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facturing under, and during that complete period there was a blank, so that means that as to those patents which will expire in another 3 or 4 years I have been deprived of that royalty.
Mr. KEATING. You mean you had issued a license to Corning Glass Works?
Mr. MILLER. That is right.
Mr. KEATING. And the royalty of that license stopped because you were in the service!.
Mr. MILLER. No; because of the stoppage of manufacturing of these items.
Mr. KEATING. Oh; I see.
Mr. KEATING. But that would apply whether or not you were a veteran?
Mr. MILLER. Exactly; although I may have been able to, I have done something during that time. I may have obtained some royalties. I may have made some arrangement, but I was not able to.
Mr. KEATING. You could not have had any income if there was not any business in that line of work.
Mr. MILLER. That is true.
Mr. KEATING. And had received payments before you went into service?
Mr. MILLER. That is right.
Mr. KEATING. But during your period of service you did not get them?
Mr. MILLER. That is right.
Mr. KEATING. Not because you were in service, but because there was no business in that field?
Mr. MILLER. That is right. But still it defeated the life of that particular patent.
There are other patents which we have not been able to use during that period in this interior-lighting field, you see, because it is an entirely new industry. It started at the beginning of the war, and a lot of companies have taken advantage of it.
Mr. LEWIS. Are there any other questions?
Mr. LEWIS. Now, we have Mr. Lanham present, former Member of Congress, and an expert on the entire patent situation.
Mr. LANHAM. My hearing is not too good so I would like, if I may, to come to the nearer table.
Mr. LEWIS. Surely.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRITZ G. LANHAM, FORMER REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS, AND MEMBER OF PATENT COMMITTEE Mr. LANHAM. I may preface my remarks with the statement that I am no expert with reference to patents, but I did serve for approximately a quarter of a century on the Committee on Patents, and through that experience it was brought very forcefully to my attention that our American patent system has been the basis of our progress
and it has differentiated us in that regard from many of the other
Any 17-year period will necessarily have some incidents and occurrences that will reduce the returns on various patents. A tariff law might be enacted that would make it more difficult to prosecute business under the patent. An embargo might be established. A factory that is producing the product might be burned. There are so many things * can happen. But this 17-year period was fixed definitely, and it has been our permanent policy to adhere to it, in order that business may not be thrown into a state of confusion and uncertainty. Businessmen have to know when these various inventions are going into the public domain in order that they may plan for the conduct of their business upon that certainty; and this further is true in that regard, that most inventions are improvements upon former inventions and unless the industry which has planned to produce with reference to such improvements knows when it can begin its operations, without having to pay royalty to the underlying patent if extended, it makes for an uncertainty that would jeopardize our whole industrial structure. Now, what departures have there been from the 17-year term 2 What departures have there been from that permanently established policy of 1861? There was a departure after the First World War, in the law that was passed in 1928, with reference to patents held by those who were in the military and naval services in that war, and it is very interesting to note, and I think this statement is correct, and Mr. Frederico of the Patent Office has so testified that there were only six patents extended under that act. Now, when we come to the matter of similar legislation after the Second World War, in view of the fact that the precedent has been set, it may be that the committee would feel that it would be discriminatory not to accord similar provisions of law for the protection of those who served in World War II. wo course, World War II was a very different war from World ar I. Mr. KEATING. They did not give that protection to the GI’s of 1864, did they? Mr. LAN HAM. No: they did not. That was just after the 17-year statute had been passed, and I doubt if there were very many of those in the War Petween the States who had made any inventions, because it is a very peculiar thing, and perhaps not generally known—although this perhaps is somewhat far afield from the subject that we have in mind—that at the conclusion of the War Between the States the average age of the soldiers in each Army, the Union Army and the Confederate Army, was just a little in excess of 18 years. It is a rather startling thing to contemplate. I know my own father served all 4 years in that war and he was only 19 years old when the war was over. I think about that sometimes when I recall the opposition that was made to having boys 18 and 19 years old serve in the recent war; but that is beside the mark. I do think, however, that there are some provisions in H. R. 1107 introduced by Mr. Rich which do not appear in the bill introduced by my good friend, Mr. O'Hara, which certainly should be included in any legislation that may be reported from this committee. One is the requirement that the veteran show that he was injured or injured materially with reference to the advantages that he might have obtained under his patent, because, as we all know, all of the soldiers in the Second World War were by no means abroad in combat or in other phases of our war effort. Many of them were o: desks here in Washington or elsewhere where they might have had opportunity to