Lapas attēli

ing citizens, of all parties, than by securing to it this immunity. It was designed, as generally understood, by the law of 1836, to be an independent bureau, with a very limited check vested in the department. Such was the avowed intention of those who drew up the law, and such, as has been always understood in the office, was the intention of Congress, as manifested in instructing the Commissioner to report his proceedings directly to both Houses; in special legislation for his guidance; and, contrary to the practice in any other department or bureau, requiring from him bonds for the faithful performance of his duties, and for the disbursement of moneys from the Patent fund.

“A difference of views between the office and the department elicited the opinion of the Attorney General, that, “The general supervision and direction over the Patent Office, which is vested in you, (the Secretary of the Interior,) comprehends the appointment of such temporary clerks in that office as are authorized by law; and also the payment of their salary or compensation out of any money appropriated for the purpose. And, of course, that the Commissioner of the Patent Office, in the employment or appointment of clerks, and in the disbursement of money appropriated for their compensation, acts under the superintendency and subject to the control of the Secretary of the Interior; and that it makes no difference in the case whether the money so to be disbursed is appropriated out of the agricultural fund, the Patent Office fees, or out of any other fund.'

"Since this opinion was communicated to me, it has been invariably respected; but as long as it is enforced, this bureau can never fully accomplish the objects for which it was organized. Whatever may be the practice in other bureaus, it will be impossible for any Commissioner to carry on, with credit to the country and satisfaction to inventors and patentees, the peculiar, important and multitudinous affairs, and to reconcile the often conflicting interests committed to his charge, if he be not permitted to judge of the merits and qualifications of his assistants, or to remove such as are incompetent, or in other respects unfit: that is, if he is made responsible for the acts of those over whoin he has no control. And again: if the department has the control of the disbursements, it is but reasonable that the Secretary should file the required sureties, and not the Commissioner.

“On subjects deemed vital to the integrity and usefulness of the Patent Office, there should be left no room for doubt; hence, I respectfully recall these to your consideration, and propose to submit them to Congress, with a view of having the powers and responsibilities of the office distinctly defined."

The arts and sciences have no affinities with, and should not be linked to, temporary politics. To suppose the business of this office can be carried on, if its desks are occupied, as in some departments, by persons even of general qualifications, instead of special fitness, is a great mistake. Mechanical inventions and discoveries, for which patents are issued, are based upon the great physical laws of nature, and are illustrations of them; hence it is in conformity with those laws that the decisions of the office must be made. But this requires close and undivided attention, and, above all, freedom from extraneous interruptions and influences. These are, and ever must lie, detrimental in the highest degree. They not only embarrass the proper and harmonious working

[ocr errors]

of the institution, but are subversive of the great objects contemplated in its organization.

The duties of the Commissioner and examiners are of too purely scientific a nature for them to be subjected, with advantage, to heads and sometimes chief clerks of departments, who cannot be expected to enter into the peculiar business of the Patent Office, or appreciate the very serious evils of interference. If the Commissioner and chief officers are not competent to perform, or are not faithful in the discharge of their onerous tasks, they should be removed; but if they are able and honest, they ought not to be harassed with calls to answer complaints preferred to the Department of the Interior, and often to the President, by disappointed applicants and their friends; by parties stimulated with promises of large sums, made payable on the issue of a patent; and by agents and speculators, smarting under the loss of such contingent fees. Nor is there the slightest ground or reason for such attempts at coercion; since, if the office improperly refuse a patent, the law has provided a court of appeal, in which its decisions can be revised and reversed.

Dissatisfaction on the part of applicants is unavoidable, because of the number of old devices presented for patents ; nor can this ever be prevented, unless by the publication of such an Index of Inventions as has been in previous reports, and again in this, recommended to the favor. able attention of Congress. There is no disposition in the office to re. fuse patents; the feeling is the very reverse. Rejections are made only in performance of a duty imposed by law. This duty is an unpleasant and arduous one, often blighting the fond anticipations of ingenious and worthy men, and often necessitating a more or less elaborate defence of the grounds of action in the case; whereas, in granting a patent the office is relieved from these and other difficulties. Hence it is absurd to suppose that refusals are wantonly made, there being no possible motive to refuse a patent, but every inducement to grant one. When doubts exist, the benefit is always given to the applicant.

If systematic endeavors to overawe and overrule the Commissioner be not frowned down, they will, in time, affect the integrity of the Patent Office, and will make it a source of injustice to the public and of grievous wrongs to real inventors. Its judicial character requires that it be cordially sustained, and jealously protected from improper influences. It should be surrounded with the same safeguards that defend the independence of every United States court. What would be the condition of judges of the Supreme and of other courts, if they were constantly called upon to reopen carefully adjudicated cases, and answer complaints of defeated litigants, accompanied with insinuations and often direct charges of ignorance, imbecility, partiality, corruption, and kindred attributes ? Few high-minded men would accept and fewer would remain in office. In this bureau, everything is matter of record. No decision is made without communicating the reasons, in writing, to the parties concerned; they are placed on file, and become part of the public archives of the office. This, together with a court of appeal, secures the rights of applicants, and is an ample guarantee against unjust and arbitrary de. cisions.

It would, in my opinion, have been a dereliction of duty to have refrained from thus soliciting the attention of Congress to a subject so essentially affecting the character and usefulness of the Patent Office;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

so deep are my convictions of the positively injurious effects of departmental control, unaccompanied, as it is, by one single compensating advantage to the office, the administration, or the public.

2. Additional room required.--I respectfully but earnestly urge an early provision of additional room for the clerical business of the office, as well as for a proper exhibition of the models. The continued occupancy of the largest and best part of the building as a museum, and the delay in finishing the new wing, have resulted in embarrassments that are daily becoming more and more serious. Indeed, if the evil be not soon corrected, it will prove a positive interruption to the business of the office. The few rooms at its command have become so crowded, that the mails have, for the last twelve months, been made up in the open passage, where the correspondence and daily cash remittances are unavoidably exposed.

Such an exhibition of the models as was contemplated and directed by the law of 1836 is not only impossible, but it is scarcely practicable to pro. tect them from serious injury, if, indeed, the more delicate among them can be secured from positive destruction. Their condition is a great in. justice to their authors, and to inventors and patentees generally; since the rooms and cases, prepared expressly for them at the expense of the Patent fund, have now been withheld from the office for a period of ten years. As Congress alone has the power, I would respectfully suggest that immediate action be taken to provide room necessary for the classi. fication, arrangement, and proper display of the models.

In relation to the details of the subject, I beg to introduce the following correspondence, elicited by a resolution of the Senate, of January 28, 1851:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

PATENT OFFICE, January 30, 1951. Sır: Having been desired by you to express our opinion on the wants of this office, as far as room is concerned, we have the honor to report:

First. That the patented models now in the office are so much crowded that the provision of the law with respect to the exhibition of them cannot be complied with; that the rejected models are in a similar, but worse condition.

Second. That the draughtsman's room, library, and record-room, are at present crowded to an extent which renders it extremely difficult to perform the duties that are required to be done in those departments; at least three times the space is wanted for the library, and double for the draughtsman's room.

Third. It is a matter of almost absolute necessity that the recording clerks should be in the vicinity of the record-room.

Fourth. That the copying-clerk for letters and the clerk who has charge of assiguments are at present crowded into apartments of other officers, whose room

are too full without them. Fifth. That it has become a matter of necessity for the examiners to have rooms in which they may converse with applicants, without the latter having an opportunity to examine, or even glance at, the models of pending applications.

Sixth. Rooms are required for workshops, caveat models, and pending models.

[ocr errors]

Seventh. That an ante-room has become indispensably necessary.

Eighth. That it is a matter well understood that the force of this office must be yearly increasing, and that the foregoing considerations are based upon the present force and the expected increase of records, but not upon an increased number of clerks.

