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Mr. FEDERICO. It gives the two dates, December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945.
Mr. KEATING. So he has to have owned it between those periods to get the benefit.
Mr. FEDERICO. It may not be there explicitly, but that would be the .answer, to make that same period apply.
Mr. KEATING. Yes.
STATEMENT OF COL. GEORGE W. GARDES, UNITED STATES ARMY,
REPRESENTING THE WAR DEPARTMENT Colonel GARDES. Mr. Chairman, the War Department has not been able to ascertain the views of the Bureau of the Budget prior to appearing before you and I wish to advise that my testimony does not involve any commitment as to the relationship of the legislation questioned here to the program of the President.
My office was notified of the hearings on these bills this morning and from a quick search of our records, it appeared that the War Department had not had a formal request to report on these bills and so has not had an opportunity to make a written report to the committee in a normal fashion nor to make an exhaustive study of these bills, but nevertheless welcomes this opportunity to present its views.
Referring first to H. R. 65 and H. R. 1984, the War Department does not look with favor upon these bills, for the reason that they provide benefits to patent owners without requiring the showing of injury or loss to the beneficiary as a result of the instance of war, and in that respect, would afford unjust enrichment in the form of an extension of the period of the patent protection to a large number of patent owners who have suffered no loss or damage from the eventuality of war.
These bills are further opposed on the ground that they would create a future and presently incalculable potential liability for the patent infriengement by the War Department as well as by other Government agencies of an indeterminate number of patents in the period of extension proposed beyond the statutory grant of 17 years, a liability which is not now in contemplation.
Mr. LEWIS. Why do you say that, Colonel?
Colonel GARDES. Under the act of Congress of 1910, as amended in 1918, the Government is given the right to use such inventions as are necessary in the manufacturing that is done for governmental purposes. The owners of the patents whose inventions are used can come to the Court of Claims and secure damages for the use of their invention. Those damages are measured in terms of the amount of use of the invention by the Government.
That is a common form of measurement. In other words, if 100 articles of a given kind were made by the Government which infringed
a man's patent, his damages would be measured in terms of the 100 articles.
By extending the life of patents beyond 17 years, you would extend the period of possible liability by the Government for the use of inventions for a longer period, which would increase the amount of damages that the Government would be subjected to.
With reference to H. R. 124 and 1107, the War Department is not directly concerned with the purpose of these bills, and is not opposed to legislation granting benefits to veterans which are calculated to facilitate their rehabilitation and readjustment and establishment in civilian life, unless such legislation is discriminatory of one class of veterans aganst another. That does not appear to be the case.
That concludes my testimony, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. Robert S. Pasley, office of counsel, Office of Naval Research.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT S. PASLEY, OFFICE OF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF
NAVAL RESEARCH, REPRESENTING THE NAVY DEPARTMENT
Mr. PASLEY. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the Navy Department also has been notified of this hearing just a short while ago, last night, to be exact, and we have not had the time to prepare a formal statement or to ascertain the views of the Bureau of the Budget or the relationship of the proposed legislation or our views thereon to the program of the President.
I should like to say that Admiral Lee, the Chief of Naval Research, who is charged with the administration and control of all matters pertaining to patents in the Navy Department, is sorry that he could not be here this morning and appear before you, but he has asked me to come, as counsel to the Office of Naval Research, and represent him.
With respect to H. R. 65, I should like to say that last year the Navy Department submitted a statement on an identical bill, H. R. 3069, in opposition to that legislation. The position of the Navy Department has not changed with respect to that bill and the ground of our opposition is this: That the bill, which provides for a sweeping and automatic extension of all patents in existence on December 7, 1941, or granted since that date, is of such a general nature that it provides benefits for all patent owners, regardless of whether they were injured during the war, and might even apply to some who had actually benefited during the war to a greater extent than they might otherwise have done.
Also, the effect of such a bill would be to increase greatly the potential liability of the Navy Department for the use of inventions for which the owners have already received adequate compensation, and as Colonel Gardes has just explained to you, if their patents are to be extended they might be able to come in and claim additional compensation.
The Navy Department believes that a bill of this type is contrary to the well-established policy of Congress to grant extensions of patents only in individual cases or only where exceptional circumstances warrant it.
Also, we feel that this attempt to single out the owners of patents for special legislation on the ground of possible injury during the war is not quite fair to other people and other citizens who have been injured in one way or another by the war.
Now, with respect to H. R. 1984, the position of the Navy Department is substantially the same, except that this bill does not seem to be quite so objectionable. It does require a showing that the patent owner did not benefit during the period of the war and would not obtain any benefit during the lifetime of such patent and also it is not automatic. The extension has to be granted by the President in accordance with rules and regulations to be prescribed by him. Nevertheless, in principle, the bill is subject to the same objections, in that it singles out patent owners. It does not necessarily provide for just those patent owners who have been injured by the war, and it increases the potential liability of the Navy Department.
Now, with respect to H. R. 1107 and H. R. 124, similar legislation was before the Seventy-ninth Congress, H. R. 6346, and at that time, the Navy Department recommended its enactment on the ground that it was substantially similar to legislation enacted after World War I for the benefit of discharged veterans of that war. H. R. 1107 and H. R. 124 are substantially similar to that prior bill.
The purpose of each of these bills is to extend the life of patents and of certain interests under patents for the benefit of veterans of World War II.
The present position of the Navy Department on this legislation is that it does not feel that it is directly concerned therewith. It is not opposed to the legislation. It feels that, like other legislation for the benefit of veterans, it is primarily a matter for the Veterans' Administration and other agencies.