carry on under their patents, and I think that there ought to be a definite showing when we come to the equities of the veteran of the Second Wörld War under the precedent set in the legislation after the First World War, when only six patents were extended, that he did not have the opportunity to prosecute his patent. I do not think that patents should be extended for veterans who suffered no material loss by reason of the war. Mr. LEwis. Which provision do you have reference to? Mr. LANHAM. It is subsection (C) on page 2, that— between December 7, 1941, and the date of enactment of this Act, he was not receiving from said patent an income or that his income therefrom was substantially reduced as a direct result of the said service. Of course, a great deal of opposition has been expressed also even to the extension of patents for men in the service; but in view of the fact that there was legislation of that character after the First World War, it seems likely that there may be a similar sentiment with reference to the last World War; but if so, there should be, I think, proper restrictions, and, personally, I believe, as was reported in the bill from the Committee on Patents in the last Congress, that the term of the extension should be the term that veterans were denied rights under their patents by reason of their service. I think otherwise we get away from this fixed standard for our country of 17 years as the life of a patent, and I think that any extension that may be made should be in keeping with that permanent policy. Now, there was one other exception to the granting of an extension of a patent, though, in fact, it was not an extension. I am quite familiar with it, because I conducted for the Committee on Patents the hearing on the measure. It is in a very different class from patents generally by reason of the circumstances which I shall recite. This was a patent—I do not have the number of it here before me—on the Ronson lighter, put out by the Arts Metal Co., if I recall the name correctly. That patent was invalidated by a Federal court on which was serving a judge who was subsequently impeached and put out of office by reason of corruption and perhaps bribery. I think perhaps you heard of the case at |. time it arose, and my recollection is that some of the funds which are alleged to have reached the hands of the judge, and which may have influenced his decision, came from one or more who wished to infringe the patent on the Ronson lighter. So this court in the proceeding ...} that patent invalid. Now, that was the direct action of the Government that had granted the patent, not on patents generally, but upon this particular patent, and the patent was declared invalid; but when this judge, disbarred by reason of his corruption, was taken off the bench, just a few years later tone court passed again upon that patent, and they held the patent Vallol. Consequently, in that interim, through the direct action of the Government itself, which had granted the patent upon that particular invention, through the corruption of the judge had deprived the Arts Metal Co. of the use and right of their patent, which time would necessarily be deducted from the 17 years, and that special legislation was simply to restore the term to that patent, an extension which would
make it in effect for 17 years altogether, and it was understood definitely with the Patent Office at that time that that would not serve as any precedent for the extension of patents.
That was the Government itself acting upon the patent itself directly, the particular patent, and depriving a patentee through the corruption of a governmental servant of a part of his 17-year term.
I hope the committee will investigate very carefully these proposals to extend patents in this country.
May I repeat that every 17-year period has incidents that would make some patentees want to come in and get extensions, but if any such action is taken, with the multiplicity of patents that are involved, with the improvements that are coming along to help industry, we will simply get ourselves into a state of chaos and confusion that will greatly impede the progress of this country. Let us not cripple the incentive to progress which our patent system affords.
Mr. Lewis. Thank you very much, Mr. Lanham.
Mr. LANHAM. That has been the time since 1861—the standard time.
I think it is, for this reason: The idea back of patents and the monopoly of exclusive use for the limited time which has been set at 17 years is to give to the inventor who through his research is doing something for the benefit of the public generally, which will come into the public domain in 17 years, the incentive to labor long and diligently in research. Some of his patents might not be worthwhile or remunerative when he gets them. You know these inventors. They go without sleep;
they will go without food. Take Thomas A. Edison for example. Those who say that the discovery that leads to a patent is a flash of genius should stop and consider Thomas A. Edison who, when approached in that regard with reference to his genius, said, “Genius is 2 percent inspiration and 98 percent perspiration."
And so these people who have built up our country and who devote all of that perspiration and loss of sleep and what money they can get together to try to help humanity—well, I think a 17-year period is probably about right to keep them working industriously for our progress.
Mr. KEATING. Thank you very much.
Mr. EMERY. Mr. Chairman, I am not in a position to speak before the Committee on Patents for the National Association of Manufacturers on account of the short notice of this hearing. I would like to ask of the committee, on their behalf, could we have an opportunity to file a written statement with you on these measures within such time as you care to fix?
Mr. LEWIS. Without objection, that can be done, of course.