« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
Protests and Public Use Proceedings
87 88 88 89
Secrecy of Certain Inventions and Licenses to File Applications
THE UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE
A. ESTABLISHMENT. The Patent Office was established to administer the patent laws enacted by Congress in accordance with article I, section 8, of the Constitution. The first of these laws was enacted April 10, 1790 (1 Stat. 318), but the Patent Office as a distinct bureau, in the Department of State, dates from the year 1802, when an official who became known as the Superintendent of Patents was placed in charge. The general revision of the patent laws enacted July 4, 1836 (5 Stat. 117), reorganized the Patent Office and designated the official in charge as Commissioner of Patents. Another general revision of the patent laws was made in 1870, and since that date numerous acts of Congress relating to patents have been passed. The present patent laws are enacted in title 35 of the United States Code. The Patent Office also administers the Federal trademark laws (title 15, sections 81 to 108 and 1051 to 1127 of the United States Code). The Patent Office was transferred from the Department of the Interior, in which department it had been since 1849, to the Department of Commerce by Executive order on April 1, 1925, in accordance with the authority contained in the act of February 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 830). The Patent Office is located in Washington, D. C.
B. FUNCTIONS. The chief functions of the Patent Office are to administer the patent laws as they relate to the granting of letters patent for inventions, and to perform other duties relating to patents. It examines applications for patents to ascertain if the applicants are entitled to patents under the law, and grants the patents when they are so entitled; it publishes issued patents and various publications concerning patents and patent laws, records assignments of patents, maintains a search room for the use of the public to examine issued patents and records, supplies copies of records and other papers, supplies information concerning patents, and the like. Analogous and similar functions are performed with respect to the registration of trademarks.
C. GENERAL ORGANIZATION. The Patent Office is organized broadly in (a) the Office of the Commissioner of Patents (see paragraph D), (b) the Office of the Solicitor (see paragraph E), (c) The Board of Appeals (see paragraph F), (d) the Office of Interferences (see paragraph G), (e) the Patent Examining Operation (see paragraphs H, I, J), and (f) the Executive Office (see paragraph K); with respect to trademarks there is (g) the Trademark Examining Operation, and (h) the Trademark Interference Division (a part of the Office of Interferences). Various offices and divisions are described in greater detail in the following paragraphs but administrative or internal matters are omitted or mentioned only briefly.
D. OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS. This office comprises the Commissioner of Patents, a First Assistant Commissioner of Patents, and two Assistant Commissioners of Patents. As head of the Patent Office, the Commissioner of Patents superintends or performs all duties respecting the granting and issuing of patents and the registration of trade-marks; exercises general supervision over the entire work of the Patent Office; prescribes the rules, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Commerce, for the conduct of proceedings in the Patent Office and for recognition of attorneys and agents; decides various questions brought before him by petition as prescribed by the rules, and performs other duties necessary and required for the administration of the Patent Office and the performance of its functions. The Commissioner also prescribes rules governing the registration of trademarks and hears appeals in trademark cases. The Assistant Commissioners perform such of the foregoing duties pertaining to the Office of Commissioner as may be assigned by the Commissioner, with the same authority as the Commissioner. One of them serves as Acting Commissioner in the temporary absence of the Commissioner.
E. SOLICITOR AND LAW EXAMINERS. The Office of the Solicitor comprises the solicitor and law examiners who constitute the legal staff of the Commissioner. They have charge of litigation in which the Patent Office is a party, acting as counsel in appeals to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and in suits against the Commissioner; investigate legal and legislative matters for the Commissioner; develop and present to the Commissioner evidence in proceedings for disbarment and suspension of attorneys and agents from practice before the Patent Office; edit the legal portion of the Official Gazette; and perform such other duties in matters coming before the Commissioner as he may assign.
F. BOARD OF APPEALS. The Commissioner, Assistant Commissioners and nine examiners-in-chief constitute a Board of Appeals whose duty is to hear and decide appeals from adverse decisions of examiners upon applications for patents. Each appeal is heard and considered by at least three members of the Board of Appeals. Their decisions are reviewable by the courts.
G. THE OFFICE OF INTERFERENCES. The Chief Examiner of Interferences directs the activities of the patent and trademark interference divisions. The former division consists of the Board of Patent Interferences and such assistant examiners as may be assigned. The Board of Patent Interferences makes final
determination for the Patent Office on the question of priority of invention in proceedings involving rival claimants for the same or substantially the same patentable invention. This board in hearing each case is comprised of three members designated from among the examiners of interference. Intermediate questions and matters of procedure may be determined by a single examiner of interference. The decisions of the Board of Patent Interferences on the question of priority are reviewable by the courts.
H. EXECUTIVE EXAMINER AND SUPERVISORY EXAMINERS. The Executive Examiner aids the Commissioner in administering the Patent Office with respect to the examination of patent applications and classification of technical subject matter; in coordinating formal procedures and practices among the several examining groups; in formulating and executing basic policies relating to those groups; in developing and maintaining competence in professional and technical aspects of patent examining and classification work; in rendering decisions in such matters referred by the Commissioner, within statutory limitations.
The Patent Examining Groups, each headed by a supervisory patent examiner, respectively, comprise a number of patent examining divisions distributed, for administrative and other purposes, in accordance with the field of art assigned. Each supervisory patent examiner coordinates operations among his various examining divisions; affects general uniformity in the application of Office rules, policies and directives; develops the productive capacity of examining divisions and insures proficiency of operations; and acts on such matters of technical nature as are referred by superiors.
I. PATENT EXAMINING DIVISIONS. The examination of applications for patent is the largest and most important function of the Patent Office. The work is divided among the various patent examining divisions, which are designated by number (at present there are sixty-four such examining divisions), and two design divisions, each having jurisdiction over certain assigned fields of invention. Each division is headed by a primary examiner and staffed by a number of examiners, one of whom is designated to act as head of the division in the absence of the primary examiner. The examiners perform the work of examining applications for patents and determine whether patents can be granted. An appeal can be taken to the Board of Appeals from their decisions refusing patent and a review by the Commissioner of Patents may be had on other matters by petition. The examiners also determine when an interference exists between pending applications, or a pending application and a patent, institute
interference proceedings in such cases and hear and decide certain preliminary questions raised by the contestants.
J. CLASSIFICATION DIVISIONS. The Classification Divisions, headed by the supervisory classification examiner, supervise the existing classification of issued patents, revise unclassified and obsolete classes and make new classes when necessary.
K. EXECUTIVE OFFICE. The Executive Office is headed by the executive officer and includes the following service and administrative divisions :
(a) Administrative Management Division.
(1) Budget Branch
(2) Finance Branch (see paragraph L).
(1) Application Branch (see paragraph O).
(10) Patent Copy Sales Branch (see paragraph V).
M. SCIENTIFIC LIBRARY. The Scientific Library contains over 69,000 volumes of scientific and technical books in various languages, about 59,000 bound volumes of periodicals devoted to science and technology, the official journals of foreign patent offices and over 8,000,000 copies of foreign patents in 68,000 bound volumes. In many cases there are two sets of foreign patents, one set arranged in numerical order and one set classified according to the classification of the country of origin of the patents.
N. SEARCH ROOM AND RECORD ROOM. A search room is maintained for the benefit of the public in searching and examining United States patents. It contains a set of United States patents granted since 1836 arranged according to the Patent Office classification. By searching