Зображення сторінки

aggregate for the year, of 1096; the amount of the duties on wbich will be upwards of 32,000 dollars. The whole number issued at the Patentoffice, under the laws of the United States, up to the 31st of March last, is 9731. This is more than double the number which have been issued either in England or France during the same period. In England for ten years preceding 1830, the average number of patents granted in one year was 145.

“Whoever imagines that, because so many inventions and so many improvements in macbinery have been made, there remains little else to be discovered, has but a feeble conception of the infinitude and vastness of mechanical powers, or of the unlimited reach of science. Much as bas been discovered, infinitely more remains unrevealed. The ingenuity of man is exploring a region without limits, and delving in a mine whose treasures are exbaustless. Neither are all the mysteries of nature unfolded, nor the mind tired in the pursuit of them.'

“ Heretofore, aliens not resident in this country have not been admitted to the privileges of our patent laws. But, as American citizens are allowed to take out patents in England and in other countries, a principle of reciprocity would seem to require that foreigners should have similar privileges here, on paving a similar duty or amount of fees that is exacted of our citizens abroad. The fees payable in England, on taking out a patent, amount to 585 dollars. If a patent be taken out for the three kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland, they amount to 1680 dollars. In France they are 309 dollars; in Spain, 292 dollars ; Austria, 208 dollars.

“A power in the Commissioner of the Patent-office to reject applications for want of novelty in the invention, it is believed, will bave a most beneficial and salutary effect in relieving meritorious inventors, and the community generally, from the serious evils growing out of the granting of patents for everything indiscriminately, creating interfering claims, encouraging fraudulent speculators in patent rights, deluging the country with worthless monopolies, and laying the foundation for endless litigation.

“In nineteen cases out of twenty, probably, the opinion of the Commissioner, accompanied by the information on which his decision is founded, will be acquiesced in. When unsatisfactory, the rights of the applicant will find ample protection in an appeal to a board of examiners, selected for their particular knowledge of the subject-matter of the invention in each case.

“By this means, without danger to actual and honest inventors, the number of patents would be somewhat diminished. But there would be more confidence in those wbich should be granted, and as those which have been heretofore issued, should be daily expiring by their limitation, the community would begin to feel and realize the advantages of such a change, The present law waits till infringements and frauds are consummated-nay, it even aids them; and then it offers an adequate remedy for the injury, by giving an action for damages. It ought, rather, by refusing to grant interfering patents, to render prosecutions unnecessary. Instead of sanctioning the wrong by granting the privilege to commit it, it should arrest injury and injustice at the threshold, and put an end to litigation before it begins.

“ To carry fully into effect the objects which have been had in view, it will be necessary to provide larger and more commodious rooms for models, &c., than those now occupied for that purpose. They are insufficient for the models of machinery and other inventions now deposited there, and the number will be increasing several hundred, perhaps a thousand, every year.

“Such a building as this branch of the public interests requires, would do honour to the government and the country. The Patent-office, with such accommodations, containing the records of this age of inventions, displaying in its halls and galleries numberless models of ingenious and useful mechanism, and contrivances in almost infinite variety, adapted to the mechanic arts, to manufactures, to husbandry, to navigation, steampower, borse-power, water-power, railroad transportation, and, in fine, to all the common trades and mechanical pursuits of life, as well as to our rapidly multiplying and magnificent public works, would present an object of interest, and tend not a little to elevate our national character. It has been justly remarked that we can go into no mechanic shop, into no manufactory of any description, upon no farm or plantation, or travel a mile on our railroads or in our steam-boats, without seeing the evidence of our originality, and witnessing the fruits and effects of our ingenuity and enterprise. All the inventions and improvements in mechanism which have done so much towards advancing the useful arts and manufactures, should, as far as practicable, be exhibited in one view in the halls of the Patent-office. Such a display would attract the attention of the many thousands who annually visit the capital of the Union from all quarters of the country, and all parts of the world. No other nation has yet any thing to be compared with it; neither England nor France has ever required models to be deposited of patented machinery, Collections of models and drawings have sometimes been made by private associations, but they are small in number compared with those we possess.

“ In addition to the models of machinery, it is proposed to embrace an exbibition of specimens of useful and elegant fabrics and of works of art, which manufacturers and artificers may place there for that purpose. It might, too, embrace a cabinet of interesting minerals, which may be received from time to time from the various parts of our widely-extended country, with polished specimens of its beautiful marbles from their different locations, illustrating the geology and many of the natural resources of the country; and also, a collection of Indian curiosities and antiquities, many of wbich are now in the possession of one of the departments, boxed for want of some suitable place for their exbibition.

“In short, the halls of the Patent-office should present a national museum of the arts, and be a general repository of all the inventions and improvements in machinery and manufactures, of which our country can claim the honour, together with such other objects of interest as might conveniently and properly be placed under the superintendence of the Commissioner. Such an institution, wbile it would be an object of just pride to every American, would bave scarcely less influence in advancing and accelerating the progress of the useful arts and the improvement of our manufactures, than would even the encouragement afforded by granting patents for inventions, or establishing high tariffs of protection.

With these views, the committee cannot hesitate to recommend an entire reorganization of the Patent-office, and several material alterations in our law of patents, suiting it to the present condition of the arts and the altered circumstances of the country.”

