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of arms, hardware, and cutlery, it is provided that there shall be in the council so many hardware manufacturers and so many silk manufacturers. And at Rouen, where the council is composed of fifteen persons, five are chosen from amongst the manufacturers of cotton, linens, or silks; two amongst spinners or machine makers; two amongst woollen manufacturers; two amongst chemists, dyers, bleachers, &c.; twoamongst printers of cotton or paper; one amongst potters or metal founders ; one amongst soap makers, &c.
It may also be stated as some proof of the popularity as well as of the activity of these tribunals, that although in the year 1835 there were no less than 3,835 cases of all kinds, (including those concerning wages,) decided by the council established at Lyons, yet appeals against their decisions were made in 152 cases only. The court of appeal is the tribunal of commerce.
Dr. Bowring states that he has attended the proceedings of these councils, and has found their decisions generally satisfactory; that in all cases of interest there is a large attendance both of manufacturers and of workmen; and he is of opinion that no better organization has yet been discovered for the application of a fit and economical remedy for such cases as these councils are ordinarily called upon to decide.
Such is the constitution of the copyright tribunals of Ibid. 55. the manufacturing cities and towns of France. They appear to have been not unfitly called tribunals of conciliation, as well as of justice. And if judiciously imitated (not slavishly copied), with such modifications as different circumstances may demand, I doubt not our own manufacturers would derive great and seasonable benefit. I have endeavoured to sketch the leading provisions of such a measure in note C of the Appendix. appendix
But no measures for the protection of copyright, how- 5. Letters
patent for ever large and comprehensive, will-render complete
justice, either to the artist or to the manufacturer,
unless accompanied by the searching revision and Ante, p. 18. radical improvement of our Patent Laws. I have
already intimated what seem to me the main objects of such a reform. Simplicity of the forms of procedure; reduction of the stamp duties and fees; abolition of separate patents for different portions of the kingdom; provisions for cheap and safe transfer, and for competent tribunals, and consequent abolition of many needless causes of vexatious litigation. At present, I address myself to the provisions of the bill introduced by Mr. Mackinnon into the House of Commons, and enquire how far these objects are likely to be attained
by it, should it pass into a law. Mackin- By this bill it is proposed to transfer the power now non's bill erercised by
exercised by the Attorney and Solicitor General in the the practice granting of patents, under the old statute, and also letters pa.
• those respecting the entry of disclaimer or memoranda of
alterations, under 5 and 6 W.IV. to a board of commis. $1 to 8.
sioners to be appointed by Her Majesty, and styled the commissioners of patents for inventions ; they are to have a secretary and two registrars also appointed by Her Majesty; and their powers are not to interfere with the jurisdiction, either of the judicial committee of the
Privy Council or of the courts at Westminster. $ 9.
Petitions (in form, &c. as at present,) for letters patent are to be filed with the registrar and kept as of record. The commissioners are to hear objections, after public advertisement, and if they decide to grant the prayer of the petitions,are to makeonita draftor bill to the Secretary of State, who is to return it with Her Majesty's sign manual. The commissioners are then to make out letters patent and send them with the bill to the
Lord Chancellor, who is to affix the great seal, and $ 10 to 12. return them to the board. The mode of proceeding
for disclaimers is similar to that now followed before the Attorney General.
Letters patent, in respect of protection against in- $ 14. fringement, are to bear the date of filing the petition, and they are to extend to Great Britain, Ireland, and the 15. Colonies, except when especially limited.
By this bill the cost of letters patent is to be two $21,25,and hundred pounds, (£100 on petition, £100 on grant,) as
Schedule. set forth in the schedule annexed to it, and in addition, such fees at the offices of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State, und at the office of the Commissioners, not set forth in the schedule before referred to, as shall appear to them expedient. The stamp duties are reduced to ten $ 13. pounds, five pounds on petition, five on specification.
All fees are to be paid into the Bank of England $ 22,20 to the account of the commissioners, and are to be chargeable, first, with such compensation as the Commissioners of the Treasury shall award to persons injured by the operations of this act; secondly, with salaries and expenses; and the surplus is to be paid to the consolidated fund.
