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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
Schedule. hundred pounds, (£100 on petition, £100 on grant,) as 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 $ 22,26,27. 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, pbilosophical 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 have mentioned the case alluded to by Mr. Rotch in the Appendix. The singular manner in which Lord Tenterden expressed himself in his 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 known 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 here would occupy too much space, and the subject has already taken up more than I had intended to allot to it.
Fate of in- than most men, and their path is constantly impeded by
the most bitter and obstinate prejudices.
Two centuries ago, Edward, Lord Dudley, the inley.
ventor of that process of smelting iron ore with pit coal, which has conferred on his country such incalculable wealth, and has placed the mightiest of all implements in the hands of her industry, was assaulted by a mob, and the fruit of his toils violently torn from him. He
died a ruined man. Priestley.
Little more than half a century ago, the pure and large-minded Priestley, “the father of pneumatic chemistry," as he has been aptly called, was similarly assaulted. He escaped with his life, but his home was set fire to, and his unpublished manuscripts perished
in the flames. Hargraves.
About the same period James Hargraves--the inventor of a machine which in its ultimate results has changed the face of entire counties, giving riches for poverty, and inducing improvements which will never stop, until the excessive labour of the hands gives place to the salutary labour of the brain, and inert power becomes everywhere the unerring instrument of the enlightened mind—was compelled to flee from his birth-place, and to take refuge in a distant county. And when at a subsequent period, his unremitting labour seemed at last to promise him some degree of reward, a formal association, was organized against him, for the express purpose of preventing, by the strength of combined capital, his enjoyment of the fruits of his own inventions. He died in obscurity and distress, but his inven
tions came into universal use. Arkwright. Arkwright* followed with his important improvements
As Mr. Arkwright was afterwards Sir Richard, it might be thoughtlessly imagined that he was knighted for his public services: this would be a great mistake, he was knighted for carrying up an address on a birthday in the season of bis prosperity.
in the same manufacture. Fearing the fate of his predecessors, he too left his native county, and after almost incredible exertions, succeeded in establishing himself in trade in Nottingham, and afterwards in Derbyshire. Having obtained a patent, he and his partners expended £12,000 before any profit was made. An association was formed to make a common purse for the purpose of attacking this patent also, and succeeded: the patent was cancelled on the ground of technical deficiency, although its substantial novelty, its great merits and national importance were generally acknowledged. Injuries to buildings and machinery were likewise inflicted on the unfortunate inventor to the amount of thousands* by a mob of a lower grade. He submitted his case to parliament, but without avail.
But Arkwright was ultimately prosperous in trade, and amassed a large fortune as a cotton manufacturer, though not larger than that made by many others, in consequence of his invention and by copying his method, who themselves never invented anything.
Samuel Crumpton, who combined the inventions of Crumpton. Arkwright and Hargraves in his "mule,” was less fortunate; like Hargraves he was ruined in his circumstances, and languished in poverty during a long life, in the very heart of that district which the practice of his inventions has raised from insignificance into importance and wealth. The tardy pittance of reward which reached him in the evening of his life came too late to save him from the consequence of his being an inventor.
Undeterred by the fate of so many of his prede- Watt. cessors, James Watt, perceiving the mighty powers, yet latent in the "fire-engine” (the name by which the
• See the case of Mr. Richard Arkwright, printed for the consideration of Parliament, in 1782.