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THE LAW OF PATENTS.
WHAT MAY BE PATENTED.
Section 4,886 of the Revised Statutes of the United States provides that "any person who has invented or discovered any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, not known or used by others in this country before his invention or discovery thereof, and not patented or described in any printed publication in this or any foreign country, before his invention or discovery thereof, or more than two years prior to his application, and not in public use or on sale in this country for more than two years prior to his application, unless the same is proved to have been abandoned, may, upon payment of the fees required by law, and other due proceeding had, obtain a patent therefor."
In case of the death of the inventor, his legal representatives will be entitled to apply for and receive the patent.
Joint inventors are entitled to a joint patent, but neither can claim one separately.
An alien may obtain a patent on the same terms as a citizen. Merely conceiving the idea of a machine or improvement is not such an "invention" or "discovery" as will prevent subsequent inventor from obtaining a patent.
In order to have this effect, the alleged prior invention must have been reduced to a practical form, capable of actual use; and, in most cases, actual use itself is also held to be necessary. Nor will the fact of prior use or invention abroad prevent the issue of the patent, unless the invention has been patented or described in some printed publication.
As between two rival inventors, however, the rule is that he who first conceives the idea of an invention, and uses reasonable diligence in reducing it to practice, is the prior inventor as against one whose conception of the idea was later, though he was the first to reduce it to practice. In such case, drawings, models, or even oral descriptions may be used for the purpose of proving the date of the conception of the invention.
Patents are now granted for the term of seventeen years, and confer on the patentee, his legal representatives and assigns, the exclusive right to make, use, and vend the invention throughout the United States during that time.
It is of the utmost importance that the description of the invention in every patent should be clear and accurate, and that the claim should cover neither more nor less than the actual invention. This is the more important, as the right to surrender and re-issue a patent on account of defects in these respects, has recently been greatly limited by the courts.
We therefore earnestly advise every inventor to employ some skillful and experienced solicitor to procure his patent for him. whenever it is possible for him to do so.
As it sometime happens, however, that this cannot be done, we insert the following general instructions. Printed copies of Patent Laws, Rules of Practice and Forms may be obtained gratis by writing to the Commissioner of Patents.
Mode of Proceeding to Obtain a Patent.
All applications must be completed for examination within one year after the filing of the petition; and, in default, all such will be regarded as abandoned, unless it be satisfactorily proved to the office that such delay was unavoidable. The application must be made by the actual inventor, if alive, even if the patent is to issue to an assignee; but, where the inventor is dead, the application and oath may be made by the executor or administrator. The application must be in writing, in the English language, signed by the applicant, and addressed to the Commissioner of Patents, Washington, D. C. The following is a suitable form, which may serve as a useful guide, but must be varied according to circumstances:
Form of Petition.
TO THE COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS:
Your petitioner, A. B., a citizen of the United States, residing at S., in the County of M. and State of N. [or a subject of, etc.], whose postoffice address is , prays that letters patent be granted to him for the improvement in
set forth in the annexed specification.
The specification is a written description of the invention or discovery and of the manner and process of making, constructing, or 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 to which it appertains, or with which t is most nearly connected, to make, construct, or compound, and use the same. It must conclude with a specific and distinct claim or claims of the part, improvement, or combination which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery.
In all applications for mere improvements, the specification must distinguish between what is admitted to be old and what is described and claimed to be the improvement, so that the office and the public may understand exactly for what the patent is granted.
Two or more distinct and separate inventions may not be claimed in one application; but where several inventions have a necessary and dependent connection with each other, so that all coöperate in attaining the end which is sought, they may be so claimed. If more than one invention is claimed in a single application, and they are found to be such that a single patent may not be issued to cover the whole, the inventor must divide the application into separate applications, or confine the claim to whichever invention he may elect.
The specification must be signed by the inventor (or by his executor or administrator, if the inventor be dead), and attested by two witnesses. It should describe the sections of the draw. ings (where there are drawings), and refer by letters and figures to the different parts.
The rules of the Patent Office recommend that the following order of arrangement should be observed, when convenient, in traming the specification;
(1) Preamble giving the name and residence of the applicant, the title of the invention, and if the invention has been patented in any country, a statement of the country or countries in which it has been patented, and the dates and numbers of such patents.
(2) General statement of the object and nature of the mvention;
(3) Brief description of the drawings, if any, showing what each view represents;
(4) Detailed description, explaining fully the alleged invention, and the manner of constructing, practicing, operating, and using it;
(5) Claim or claims;
(6) Signature of inventor;
(7) Signatures of two witnesses.
The specification and claims and all amendments must be written in a fair, legible hand, on but one side of the paper; otherwise the office may require them to be printed; and all interlineations and erasures must be clearly marked in marginal or foot notes written on the same sheet of paper. Legal cap paper with the lines numbered is deemed preferable and a wide margin must always be reserved on the left hand side of the page.
Form of a Specification to Accompany a Petition. TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Be it known that I, of in the county of and State of have invented a new and useful means for preventing steam boilers from bursting (for which I have received letters patent in England, dated July 6, 1909, No. ), and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description of the same:
The nature of my invention consists in providing the upper part of a steam boiler with an aperture in addition to that for the safety-valve, which aperture is to be closed by a plug or disk of alloy, which will fuse at any given degree of heat, and permit the steam to escape, should the safety-valve fail to perform its functions.
In the accompanying drawings Fig. I is a longitudinal section of a boiler embodying my invention, and Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the same.
To enable others skilled in the art to make use of my invention, I will proceed to describe its construction and operation. I construct my steam boiler in any of the known forms, and apply thereto gauge-cocks, a safetyvalve, and the other appendages of such boilers; but in order to obviate the danger arising from the adhesion of the safety-valve, and from other causes, I make a second opening in the top of the boiler, similar to that made for the safety-valve, as shown at A, in the accompanying drawing; and in this opening I insert a plug or disk of fusible alloy, securing it in its place by a metal ring and screws, or otherwise. In general, I compose this fusible metal of a mixture of lead, tin, and bismuth, in such proportions as will insure its melting at a given temperature. which must be that to which
it is intended to limit the steam; it will, of course, vary with the pressure the boiler is intended to sustain.
What I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by letters patent, is the application to steam boilers of a fusible alloy which will melt at a given temperature and allow the steam to escape, substantially as herein described. (Signature.)
When the application is for a machine, the specification should be modified accordingly.
The applicant must make oath or affirmation substantially as follows, which is to be annexed to the specification.
the above named petitioner, being duly sworn (or affirmed) deposes and says that he is a citizen of and resident of that he verily believes himself to be the original, first and sole inventor of the improvement in described and claimed in the annexed specification; that he does not know and does not believe that the same was ever known or used before his invention or discovery thereof, or patented or described in any printed publication in any country before his invention or discovery thereof, or more than two years prior to this application, or in public use or on sale in the United States for more than two years prior to this application; that said invention has not been patented in any country foreign to the United States on an application filed by him or .by his legal representatives or assigns more than twelve months prior to this application; and that no application for patent on said improvement has been filed by him or his representatives or assigns in any country foreign to the United States (except as follows):
(Inventor's full name.) Sworn to and subscribed before me this day of (Signature of magistrate.) (Official_character.)
Give residence in full, including street and number, if any.
If the applicants be joint inventors the form of the oath will be changed accordingly, and the word joint used instead of sole.
If the inventor be dead the oath will be made by the executor or administrator who will declare his belief that the party named as inventor was the original and first inventor.