We therefore believe that the whole of the basement of the present building and the wing are necessary for a proper distribution of the rejected models and for workshops; that the whole of the upper halls, both of the building and wing, are at present required for patented models, and will probably be filled to overflowing in the course of three years. And we also believe that the whole of the first floor of the present building and the wing will not more than suffice for the wants of the Commissioner, examiners, machinist, draughtsman, and clerks, when it is considered that the library and draughtman's room are daily narrowing in effective space, and that it would be useless to move them into apartinents which, in the course of less than three years, would be quite as contracted as those which are now daily hindering the effective action of this office.

If a different arrangement from that herein intimated be adopted, it will merely vary the distribution of offices, models, and records, but will not alter, in the least, the absolute amount of space that is needed. All of which is respectfully submitted:


Principal Examiners.

Assistant Examiners.
R. S. CHILTON, Librarian.
A. L. McINTIRE, Draughtsman.
SAML. P. BELL, Machinist.
S. T. SHUGERT, Arcounting Clerk.

A. B. LITTLE, Assignment Clerk.
Hon. Thos. EwBANK,

Commissioner of Patents.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE, Fbruary 4, 1851. In reply to your letier of January 31st, I have the honor to state that, with a view of ascertaining the sentiments of the principal officers of this bureau respecting the information called for by the resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo, viz: “What additional room, if any, is re. quired for the proper accommodation of the Patent Office," &c., &c., I asked for their opinions, and thought it the safest course to submit them for your consideration in place of my own.

My personal opinion, now required, was, after an examination, expressed in the Report of 1849, page 512. Though the business of the office has increased since the date

of that report. I still think that, were the upper floor and its cases restored to the office for the reception of its models, and the space now occupied by the models converted into rooms, there would be sufficient for the immediate wants of the office.

If the museum is to remain where it is, then, certainly, the whole of the upper floor of the new wing will be required for the models now in the office; but that would be an inconvenient arrangement, since by it the models would be far distant from the rooms of the officers requiring them. It would be better to assign the new wing entirely to this oflice, or remove the museum into it. Under any cir:umstances the models, if they are to be properly disposed of and arranged for exhibition, as the law requires they should be, must be placed on the upper floor on account of light. When the west wing is completed, it is doubtful if there would be sufficient light to examine the objects in the cases were they to remain on the present or first floor. They are partially obscured now, and would then be much more so.

In conclusion, I have no hesitation in saying that, in view of the rapidly increasing business of the office, the present building will, in my opinion, be found wholly insufficient for the purposes of this bureau in three or four years, if not sooner. The papers accompanying your letter are herewith returned. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of the Interior.

[ocr errors]

The number of models at present in the office is nearly 20,000. The yearly accumulation exceeds 2,000; so that in ten years, the number cannot be estimated at less than 50,000, since the annual increase for the last four years has been between two and three hundred.

If the largest and best portion of the original building is still to be occupied with the collection of the Exploring Expedition, and if a moiety only of the new wing be accorded to this office, I submit that the $211,000 withdrawn from the Patent fund, and expended on the wing, be returned; since, after the payment of that sum. the office will have no more room than what is admitted belonged to it before.

Were the Patent fund held sacred for the direct encouragement of science and art, and the interest expended in premiums for inventions and discoveries of national importance, (as suggested in the report of 1849,) it would be a fruitful and enduring source of honor and of bene. fits to the Union. I believe it of more importance to the country to preserve that fund intact, and to expend the interest as suggested, than to have a stately structure in which to transact the business of the office.

3. Increase of clerical force. With the exception of two, authorized by the act of 1848, there have been no permanent clerks added to this office since its reorganization in 1836; while the duties of those employed have increased more than three fold during that period. They are, consequently, over-tasked, and inadequately paid. I would, there. fore, respectfully and most earnestly ask Congress to authorize the employ. ment of four additional permanent clerks, at salaries of $1,200, to be assigned to such service as may be deemed necessary by the Commis. sioner for the despatch of the public business. Some of the duties for which these clerks are designed are now performed by persons employed

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »