Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

under the act of 1837. They are not qualified officers, but necessarily admitted to the secret archives, and other business requiring care and responsibility. These places, it is believed, should be filled by permanent clerks, sworn and qualified as such.

As examples of the necessity of permanent aid and increased compensation to certain branches of business, the duties of some of the officers whose desks are over-tasked are here referred to, by extracts taken from a report made by the Commissioner to the Secretary of the Interior, in September last, in obedience to a resolution of the Senate of the 7th of March, 1851, in relation to the classification of clerks, and “apportioning their salaries according to their services,” with slight alterations, in which he recommended

First. That the salary of the CHIEF CLERK of this bureau be increased 10 two thousand dollars per annum. This increase would only place the chief clerk of the Patent Office on an equality with those of other bureaus who receive a reasonable compensation, and who are exempt from the necessity of giving bonds, with surety, for faithful performance of duty, required by the chief clerk of this office.

Besides his heavy clerical and administrative duties, the entire business of the office passes through his hands, receiving its appropriate direction to the different branches. The duties thus devolving and accumulating upon him, rendered the services of an assistant necessary. This aid, supplied under the act of 1837, authorizing the employment of temporary clerks, is intended, also, to relieve other desks, and the clerk. ship should be made permanent.

Second. That the salary of the DRAUGHTSMAN, which is now twelve hundred, be raised to fifteen hundred dollars.

He has charge of the secret archives of the office; the drawings patented and rejected; pending files and evidence in cases of interference; receives applications from the chiet clerk, entering them in books kept for that purpose, before they are distributed to the examiners; examines all drawings attached to patents before they go out of the office, and all copies of drawings made for courts or other purposes, besides attending to a large amount of miscellaneous business. It was found impossible, before the increase of the examining corps, for this officer to give his personal attention to these multifarious duties. Accordingly, an assistant was assigned to him uuder the act of 1837, whom I recommend to be niade a permanent clerk. Third. The MACHINIST. The duty of the machinist is to receive,

. classify, and arrange the models, to exhibit to inventors such classes as may be in the line of their discoveries; furnish the examiners with such as may be required in their examinations; keep records of those patented, suspended and rejected, and to conduct the correspondence relating to models, generally. The number of these interesting proofs of the inventive genius of the country has doubled within a few years, and now amounts to about 20.000. It has long been impossible for one person to meet the demands of this department. An assistant was necessarily appointed some years ago, and paid out of the contingent fund; and as the duties of the assistant are equally responsible with those of the machinist–be having a knowledge of models of pending applications and others belouging to the secret archives--he ought to be a sworn officer, and his place a permanent clerkship.

[ocr errors]

Fourth. That the salary of the ACCOUNTING or DISBURSING CLERK be increased to $1,500 per annum, and he be required to give bonds.

He has charge of the records of the office-the patented and withdrawn files; and is required to give information in relation thereto when. ever called upon. He is also the accounting and disbursing clerk, and conducts the correspondence in relation to withdrawals; the discharge of which duties involves a heavy responsibility, and requires a person of not only reputable talents, but also of rigid integrity. Seventy or eighty thousand dollars passes through his hands annually, and yet for a salary of $1,200 he assumes all the responsibility of such a trust.

Fifth. That the salary of the ASSIGNMENT CLERK, who now receives $1,000, be increased to $1,200. When this salary was authorized, the

. amount was, in a measure, commensurate with the duties performed; but, owing to several changes in the business and personnel of the office, many very important matters have been transferred from other desks to his, making it a very responsible and laborious position. He is charged ith

preparation of all certificates for copies of records, files, &c., conducts the correspondence respecting copies, transfers of patent rights, and miscellaneous inquiries, and receives and accounts for the fees paid for copies and for recording deeds. In miscellaneous correspondence, which pertains to his desk, questions often arise involving preliminary legal points, requiring a competent knowledge of the patent law, as well as a thorough acquaintance with the practice of the office.

4. Librarian.- The library is an indispensable element in transacting the business of the office; and it is essential that it keep pace with the advancement of science and the arts, abroad as well as at home. As its importance and contents daily increase, it is desirable that a salary be attached to the librarianship commensurate with the services required; one sufficient to engage a person whose habits, education, and tastes, fit him for the position. Besides cataloguing, collating, and indexing the books, he might keep a digest of patents as they are issued, and post up materials for and aid the Commissioner in the preparation of the annual report. He should understand the German and French languages. I would recommend that the salary be made permanent, and not less than $1,200.

5. Patent laws. It is believed that a registry law might be benoficially substituted for the law relating to designs. It would be more comprehensive, and better calculated to secure the objects sought, than the law at present in force.

I would recommend that in all cases where a patent is granted, upon proof that the applicant invented it prior to the issue of a patent granted before the application, or prior to a publication of the same invention made before said application, or prior to the use of the same by others before the filing of said application, said patent shall take the date of the earliest patent, the earliest publication, or the earliest use of said invention.

I would also recommend that, for the purpose of diminishing litigation, a system of cumulative damages and cumulative costs be authorized, depending upon the number of times a patent has been affirmed or in validatod before a court of competent jurisdiction. It is believed that such a system will, to a great extent, prevent calling the validity of patents in question for mere purposes of vexation, and will also check

the Iringing of suits upon invalid patents for the purpose of procuring unjust tribute through fear of litigation. No plan has occurred to me wbich I consider so well calculated to check unnecessary and vexatious litigation under patents.

6. Judge of appeals.-The infirm health of the venerable chief justice of the District of Columbia, renders it necessary for Congress to make early provision for giving appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the office,

In submitting the following letter from the chief justice, I feel it my duty again to call the attention of Congress to the total inadequacy of the compensation allowed by the act of 1837 for the services therein prescribed.

My immediate predecessor, in the report of 1847, uses the following language in reference to this officer: “From that time (March 3, 1837) down to the present, many appeals have been taken from the decisions of the Commissioner and decided by the chief justice, who has sustained his decisions by able and elaborate opinions, involving important principles of patent law." These opinions were published by Congress; they constitute the most valuable body of decisions on our present patent laws; are respected as authority in all our courts; and evince the high integrity, profound learning, and great industry of their author.

For these labors his only pecuniary compensation was $100 per an. num; whereas single cases have occurred wherein a larger sum would have been inadequate. I respectsully suggest that an additional sum be allowed Judge Cranch out of the patent fund, as an acknowledgment of the important services he has rendered to this office.

>

[ocr errors]

Letter of Judge Cranch.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 15, 1851. Dear Sir: I am unable, by reason of great age, sickness, and infirm. ity, to discharge the duties imposed upon me by the patent laws of the United States.

I have, therefore, petitioned Congress to repeal such parts of those laws as require me to hear and determine appeals from the decisions of the Commissioner of Patents.

My memorial is, I believe, referred by the Senate to the Committee on the judiciary.

I suppose some substitute will be required for the provisions which may be repealed. With great respect, I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,

W. CRANCH. Hon. THOMAS EWBANK,

Commissioner of Patents.

7. Analytical and descriptive Inder of Inventions.--Respecting this great desideratem, I beg to refer to my Report for 1849, page 516; to repeat the recommendations and to urge the appropriation therein named, for the commencement of such a compilation. Its importance, utility and necessity are becoming more and more apparent. No state paper and no mere human volume can ever surpass it in immediate and endur

a

ing value. A greater boon to inventors, to science, and to the world at large, could hardly be named. It would be consulted as long as the arts are cherished, and would rather increase than diminish in interest as time rolls on.

If the cost of printing it be deemed an objection, a fair manuscript copy would be of great value to the examiners, and above all price to inventors and others, who should have access to it in person, or through their agents.

8. Chemical apparatus for the use of the office. In the chemical branch of the examining departinent the furniture of a small laboratory is much needed, to enable the examiner to verify or disprove alleged ingredients and results of applicants for patents for inaterials, processes and compounds. Section sixth of the act of 1836 provides that every applicant for a chemical patent shall accompany his application “ with specimens of ingredients and of the composition of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment.Hitherto no means of testing such specimens have been provided, although obviously within the meaning of the law. The increasing number of applications belonging to this class and their alleged importance render it highly desirable, and indeed indispensable, that the examiner should have at hand the means of arriving at correct and definite decisions. It is therefore proposed to have a room fitted up as a laboratory, and that the Commissioner be authorized to procure the requisite apparatus, at an expense not exceeding $800.

