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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836,

BY WILLARD Puillips. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

29 APR 1938




The subject of Patent Rights has become of great importance in the United States, on account of the number of persons interested in them, their influence on the progress of the useful arts, and the numerous judicial decisions relating to them. The exclusive privilege granted to inventors, by the act of 21 James I., c. 3, has, until within a few years past, been regarded with jealousy in English jurisprudence, as being a surviving branch of monopolies, all of which, excepting those for new manufactures, were suppressed by that act. Patents have, however, been recently regarded with greater indulgence, by the English courts. In the United States they have always been fairly sustained, and patentees have been regarded with favor, as pioneers in the advancement of the productiveness of the national industry; and much light has been shed upon this branch of law by the elaborate opinions given by the most eminent judges in the national courts, particularly the late Chief Justice Marshall, and the other judges in the Supreme Court, and by Mr. Justice Washington in the Circuit Court for Pennsylvania, and Mr. Justice Livingston and Mr. Justice Thompson in that for New York. But it is no injustice to the other eminent jurists of the country to say, that this department of law has been more especially indebted to the learning and talents of Mr. Justice Story, the records of whose indefatigable research and luminous expositions, will be found in many parts of this volume.

The decisions, both English and American, down to 1822, had been digested and arranged in Mr. Fessenden's second edition of his very useful work on Patents, published at that time, but the numerous subsequent decisions, as well as the subsequent legislation, seemed to call for a new work upon the subject.

Nearly half of the following treatise was already printed, when I learned that a new patent law was reported to Congress at its last session, whereupon the press was stopped, and the publication delayed, to await the proceedings of the legislature. The proposed act was finally passed on the 4th of July last, by wbich all the former acts on the same subject were repealed. The former acts will of course remain in force in some respects in application to patents subsisting when they were repealed, since it must depend upon the laws as they are at the time of issuing a patent, whether the subject is patentable, the specification sufficient, and the proper steps taken to secure the exclusive privilege. Though the act of 1836 should have made ever so extensive alterations in these particulars, still it would have been necessary to present the former laws, as well as the provisions of the new one, in a treatise published at the present time. But, in fact, the new law has not made any material alterations in regard to what may be the subject of a patent, and what is a sufficient specification. It partially follows the former laws in other respects, but, as will appear in various parts of the following treatise, makes many important alterations, some of rather an experimental character, but others, which are undoubtedly improvements : so that on the whole, the law now stands materially better than it did before the act was passed.

I have been indebted to the assistance of Edward Pickering, Esq., in collecting, analyzing and digesting the cases.

W. P. Boston, Nov. 10, 1836.

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