The substitution of a board of commissioners, specially qualified, in the place of the Attorney General or Solicitor General; the affording security, as against infringement, from the date of petition; the extension of the patent to the whole of the kingdom; and the uniformity of registration*, are all real and important improvements; and there is also an excellent provision $24. for preventing any officer, appointed under the act, from being employed as a patent agent. But here commendation must stop.
• At present, enrolments are made indifferently at any of the three offices; and the enrolment books contain grants of all kinds, without indices, hence the difficulty of search.
Omissions of this bill.
The bill contains none of the following provisions, the urgent importance of all of which (amongst others) was, I apprehended, sufficiently demonstrated in the evidence collected by the Commons' Committee of 1829, which evidence, as I have before observed, has never been reported upon:
1. Repeal of so much of the statute of James as relates to letters patent for inventions, and clear definition of what shall henceforth be the subject matters of such patents ;*
2. Terms of different duration according to the nature of the invention; the cost of protection varying with the period for which it is required ; (Query, whether an annual graduated payment would not be
• Hear Mr. Rotch on this point. What can be the subject matter of a patent “ should be provided for by statute. It should not be in the breast of one judge to say, a man cannot take out a patent for an improvement, and of another to say he can; that is only the state of the law according to the decisions of the judges, not according to the statute of monopolies. One judge will fly back to the statute and say, improvements are not provided for.-'I hold this bad.' Another will stretch a little further and say, 'this ought to be the subject of a patent, and I will hold it to be so.' Again, Lord Tenterden said, “no merely philosophical or abstract principle can answer to the word “manufacture';'' that is taken hold of as laying down broadly that you cannot have a patent for a principle. I will tell the committee where it was acted on the other day, and a decision directly against the patent, which decision wus reversed again on an appeal, and the patent held to be right, showing that no man can say what the law is on the subject.”—Evidence of Mr. Rotch before Committee on Patents, pages 110, 112. I bave mentioned the case alluded to by Mr. Rotch in the Appendix. The singular manner in which Lord Tenterden expressed himself in bis celebrated judgment, in the King v. Wheeler, as to what constitutes a “new manufacture,” forcibly illustrates the argument:-“the word manufacture,” he says, “ has been generally understood to denote either a thing made, which is useful for its own sake, or vendible as such; ... or to mean an engine or instrument employed either in making some previously kpown article, or in some other useful purpose, &c., or it may perhaps extend also to a new process, to be carried on by known implements or elements acting upon known substances, and ultimately producing some other known substance, but producing it more cheaply and expeditiously,” &c.
advantageous? It obtains in Austria, where the whole cost of a patent for fifteen years amounts to about forty guineas.)
3. Reduction of fees and simplification of the forms of procedure. In neither of these particulars does Mr. Mackinnon's bill propose to effect any adequate improvement;
4. A competent examination of the specification, as well for the public interest (on the expiry of the term) as for the inventor's security, during its continuance;
5. Competency of the juries who are to try cases of disputed right and of infringement, often involving difficult scientific questions;
6. An official vendible publication of patent specifications, with adequate guarantees for its accuracy; as well as to diminish the expenses of legal proceeding as to provide for the due knowledge of all inventions patented;
7. Appropriation of any surplus which may fairly occur, from the (reduced) fees paid for patents, not to the Consolidated Fund, but to the reward of those inventors and public benefactors, who may fail of being otherwise remunerated.*
For, improve our laws of copyright and patents as we may, many inventors to whom the public become deeply indebted will fail of being adequately rewarded, merely by the protection of their property. It is true that British inventors are not now (so often) actively persecuted as they were two or three generations back, and even later; but they are still exposed to severer trials
• If any of these propositions appear to require proof or explanation, it will perhaps be found in the note upon letters patent in the Appendix. To go into more minute detail bere would occupy too much space, and the subject has already taken up more than I had intended to allot to it.