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itism on their part in assigning the reward. A writer, already cited, instances the 5000 guineas paid to Dr. Smith for the “ discovery of nitric fumigation to prevent the communication of contagion,” and says, were the reward to be granted now, “when time and experience enable the public to estimate the value of the nostrum, five pence might be considered a reward somewhat above its value.3

In' the great mass of instances of useful improvements, however, a temporary monopoly is not only the most appropriate reward, since it is the direct fruit of the improvement, and the most equitable, since it is graduated according to its utility, in the public estimation ; and the most convenient, since, as M. Renouard justly remarks, the inventor is saved from the mistakes, favoritism and prejudices of censors, and the public from being imposed upon by charletans and pretenders. This system has accordingly been adopted throughout the civilized world as the most suitable general mode of rewarding improvements in the useful arts; not excluding other modes, however, in special cases.

2 Westminster Rev. January, 1835, No. 43.

3 M. Renouard considers the subject of encouragement of inventions by rewards, and states the objections to it very fully, c. 2, s. 3, p. 42. He does not oppose this mode of encouragement on the general objection to all bounties as interfering with the freedom of industry and checking competition, since this ground of objection is as inconsistent with patent laws themselves, as it is with other modes of encouragement.

The writer in the Westminster Review, already cited," mentions a third mode of encouraging improvements in the arts adopted in some countries, by the establishment of professorships for the purpose. Where a regular routine of duties is to be performed that are within the grasp of minds not endowed with any extraordinary power, or transported by enthusiasm, professorships may be very usefully instituted. So salaries, as well as other incitements, may be held out as rewards for inventions, as well as for excellence in the practice of any art, or the knowledge of any science.

any science. The appointment of PoetLaureate in England is of this description. So provision may be made by the public in many cases for defraying the expense of a course of experiments in some particular branch of industry or science, and, in fact, a large part of the magnificent discoveries in science, by which modern times have been illustrated, have been the fruits of such public provisions. But it is not practicable to carry this system of encouragement to all the infinitude of useful and ornamental arts by which the condition of men is ameliorated, and civilized society adorned. A stimulus must be applied, and a helping hand held out to genius in the lowest walks of life, in the work-shops and in the fields. The encouragement should be proffered freely, so as to be attainable without solicitation, and without the intervention of influence, power, and great names, so that genius may work its way in solitude, borne forward only by the impulse of its own enthusiasm. For this purpose a limited monopoly, a temporary enjoyment of all the advantages of a discovery, is not only the most appropriate, but by far the most effectual encouragement in a great majority of improvements in the useful arts.

4 No. 43, January, 1835.

That the monopoly should be only temporary is quite obvious, for it would be wrong to shut out all others from the advantages of a discovery of an improvement for all time in favor of the first discoverer. This would be more objectionable than the doctrine of territorial dominion in right of discovery.

It would be a wrong to the community at large. It would, besides, be highly prejudicial and even dangerous to the general interest, to lock up the useful arts that may minister to the necessities and wellbeing of the great mass of society in a few hands. All laws of this description, therefore, give only a temporary monopoly. They offer a compromise between the inventor and the rest of the community, by which each party surrenders something, and it is proposed that each shall receive an equivalent.


Legislation on Patent Rights in Great Britain, France,

and the United States.

Sec. 1. British Legislation.

2. French Legislation.
3. Legislation of the United States.


Patent Rights are a surviving branch of the great system of monopolies which formerly covered almost all the mechanical arts, and many branches of foreign trade, in modern Europe down to the middle of the seventeenth century, remnants of which, in other instances than patent laws, still lurk in several countries, to this day. Before that period, indeed, the whole frame of civil society, from the rights of the sovereign down to those of the day-laborer, was an entire system of exclusive privileges, that is, of monopolies. The sovereign executive administration in a state was the monopoly of one family, while its subdivisions and subordinate offices were parcelled out among other families. The legislative sovereignty was in like manner monopolized by a single family or shared among several, to them and their

heirs respectively. And so on of the magistracies, commands, jurisdictions, trades, and pursuits of almost every description. The genius of monopoly predominated in every department of legislation, administration, and of industry, excepting agriculture and pastoral pursuits. The legislators were political monopolists, and their legislation, by direct grants, or by the recognition and protection of privileges arrogated by individuals, companies, or classes, in accordance with the principles of their system, converted the rest of the community into monopolists.

Such was the origin of patent rights; but it would be foreign to our present purpose to go into a survey of monopolies in general. The point of time at which we commence is when legislation began the suppression of other monopolies, for then patent rights began to be specific subjects of legislation. The statute of 21 James I. c. 3, (1623,) while it abolished monopolies generally, made an exception of existing letters patents and grants of privilege for the term of “one and twenty years or under, of the sole working or making of any manner of new manufacture within this realm, to the first and true inventor or inventors, so they be not contrary to the law or mischievous to the state, or generally inconvenient,” and also an exception of future grants of letters patent for the term of fourteen years or under; and still further an exception of any grant, privilege, power, or authority theretofore granted, allowed, or confirm

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