« AnteriorContinuar »
ments in that bill, and the language, of course, would have to be arranged in whatever bill is brought out by the committee so as to cover it. I do not find it right away, but that is one of the things, Mr. Chairman, that I presume will have to be considered. Mr. LEwis. Do you have any questions of Mr. O'Hara! Mr. BRYSON. No, sir. Mr. O'HARA. I would suggest with all deference that there will be a lot of people here who know more about this patent law than I do, who can probably give you a lot more information. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. LEwis. Now, Congressman Rich of Pennsylvania is here.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT F. RICH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE FIFTEENTH DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. RICH. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am here in the interests of H. R. 1107. It provides only for the extension of patents to any person who served honorably in the military or naval forces of the United States at any time between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945, and provides for an extension of the patent for a further term equal to twice or three times the length of his service in the military or naval forces of the United States between the dates of December 7, 1941, and the date of the enactment of this act. Other specific details in the proposed bill clearly define it as a bill solely to benefit a veteran of World War II. This bill was taken up at the last session of Congress when our good and genial friend Fritz Lanham was chairman, and the Committee on Patents passed it, and it was passed through the House of Representatives. It was only, I understand, because of pressing business that it was not passed in the Senate. I was told that they were interested that the bill be passed there, but because of the lateness of the hour it was not able to get through. I hope that the committee will give it consideration and see that we give these World War veterans this consideration insofar as patents are concerned. Mr. LEwis. Is this an identical bill with the one that passed? Mr. RICH. An identical bill. Mr. KEATING. Did you introduce the bill at the last session? Mr. RICH. Yes: H. R. 1107 passed the last session of Congress. Mr. BRYsoN. Mr. Rich, you stated “to extend it two or three times the length of the service” that the man was in the service. I have not read the bill. Does it provide for two or three? Mr. RICH. Twice the length of time that he was in the service. Mr. KEATING. Does it differ from the O'Hara bill in that respect? Mr. Rich. I did not make the comparison with the O'Hara bill. Mr. KEATING. Do you know, Congressman O'Hara? Does your bill extend for twice the length Mr. O'HARA. I believe it is twice the length, but I am not sure. Mr. RICH. I refer to Mr. Lanham, who was chairman of the committee, who can throw more light on it. . Mr. KEATING. And I may say, our patent expert, too.
Mr. LANHAM. I am far from that. However, I have served for a quarter of a century on the Committee on Patents. You will find on pages 10426 and 10427 of the Congressional Record for Saturday, July 27, 1946, the bill as it passed the House, with certain committee amendments. The amendments are set out in the second column on po 10427. The principal difference was with reference to the term of the extension in the original law. That law provided for two or three times the length of the service in the armed forces, whereas the committee that passed upon this in the last Congress, the Committee on Patents, felt that the extension should be for no longer time than the length of service, which would give the full 17 years of operation to the veteran who was deprived of his opportunity of use by his service. The other amendments were correctional from the standpoint of changes which had been made in the patent laws since the bill was passed in 1928 with reference to servicemen in the First World War, relating to the difference of fees that were charged, and things of that character. I think you will find that the amendments set forth on page 10427 of the Record I have cited and the statement of the bill on those two pages will give you the attitude of the Committee on Patents in the last Congress after very careful consideration of this matter. Mr. O'HARA. I wanted to say in answer to your question that my bill provides three times the length of service in the armed services, whether Army or Navy. Mr. KEATING. Would you be interested in being heard on the question of why it should be longer than the length of time that the man was in the service? Mr. O'HARA. I am sorry to say that I have not any very definite ideas on that subject. I am sorry that my particular friend is not here and cannot be here, because he is stationed out in California at the resent time, but I would presume that this would be the situation, rom my very limited knowledge of patent law, after they get out of the service they are still going to have time to reinstate themselves and get back into the sale of the article that they patented, and I think it ought to be a little more than just merely the length of time that they were in the armed services. I think we ought to give them a little credit for patriotism and what they have done, rather than simply limiting it to the length of time that they were in the service, with all deference to what the Patent Committee may have done last time. Now, Mr. Rich's bill, as he stated, provides for twice the length of service, and my bill provides for three times the length of service. I think it ought to be more than just the length of service. Now, that is my personal view on the subject. Mr. RIGH, I might comment, also, with my friend and colleague, that I think after the boys return home from the service, it takes them a while before they can get themselves acclimated to their business, and they lose a lot of time in getting started. Some consideration, I believe, should be given for that time in order that they might, i. the fellows say, get their feet on the ground and get ready to do uSlneSS. Mr. KEATING. May I inquire what the bill provided, that was passed after the last war? Do you know, Mr. Lanham, about that? Mr. LANHAM. I cited the record in that regard a few minutes ago.
Mr. RICH. I thank you very much, gentlemen. I must go to another committee.
Mr. O'HARA. I will look that up while you are taking care of somebody else.