9. Reports of the office illustrated.It is very desirable that these docuiments should be rendered more practically useful to inventors, and to others interested in the progress of the arts. They are essentially defective in descriptions of devices patented, such descriptions being confined to the claims, the full meaning of which can seldom be understood for want of details and drawings. To publish the specifications in extenso would swell the annual exposition into several large volumes; but if simple and neat engraved illustrations were introduced along with the claims, a moderate addition only would be made to the volume now devoted to inventions. Let a small but clear outline engraving be given of cach patented invention—that is, of the peculiar portion covered luy the claim—and every person consulting the reports would understand the precise nature of the inventions at once, and consequently be prevented from repeating them. As long, therefore, as the specifications and drawings are not published in full, it would be a decided improvement, and in a majority of cases all that is wanted to convey a correct idea of the devices patented, to accompany each “claim” with a neat and lucid wood-cut illustration. Nearly every inventor would be glad to supply one, and few would object to a provision made by law, requir. ing one, or an electroty pe cast of one, to be furnished by each patentee. They might be, and in general ought to be, confined to the features patented, so that seldom more than half a page would be taken up, while in a majority of cases one-third of a page, or even less, would susfico.

The insertion of such illustrations would make the reports niuch more popular and useful. They would impart greatly increased and more definite information, a nd would save many an inventor an inconvenient outlay of time and money in travelling to Washington to examine the models in the Patent Office. The reports would be more care

[ocr errors]

Sully preserved, both in public and private libraries, and more frequently consulted by inventors and others.

As regards the style or workmanship in which the office reports are got up, I beg to suggest that a much smaller number than what is usu. ally printed would be preferable, in nearly every point of view, provided they were issued in respectable and enduring volumes. As permanent records, ten thousand copies, got up in a style creditable to the office and to the country, would be more valuable and do more service than ten times the number of the usual character. Instead of being rapidly consumed as waste-paper, they would be preserved in both private and pub. lic libraries. A complete set is not now to be had; and it is doubtful if a dozen sets are in existence; (there are none in the office of a date prior to 1845 ) This is believed to be chiefiy, if not wholly, due to the inferior quality of the paper and printing—to the unattractive and unsubstan. tial dress in which they have been sent forth.

If inventions are fraught with consequences of the highest import to the well-being of society and honorable to the people that originate them, descriptions of them are worthy of preservation; and the more so since every new application of science and every addition to art has a lasting value. Tomes of the early printers are extant, and their pages appear fresh as when struck off, promising to outlive most of modern works. Few, if any, of our Patent Office reports will be found on book-shelves

, four centuries hence-their materials will have perished;* while there is no room to doubt that thousands of volumes printed in the fifteenth cen. tury will be consulted in the twenty-fifth. The annual reports of a bureau so intimately allied with mechanical progress as this is, ought, in some degree, to correspond with the present state of the arts connected with book making. Our ministers abroad have often felt ashamed when comparing some of our documents with those of foreign governments. Of the 500 copies of the Report of 1849, Part 1, which the Senate authorized the undersigned to have printed, at a cost not exceeding fifty-five cents each, some were forwarded to American embassies abroad. The secretary of the legation at London, in acknowledging the receipt of a parcel, expressed his gratification at being furnished with a national doc. ument which he could exhibit without blushing.

It is the practice in nearly every public library to have its volumes bound in one uniform style; but with bound Patent Oflice reports this could not be done without cutting away the text, in consequence of the small portion of margin left by official binders; hence unbound are often preferred to bound copies. As the public binding is not calculated to be durable, it would be a decided improvement if the margin lest by the binders were required to be not less than five-eighths or three-quarters of an inch in width.

10. International cxchanges. It is proper, in this place, to acknowledge the obligations of the office to M. Alexandre Vattemare, the well known founder of the system of international exchanges, for valuable contributions to its library, and for collections of foreign seeds.

The “Annales des Ponts et Chaussées,a journal containing the transactions of the corps of topographical engineers in France, and

* A large edition of an English classic-disappeared in thirty years, from the corroding action of chlorine used in bleaching the paper.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »