. The specification is a written description of the invention or discovery and of the manner and process of making, constructing, compounding, and using the same, and is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make, construct, compound, and use the same (12).
The requirement of a full, clear, concise, and exact disclosure is one of the fundamental principles of our patent law, as such disclosure is the consideration which the public receives for the limited protection which it grants. It is the theory of the patent law that after the period of protection has expired, the public shall be able to practice the invention freely. As patents are occasionally defeated in the courts on the ground that the inventor has not made a sufficient disclosure of his invention, to enable any person “skilled in the art or science" to understand it, it is
(11) The Rules of Practice of the U. S. Patent Office, containing this form and many others ordinarily used, are published by the Patent Office for gratuitous distribution,
(12) U. S. R. S., Sec. 4888.
the practice of all conscientious solicitors to give their most careful attention toward making their specifications so full and complete that all intelligent persons may understand them, whether skilled in the art or science, or not.
The specification must set forth the precise invention for which a patent is solicited, and, in the case of a machine, the applicant must explain the principle thereof, and the best mode in which he has contemplated applying that principle, so as to distinguish it from other inventions (13). But this requirement that the applicant explain the principle of his machine has been liberally construed in order not to invalidate the patents in many cases where the inventor has not correctly understood the principle of his machine when applying for a patent, but has otherwise given a full, clear, concise and exact description of it (14); and the last requirement above stated has been held to mean that he shall state the mode of applying that principle, which he contemplates to be the best (15).
The specification should refer to the drawing, in all cases where a drawing is filed (15a), and should describe fully all the figures shown therein.
$ 27. The specification (continued): The claims. The applicant must also in his specifications particularly point out and distinctly claim the part, improvement, or combination which he claims as his invention or discovery"
(13) U. S. R. S., Sec. 4888.
(14) Emerson Co. v. Nimrocks, 99 Fed. 739; Natl. Meter Co. v. Thompson Meter Co., 106 Fed. 538.
(15) Walker, Pats., Sec. 115. (15a) See § 30, below.
(16). A skilful compliance with this last requirement is perhaps the most important part of an applicant's or his solicitor's entire work of applying for a patent, for it is the breadth of his claim (limited always to his invention as distinguished from the prior art), as presented by him and allowed by the Patent Office, that determines the scope of his patent as regards the question of infringement by other devices, processes, or compositions. A claim covering, in terms, more than the inventor has invented is void, and a claim covering less is of course needlessly narrow-anything which is disclosed in the application and not claimed is deemed abandoned. Little can be said here which may prove helpful to one inexperienced in drawing claims, as this is an art in itself and applicants are expressly advised by the Patent Office to place their cases in the hands of competent solicitors (17). As the interpretation and construction of claims is governed by many technical distinctions, no rules can be given which will be in anywise complete in themselves, but a few general principles may be stated.
It is considered good practice to endeavor to obtain the allowance of at least one claim to the invention in broad terms, and to draw one or more others describing the invention in more specific terms. Then if the broad claim is afterwards invalidated by the courts on the ground of anticipation, the specific claim may stand. A good illustration of this is found in a recent patent cited for purposes of illustration hereinbefore (18).
(16) U. S. R. S., Sec. 4888.
The first three claims read:
1. A machine for distributing pollen from bloom to bloom in order to fecundate the seeds thereof.
2. A fecundating machine comprising a plurality of fingers adapted to gather and distribute the pollen of plants.
3. A fecundating machine comprising a plurality of fuzzy fingers adapted to gather and distribute the pollen of plants.
It will be seen that claim two is narrower than claim one by the added requirement that the machine must have “fingers," and claim three is narrower than either claim one or two by the requirement of “fuzzy fingers.” If it should transpire that machines "for distributing pollen from bloom to bloom in order to fecundate the seeds thereof” were known in this country before the date of this invention, but that none of such machines had “fingers, " claim one of this patent should be held invalid, but claims two and three might be sustained; or if such machines had "fingers,” but not “fuzzy fingers," claims one and two should be overthrown, but claim three might be allowed to stand.
§ 28. The claims (continued). Where a specification describes and claims an entire machine, separate claims should also be drawn to as many separate parts, and as many separate combinations of parts of the machine as are the subjects of independent inventions. In such case, on the same reasoning as above, a claim to some essential part or combination of parts of the machine may be subsequently sustained by the courts, while the other claims are defeated. For example, in Howe's