I might point out that both of these bills protect the interests of the Government. The last section of each bill provides that no extension granted thereunder shall be made the basis of any claim against the United States for the period of extension and the rights of the United States shall remain in all respects as if the patent had not been extended, so the bills are not subject to the objection that they would create a liability against the Government. The Navy Department has no objection to them on that score.
As I said before, it is not opposed to them but does not feel it has a direct interest therein.
I should like to point out, just as a matter of interest, that H. R. 124 provides for a period within which the application for extension may be made, as a period within 6 months after the date on which the termination of hostilities is proclaimed by the President, or the date of discharge, whichever is later. Now, if you take the former date, I believe that is June 30 of this year, and that gives a very short time for the exercise of this right, and might conceivably work a hardship.
I might also point out that H. R. 1107 carries over the provisions of the prior legislation that the veteran would have to show that he had been hurt in some way, that his income had been reduced, or that he had received no income, and also that at the time of his induction, he was making a diligent effort to exploit the invention. Now, H. R. 121 omits those protective provisions, and thus opens the door a little
wider to applications by veterans who might conceivably not have been hurt at all.
I just point those features out.
T. concludes what I have to say about the bills. I will be glad to answer any questions that you might have.
Mr. LEwis. Are there any questions, Mr. Keating?
Mr. KEATING. The Army and Navy see eye to eye on this problem; do they not?
Mr. PASLEY. I believe they do, sir.
Mr. KEATING. If we had unification, only one fellow would have to appear here and testify; would he not?
Mr. PASLEY. That is right.
Mr. KEATING. That is all.
Mr. LEwis. Do you have any questions, Mr. Chadwick?
Mr. CHAdwick. I have no questions.
Mr. LEwis. That is all. Thank you very much.
Now, Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller, we have your statement here but we have not had a chance to read it, so perhaps you had better tell us what is in it.
STATEMENT OF SAMUEL C. MILLER, TUBE LIGHT ENGINEERING CO., NEW YORK, N. Y.
Mr. MILLER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I come here as a veteran, a small businessman, and the owner of a number of patents. Some of them are good; some of them have not been utilized. I served for about 3 years during the war, and I was not able to take advantage of the patents which were issued to me. Usually, when one takes out a patent, it is an idea, an idea which you may have in mind for some future development. It may take as long as 10 years before this development actually takes place, so usually the life of a patent, as far as its useful life is tool. may be 7 years, 6 years, or 5 years. It may be longer, if it is an application on improvement. n my case, they were ideas. Some of them I took out as patents of my own; others were patents which I, in one case, purchased, but which I had evolved on a separate basis. That is, I had thought of the idea and found a patent was outstanding. In this one particular case, of this patent, it centers around a neon sign tubing. It is an electrode, a cold electrode. It is an improvement upon an electrode. During the time when the neon signs, before the war, were allowed, this }. did not have very great use, but since the war, since fluorescent lighting has come into effect, and cold cathode lighting, especially, it has become a very great factor, and I understand last year there were over $75,000,000 worth of cold-cathode lighting installed. . Now, that means here I had a patent which if I were able to utilize it, could have, during the war, gotten into an industry which would have benefited .# Mr. LEwis. Were you in this war? Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir. So I was not able to utilize this invention, and it means that the patent which expired, I think, on December 19, 1946, did not give me that opportunity to exploit it in the years when this new industry of cold-cathode lighting was in effect. I have other patents which are along the same line. In other words, there were actualy 3 years of practical idleness, as far as I am concerned, nonutilization of assets which I had. Mr. LEwis. Were you in the Army or Navy' Mr. MILLER. In the Army, sir. Mr. KEATING. Did you have any income from these patents during that time? Mr. MILLER. No, sir. Mr. KEATING. Would you have had if you had been out of the Army? Mr. MILLER. I would have been able to take advantage of the cold cathode lighting field, which has grown since fluorescent lighting has come into effect. I would have been able to utilize the patent to great extent. In other words, I would have had 3 years of utilization. Other companies have done that. As I say, there were $75,000,000 worth of cold cathode lighting installed last year. Mr. KEATING. Now, your patent expired in late 1946? Mr. MILLER. December 1946; yes, sir. Mr. KEATING. Now, have not others gone into the business? Mr. MILLER. Others, during the time that I was in the service, infringed upon my patent. I was not able to do a thing. It is an improvement over original ideas. Mr. CHAdwick. Where did your duty call you? Mr. MILLER. I was in Washington, sir. I was with the Signal Corps, in charge of production of vacuum tubes. I was in charge of the facilities. When you consider that there were half a billion dollars' * of tubes purchased by the Government, it was quite an undertaking. Mr. KEATING. I am just wondering if you would have been able to do anything if you had been out of service or whether the progress of that field was such that you would not have done anything more out of service than vou did in service. Mr. MILLER. A big industry has started, sir, on that. Mr. KEATING. When did they start on that ? Mr. MILLER. About 1942 and 1943. They did a lot of war-job installation, lighting installations, because of the fact that this method of lighting, known as cold cathode lighting, utilizes very little strategic materials. Mr. KEATING. If this extension were granted, what would you propose to do? Bring infringement suits against these people who infringed on you? Mr. MILLER. No; just get extension of the patent for the time of my service in the armed forces so that I can utilize the patent for another 3 years, or other patents that I have. Mr. KEATING. Others in the meantime have run into that business, have they not? Mr. MILLER. They have infringed during that time, sir. They even infringed on me during the life of the patent. Mr. KEATING. We have to protect—I guess we do in this bill. Mr. MILLER. I think it does that in 1107. Mr. KEATING. Yes. Mr. MILLER. I am actually an individual who has definitely suffered. I also had patents which the Corning Glass Works have been manu