Mr. LEwis. Congressman Grant of Indiana is here, and wants to make a statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT A. GRANT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE THIRD DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF
Mr. GRANT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, certainly there can be no disagreement on the terms of i. two bills which you have just been discussing, namely, that that would enlarge the 17-year period for the benefit of a patent owner who has been absent in the service of his country. I say there should not be any argument about that at all because if the patent right is a vested right that we protect, we must give that man who has been called away the benefit of the 17-year opportunity to use that patent. The bill, H. R. 65, which I introduced, is, however, a broader bill than that. I think that my bill presents a question that the committee must consider as well because F.we concede, as I am sure we all do, that we must give some protection to the patent owner who has been absent in the service, certainly there is something to be said, too, for the patent owner who has been estopped from making use of his patent because of the control of ...' and their allocation during the period of the war, which was such that it estopped him from making use of that patent during the war. I am not here pleading the case of any individual product, item, or patent owner, but I am sure that all of us can think of a lot of items that were made of critical strategic materials, control of which was entirely under the authority of the Government during the period of the war, and the items in question being nonessential, or so-called luxury items, the owner of the patent was wholly estopped from making use of it, because of his inability to secure materials that were diverted toward the prosecution of the war during those war years. Mr. Chairman, I know that we are getting into a pretty broad field when we embark on a field as broad as the bill H. R. 65 might encourage, because there are some cases where use was made of a patent even during the war. The difficulty arises when you try to ascertain in any iven case whether a given patent could be used during the war and if so to what extent; to ascertain whether or not it was possible to enjoy the use of the patent during the war or whether enjoyment was prohibited by the act of the Government in the allocation of materials to go into the making of the product. f only throw this into the discussion because I think that there is something there that the committee must consider, if it wants to do justice, as I know it wants to do justice, to the thousands of other owners of little patents, who perhaps themselves might not have been in uniform, but may have been diverted to some other war work and deprived of the use and the enjoyment of their patent rights during those war years.
That is all I have to say, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. KEATING. Is there a representative of the Patent Office here to be heard later?
Mr. Lewis. There is to be a hearing for the representatives of the Patent Office.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Chairman, with reference to the question Mr. Keating asked as to what was done with the bill after the last war, the extension was for two times the length of service.
Now, in fairness to the committee- I happen to have served in the last war, and I served 27 months, which was one of the longer periods of service.
Now, in this war, some of these boys have served 5 or 512 years, or 44, years, so in fairness to the committee, that might be a little long, and while my language is the same as that which was considered after the last war, I would say that even if it were double the time it would probably serve as broad a benefit as it would for three times during the last war, and in fairness to the committee I merely call that to your attention with reference to the time element.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much, Mr. O'Hara.
I appreciate, Mr. Keating, that it brings up a question that is pretty staggering in its proportions as you weigh it in the light of our whole business world, but I am sure you will agree with me that there are a lot of patent holders who were not in uniform who were deprived of the use of their patent.
Suppose the shooting war had lasted 10, 12, or 15 years. It in effect would wholly nullify the ownership and the use and enjoyment of a patent to a man who happened not to have been in uniform if the narrower bills that would confine themselves to those in uniform were to be adopted and no benefits given to those who happened not to be in uniform.
I think it does present a question that the committee must give some serious thought to in the over-all problem.
Mr. KEATING. You have no suggestion, do you, as to a method of prescribing a body or person who could determine whether a man had been deprived of his patent rights by lack of materials ?
Mr. GRANT. No; I do not. I have not thought this thing through that far. Certainly if you go beyond the scope of the patent owner who was in uniform, you will have to give some group the authority to decide whether the patent owner was one who was deprived of the ownership and enjoyment of his patent or whether he was not, and it has to be a good definition, of course. If it is not, you are just going to create a lot of business for the law profession, of which I am a member. I would have a lot of questions in the courts. So the definition has to be a good one, if we do go beyond the scope of the man in uniform.
Mr. KEATING. Your bill does not attempt to do that, does it?
Mr. Bryson. Yours is simply a blanket extension, is it not, for all patentees?
Mr. GRANT. Yes, sir.
Mr. KEATING. Would you favor the setting up of a new board or bureau or agency to pass on that question?
Mr. GRANT. No; I am one "...i. we have enough today.
Will that be all, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. LEwis. That is all.
Mr. GRANT. Thank you.
Mr. LEwis. Thank you very much, Mr. Grant.
Now, we have Mr. ś, of the Patent Law Association.
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS D. STEPHENS, CHAIRMAN, LAW AND RULES COMMITTEE, OF THE AMERICAN PATENT LAW ASS0CIATION
Mr. STEPHENs. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Francis D. Stephens. I am the chairman of the laws and rules committee of the American Patent Law Association. For the information of your committee, this is an association of lawyers who are specializing in patent law, and represents lawyers from all over the United States. The association recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary, so it is an association which has long been interested in these affairs. It so happens that the association had a meeting on March 28, 1947. Mr. LEwis. Sit down, Mr. Stephens. You do not have to stand. Mr. STEPHENs. Thank you. At this meeting, these various bills were taken under consideration, and the association voted to oppose the passage of these bills. Mr. LEwis. All of them? Mr. STEPHENs. All of them. The vote in this direction was because the association is in principle against the passage of any bill which would extend the #. of any patent, although we realize that there are special hardship cases, as where fraud has been involved, in which justice demands that the life of a patent should be extended. But in principle the association is opposed to the extension of the life of any patent. The association took this position at the end of the last war or World War I, in which a written protest was made to Congress against the passage of any bills extending the life of patents. We realize that in spite of that protest a bill was passed, which, in effect, extended the life of six patents. The association also opposed the bills which were introduced into the Seventy-ninth Congress for the extension of the life of patents. In general, the reasons for this o lie in the fact that the patent system is extremely complex. There are hundreds of thousands of valid patents, patents on which the 17-year period has not yet run. Some of these patents, a great many of them, perhaps, are worthless. A great many of them are extremely valuable. Because of the number of them, industry must watch very closely as to where they stand with respect to the valid patents. In anticipation of the expiration of a patent certain industries may start to acquire materials, build plants, or lay plans for getting into a market which was heretofore held under a patent monopoly.