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ranked as first-class discoveries. We think a little reflection will show that any such attempt to classify inventions, or the exercise of any such discretionary power on the part of the officers of the Crown, would be a capital error. Nearly every machine of importance has been brought to its present state of perfection by means of the joint labours of a large number of independent inventors, each of whom has improved upon the discoveries and contrivances of his predecessors, sometimes by the addition of valuable details, sometimes by the application of superior principles of action.

In some instances these improvements have been so numerous and so important, that the machines of the original inventors are little more than foundations for the magnificent superstructures, which successive inventors have raised upon them for our use and admiration; and it cannot be doubted that the great incentive to the industry which produced these results, was the protection and encouragement afforded by our laws, to the inventors of improvements in the details of machines already in use.

If such protection and encouragement had not been given, we think it is certain that a very small proportion of the improvements in question would ever have been made, and that instead of having steam engines, and machines for the making of textile fabrics, which are the wonder of the world, we should have had little more than reproductions of the comparatively rude contrivances which are now preserved as curiosities at the museum of the Patent Office. The same incentive is still active in stimulating our inventors to the continual improvement of the various machines, upon which our individual comfort and our national greatness so largely depend, and we are convinced that it could not be withdrawn without most serious and prejudicial consequences to the one and to the other.

The refusal of the protection afforded by letters patent to inventors, whose inventions appeared to the officers of the Crown to be of minor importance, would not be productive of such disastrous consequences, as the refusal of the like protection to the inventors of improvements in the details of machines already in use. We think, however, that the exercise of any such discretionary power, as to the granting or withholding of letters patent, should be condemned. It would have a most depressing effect upon the invention of articles, which, though not of first rate importance, are of great public utility, and in some instances, prejudice, and want of insight into the merits of the inventions submitted to them, on the part of the officers of the Crown, or of the skilled persons consulted by them, would lead to the repression of first rate discoveries. It is well known that many inventions, which have ultimately been proved to be of the greatest importance, have been condemned by men, whose opinions were treated with the greatest deference by the age in which they lived. Men who were, at the time, considered competent authorities, said that the propulsion of ships by means of steam could never be a commercial success; and the lighting of towns, by means of coal gas, was once pronounced to be an impossibility by a man who had achieved the greatest distinction in chemistry and science.

The most determined opposition of men who were honest, but who failed to appreciate its merits, and of men whose personal interests were adverse to its success, was the ordeal, through which nearly every great discovery had to pass, before its value was realised and admitted. This opposition was often so strong, and was supported by such a weight of authority, that only the enthusiasm of an inventor could have supplied the perseverance which ultimately conquered it, by such an exhibition of success, as an accomplished fact, that it could not any longer be doubted. It is true that inventors are often deluded by hopes which can never be realised, and are obliged to abandon, as impracticable and useless, the schemes upon which they have spent much time and money. Under laws, however, which allow letters patent to be obtained for any improvement in an art or manufacture, in the utility of which the inventor has confidence, we have the best possible guarantee that no invention will be prematurely abandoned; for every invention, for which a patent has been

l; taken, is sure to be tested, to the utmost of his ability to do so, by a man who has a direct interest in its success, and who is stimulated to attempt to overcome all obstacles, by a firm belief that he will ultimately succeed in overcoming them.

We have given a general outline of the origin and history of our patent laws, and have stated some of their principal provisions as they now exist; we also have made some observations on the justice and policy of laws, devised so as to allow every inventor to obtain a fair and reasonable reward for his ability and industry, without causing serious injury or inconvenience to the people in general, or to the public service. We shall now proceed to notice some amendments, by which we think our patent laws may be made more conducive to this end; and the first point to which we shall direct our attention, is the machinery by which they are administered. The Commissioners of Patents for Inventions are the Lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls, Her Majesty's Attorney-General for England, Her Majesty's Solicitor-General for England, the Lord Advocate, Her Majesty's Solicitor-General for Scotland, Her Majesty's Attorney-General for Ireland, and Her Majesty's SolicitorGeneral for Ireland, for the time being respectively, together with other persons appointed by Her Majesty. To the Lord Chancellor and the Commissioners of Patents is intrusted the administration of that part of the patent law which relates to the granting of letters patent for inventions, while questions respecting rights and liabilities under the patents, after they have been granted, are determined by the ordinary Courts of Law and Equity. A glance at the titles of these officials is sufficient to show us that they are not likely to have any special qualifications for the administration of this branch of the patent law. We are also aware, that the time of the Law Officers of the Crown is 80 fully occupied by other business, that it is impossible for them to devote proper attention to the specifications referred to them, and we come to the conclusion that this part of the public service must, necessarily, be conducted in a careless and inefficient manner. This is, in fact, the case, and yet the cost of maintaining it is so great, that if the money were more judiciously applied, in addition to paying for the administration of that part of the patent law now under our consideration, in a much more efficient manner than it is now administered, it would be sufficient to enable us to provide a special court for the trial of all questions respecting patent rights, to the great relief of the ordinary courts of the country, and to the great advantage of patentees, and of all persons having interests under patents.

The above considerations are sufficient to show us, that our first step in Patent Law Reform should be to enact, that the Lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls, Her Majesty's Attorney-General for England, Her Majesty's Solicitor-General for England, the Lord Advocate, Her Majesty's Solicitor-General for Scotland, Her Majesty's AttorneyGeneral for Ireland, and Her Majesty's Solicitor-General for Ireland, for the time being respectively, together with all other persons who are now Commissioners of Patents for Inventions, shall cease to be such Commissioners, and that the ordinary Courts of Law and Equity shall cease to have jurisdiction in cases involving the consideration of patent rights. The ground having been thus cleared, our next step should be the establishment of a system of patent law administration of such efficiency, that it would be of real service, both to inventors and to the public. In order to accomplish this, we propose that a sufficient number of men should be selected for their special fitness for the duties which they would have to discharge, and that they should be appointed Commissioners of Patents for Inventions, and also Judges of a Patent Court, which should be established for the trial of all causes involving the consideration of patent rights. It would not be difficult to find men, who would be both willing and well qualified to undertake the administration of the patent laws in all their departments, and the services of a sufficient number of such men should be secured for this purpose.

To these officers, who would be both Commissioners of Patents for Inventions and Judges of the Patent Court, should be handed over the entire administration of the law of patents, and they should be given exclusive jurisdiction in all questions arising under it. The granting of letters patent for inventions, and the determination of disputes respecting them after they had been granted, would thus belong to one department of the public service, and would be under the administration of one set of officials, and we think that this concentration of jurisdiction and authority would be both advantageous and economical. As Commissioners of Patents, these officials should be charged with the duty of examining applications for patent rights, and of granting letters patent, and they should be provided with a seal with which letters patent should be sealed instead of with the Great Seal. As judges of the Patent Court they should, in cases within their jurisdiction, have all the powers now exercised by the judges of the Superior Courts, both of Law and Equity; they would then have concentrated in themselves all the powers necessary to enable them to do complete justice between the parties coming before them.

Each case should be tried by a single judge in the first instance; from his decision an appeal should lie to the full Court, and the decision of the full Court should be final. Trial by jury should be abolished in all cases within the jurisdiction of the Patent Court, questions both of law and of fact, in the cases coming before them, being determined by its judges alone. We should then cease to commit the absurdity of charging any twelve men who chance to be called into the jury box with the determination of questions, which can only be fully understood by persons who have had

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