A bill in conformity with these principles passed into a law on the 4th of July, 1836.

Note C. Patents and Copyright tribunals, p. 71. The proposition that special tribunals are essential to any good administration of the laws of patents and copyright in all their multifarious branches, does not, in itself, involve anything that can justify the alarm with wbich, in some quarters, it has been received. For this principle of speciality in the tribunal, on account of the peculiar acquirements and qualifications which the matters to be judged of render essential, is already perfectly familiar to English jurisprudence;—as evinced, for example, in our courts of admiralty.

Such alarm, however, is (it must be admitted) perfectly natural, when expressed by writers on law who are capable of stating gravely, that “ the principal recommendation of the existing laws [respecting patents for inventions) is their simplicity." Nor can we be surprised that such a statement should be accompanied by a complacent declaration that, while “the crown grants the privilege” of a patent, [charging, it may be £360 for such grant] “at the same time it conceives that the party in whose favour the grant is made, will take every means to make the patent most secure, and does not therefore interfere, but leaves it wholly to the patentee to protect his rights."'+

But it is not even true that the patentee, or the possessor of copyright, whether in a book or a work of art, is left to protect his right, for he is often positively hindered from making any such attempt, by the want of a tribunal so constituted as to afford him a reasonable chance of obtaining justice.

Carpmael's Laws of Patents for inventions familiarly explained,

P. 60.

+ Ibid.

I have stated, in the text, my opinion that a careful consideration of the administration of copyright law in France-especially that part of it which relates to manufactures--will be an excellent preliminary to the preparation of a good measure for England. And I further purpose in this note to enumerate two or three general principles which seem to me essential to any such measure. For the more practical discussion of the whole subject, opportunities will not be wanting.

I conceive then, that as respects patents, there can be no good pro. visions for remedy against infringement, which do not presuppose some examination into the merits of an invention or improvement prior to a patent being granted. Much of the reasoning on this point, contained in the Report of the American Committee of Congress, quoted in the preceding note, is perfectly applicable to England.

A board of commissioners, few in number, and so framed as to include both sound legal, and sound scientific knowledge, would, I apprebend, be found equally well fitted to grant patents or protections, in the first instance, and to act as judges in all disputed cases, having power to summon juries composed of persons familiar with the subject matters in dispute; but at the same time so chosen as that the jury in any given case shall not consist of persons professionally interested in the art or manufacture immediately affected.

And what, I would ask, is there in this, that is not perfectly practicable ? All the fine-spun objections about “scientific jealousies,”

clashing interests," and the like, take for granted that no provision can be made for insuring an adequate scientific or artistic knowledge in a jury of this kind, save by composing it of persons having a direct professional interest in the particular matter at issue. As though, for example, in a patent-case respecting a musical instrument, you must have either a jury brought together by chance, or else a jury of musical instrument makers.

As respects literary copyright and copyright in works of plastic art, it needs no lengthened argument to make it apparent that difficulties of this kind will be far less serious than in matters of manufacture. Indeed they can scarcely be said to exist at all, as regards the object we have here in view.

In respect of penalties for infringement, the great object should be to make profit next to impossible, in conformity with the grand principle of all sound criminal legislation that of making the punishment analogous to the nature of the crime and the object of the criminal.

In the case of books, or of prints, &c., a penalty in the whole amount of the difference between the actual cost of the counterfeit edition, and the selling price of an equal copyright edition, would seem to have tbis character; and it should, of course, be accompanied by confiscation of all unsold copies.

With these slight hints I leave the subject for the present.

Note D. Schools of Art and Public Exhibitions,—their Effects on

National Industry, p. 104.


This grand national exbibition, which bas had such important effects on the manufactures of France, originated under the Directory, in 1798. There were three exhibitions under the rule of Napoleon, two in the reign of Louis XVIII., and one in that of Charles X., held in the lower galleries of the Louvre. The ninth exhibition, far more important than all which had preceded it, took place in 1834, in four temporary saloons of large dimensions, constructed for the purpose on the Place de la Concorde - the galleries of the Louvre being found insufficient to afford the requisite accommodation.

In the first exhibition (1798) there were 110 exhibitors, of whom 12 were rewarded with medals of the first class, and 13 with medals of the second class; or 23 rewards to each 100 exhibitors. In the seventh exhibition (1827)—the last which was held prior to the Revolution of July– the number of exhibitors was 1831, of whom 425 were rewarded, or 26 per cent. In the exhibition of 1834, the number of exhibitors was 2447; that of rewards 697, or 28 per cent. In this latter number were included 27 mechanists, models of whose machines the jury recommended to be executed at the national expense, and deposited in the Conservatoire Royal des Arts et Manufactures.

No statistical details can afford an altogether adequate idea of the good effects of these exhibitions upon the national industry, and especially on those branches of it with which the arts of design are more immediately connected. These details, however, have their value.

The following table will serve to show the number of inventions and improvements for which patents were granted in each year during which these exhibitions were held, as compared with the number of medals awarded to the exhibitors;

The increase of the former, it will be seen, as compared with the latter, between the years 1819 and 1834, was more than double :

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »