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Now, the simple object of proposed H. R. 1984 is to secure this protection referred to in the Constitution for 17 years. During a period such as the war in which the United States was engaged, this protection was lost. It may be lost in a number of ways: (1) The Government may decide to let others manufacture under the patent. (2) The curtailment of domestic consumption either by priority regulation or lack of buying power. (3) The induction into service of the inventor who is also solely engaged in making and selling his patented article. I think we are all aware of the fact that many a successful business based on a patent or patents was destroyed during the war by reason of Government restrictions on manufacture and sale. It was also self-evident that, due to restrictions on buying of a vast number of commodities and rationing of others, manufacturers of patented articles which were restricted suffered severe losses. These losses included not only lack of sales, but investments in tools, dies, fixtures, and special machinery incapable of use for any other purpose. A specific incident of this is the case of Magneseal Corp., of Chicago, Ill., one of my clients. This corporation was organized in 1938 with a capital stock of 25,000. In 1936 Charles Magnesen, one of the incorporators, was the inventor of a closure or cap for bottles, jars, and similar containers. The particular cap was of the type that could be used for reseal purposes on beverages, fruit juices, or other containers from which all of the original contents were not removed at the time the container was opened. Mr. Magnesen developed special machinery for making the parts of this container cap and assembling them together. By 1940 over $65,000 was invested in special machinery and tools and dies suitable for only one purpose, and that was for making the parts and assembling them to make the complete closure member. After the war started, priority regulations cut down the amount of tin and rubber which could be used for civilian purposes, until eventually the Magneseal Corp. was unable to get either tin or rubber. All of the machinery was useless for any type of war work, and all of the advertising and good will which had been created was lost for the duration. I might add that since 1936, when the sales were very limited, they increased over the years to where in 1940 their sales amounted to over 5,000,000 caps, and this in spite of the fact that original customers such as beverage dispensers, were excluded as customers as early as the spring of that year. Another example is the Elgin Manufacturing Co., of Elgin, Ill., who in 1940 secured Baldwin patent No. 2,299,003 on a filling machine. The particular features of this machine are that it can compress a plastic food such as sausage, cheese, etc., into square, round, rectangular, or any other shaped can. What appeared to be a big market for this type of machine disappeared, due to the standardization of can sizes and the proinibition of packing of a number of corn in O(lities in tin ('ans. Since under the Selective Service Act a man could be inducted into service when he is needed, he had to either dispose of his business at any price offered, shelve it for the duration, or leave it in someone else's hands. Let us take the case of a man who has spent several years developing an invention, securing a patent, and starting to educate the public to the merits of his patented article. He has spent his time for several years, invested all his money and perhaps that of others. He has paid thousands of dollars for the designing and building of special machinery which can do only one thing, and that is make parts which go into this patented article. He is called to war. He may be gone 5 years. When he comes back his patent protection has shrunk five-seventeenths of what was originally granted him. The operation of the law of the Government he was called on to defend has actually prevented him from securing the full protection of the patent grant which it originally made. Now, in all these situations which I have cited, H. R. 19S4 relieves the hardships which have been mentioned. Congress has already undertaken the compensation of individuals and corporations who have been deprived of the use of their property for the duration. Provision has been made to compensate the owners of hotels and other places which have been commandeered for military purposes. The owners of such property, when it was finally returned, were duly compensated for its deterioration. Provision has been and will continue to be made for hospitalization and care for sick and injured personnel of the military forces after the war. Adequate care for the widows and orphans is being made. Rehabilitation in many fields will be undertaken with a definite conception that it is no more than proper and fitting. In view of all this, why is it not reasonable and just to make adequate provision for compensating the owners of patents? Patents have expired while their owners were fighting for the Government which granted them a monopoly for a specific period, and then by act of Congress, in effect, reduced the period. Men who willingly obey the Government command to shoulder arms and fight for its existence will come home to discover their patent property has lapsed and become worthless. Others who invested their money in individuals or corporations because of inventions which were meritorious, lose their investment because of the shortening of the useful life of the patents. It would not be more unreasonable to extend the term of a patent to the owner who served 5 years overseas, than it would be to compensate the owner of a hotel for the deterioration of the hotel during its 5-year use by the Army or the Navy. It would not be more unreasonable to extend the term of a patent to the owner who was forced out of business due to curtailment of manufacture by priority regulation than it would be to compensate the owner of any other property for destruction of the same by any agency of the Government. It would not be more unreasonable to extend the term of a patent to the owner who was forced to permit others to use it during the war than it would be to compensate the owner of any other property which he was compelled to share with others during the war. The proposed bill really adds nothing to the original grant which the Constitution provides. Patent owners have cheerfully acquiesced in the requirements of the Government during the last wars we have been in to cease manufacturing certain things and direct all their energies toward winning the war. During periods of stress or emergency no one questions the Government's supreme authority to curtail rights of individuals, including inventors. But when these periods pass and proper adjustment is made by the Government to compensate for losses caused to individuals by Government action, why should not inventors or patent owners also be included? Patent rights are property the same as a hotel, a farm, or a yacht, and when the Government used a hotel, a farm, or a yacht it compensated the owner. By depriving an inventor or an owner of a patent from using the patent for a period of time the 17-year monopoly is diminished and he is definitely damaged. And this damage could easily be repaired by extending the term of the patent. This would insure the continued urge of Americans to invent and also encourage others to assist them financially, knowing that their property rights in patents as in other property are inalienable, and that their Government intends to safeguard them. Respectfully submitted. HARRY H. HITZEMAN.
MAx C. MILIFR, ENGINEERING RESEARCH LABORATORY, Manville, R. I., April 24, 1947. Hon. EARL C. MICHENER, Chairman, Judiciary Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
IDEAR SIR : I have had considerable correspondence and a conversation with Hon. Joseph W. Martin, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, concerning legislation that I and other inventors and owners of patents believe should be introduced.
This legislation should be an act to extend life of all patents that were active during the war years on the ground that we were all compelled and willingly complied with the enforced disuse of our patents during the war in order to direct all our energies toward the war effort. I do not believe any group worked more (iiiigently toward that end than the inventors of the Nation.
By so doing, however, we lost 5 or 6 years of use of our active patents, especially because we were, by law, prevented from using them, and it is believed by inventors like myself and organizations to whom we have assigned patents that the Government should give us an opportunity to reimburse ourselves by proportionately extending patent life, let us say, from the present 17 years to 22 or 23 years. If such extension is not granted to all patents that were active during the war years, it should at least be granted to such of them as were licensed to industry on the ground that the inventor or owner should be permitted to reimburse themselves by extended patent protection, as regards their tool and plant equipment based on their patent rights.
From a legal standpoint, such action would undoubtedly be equitable as the Government, in the granting of all patents, has agreed to give the inventor or owner an undisturbed 17-year monopoly, whereas the war forced the Government to ask for the cooperation of all industry in the war effort, thus denying its promise of a 17-year monopoly.
It may be contended by laymen that 17 years, less the 5 or 6 years of lost production, is still sufficient length of time for patent use, but in most cases this is not true as regards present-day inventions, which as everyone knows, are drawn to far more intricate machinery and process and thus take must more time to develop and commercialize than was the case with inventions made at the time the 17-year period was decided upon. Under modern industrial economic conditions it very often occurs, particularly in the case of important inventions, that only the last few years of the grant provide the protection, whereas it was intended to protect the inventor or patent owner for 17 years.
I know of many hardship cases where the loss of the five or six war years, as regards patents, especially those that were already in the latter years or their life, entirely wiped out the opportunity for the owner to be reimbursed by profit from use of the inventions.
This fact has been recognized abroad, the French Patent Office being the first to so extend the life of active patents, and there are more than rumors to indicate that the British Patent Office will shortly follow suit.
If this appeal on my part is not directed to the correct organization or individual, your so directing it would be very much appreciated.
AMERICAN VETERANs of WoRLD WAR II, AMVETs, Post 30, Bradford, Pa., May 6, 1947. Hon. EARL C. MICHENER, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. MICHENER: Hon. Robert F. Rich has informed me that hearings will be resumed on H. R. 1107 and similar measures commencing May 9.
I wish to take the liberty of requesting to appear before the committee to speak in behalf of bill H. R. 1107, which was introduced by our Congressman from the Fifteenth District, Robert F. Rich.
This bill possesses great merit, and I believe it is worthy of your committee's most earnest consideration because of the justifiable benefits that will accrue to veterans who served honorably in World War II, and which veterans because of this service were unable to advance the cause of patents in which they may have had an interest either by contract or by virtue of being the inventor of a patent.
If my request meets with your approval, it will be appreciated if you will please be so kind as to tell me at what date and time you desire me to appear before your committee, and what procedure you wish me to follow in any statement I may make.
Awaiting your early reply, I am,
MAY 8, 1947. DEAR ColleAGUE: At the suggestion of one of your clerks, the following wire was sent to Mr. Still: “Hearings begin 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. Report to Mr. Bernhardt, chief committee clerk, room 346, Old House Office Building, who will arrange for your time to testify. Committee desires 10 copies of statement you intend to submit.” ROBERT F. RICH. Any courtesies extended to Mr. Still will be appreciated.
ExTENSION OF PATENTS FOR WORLD WAR WETERANS
An Act Providing for the extension of the time limitations under which patents were issued in the case of persons who served in the military or naval forces of the United States during the World War. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who served honorably in the military or naval forces of the United States at any time between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, both dates inclusive, and was subsequently honorably discharged, may within six months after the enactment of this Act, upon payment of a fee of $20, make application to the, Commissioner of Patents, comprising a verified statement, accompanied by supporting evidence of the following facts: (A) That he is the inventor or discoverer of an invention or discovery for which a specified patent was granted prior to the 11th day of November 1918, the original term of which remains unexpired at the time of the filling of the application. (B) That between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, and also at the time of the passage of this Act, he held, by ownership or contract, a right in said invention or under said patent or to income by way of royalty or otherwise therefrom, whereby an extension of the term of said patent would benefit him. (C) That between April 6, 1917, and July 2, 1921, he was not receiving from said patent an income, or that his income therefrom was reduced by his said Service. (D) That at the time of his induction into the service he was making diligent effort to exploit the invention covered by his patent. (E) The names of all persons, firms, or corporations, if any, holding at the time of the passage of this Act, by grant, transfer, license, or contract from him, any right or interest in the invention or discovery or under the patent, and their consent to the extension for which application is made, which shall be supported by an instrument, or instruments, executed by all such persons, firms, and corporations, evidencing their consent to such extension. (F) The period of extension of the patent from the expiration of the original term thereof, for which he applies, which shall in no case exceed a further term of three times the length of his said service in the military or naval forces of the United States between the dates of April 6, 1917, and July 2, 1921, but exclusive of any reenlistment subsequent to November 11, 1918. (G) That the licensee of a patent affected by this Act shall automatically be granted an extension of said license for the period of the extension on the same terms and conditions as contained in said existing license, thereby creating an equitable adjustment of the benefits of this Act. (H) That such extension shall in no way impair the right of anyone who before the passage of this Act was bona fide in possession of any rights in patents or applications for patents conflicting with the rights in any patents extended under this Act, nor shall any extension granted under this Act impair the right of anyone who was lawfully manufacturing before the passage of this Act the invention covered by the extended patent. SEC. 2. In the case of a veteran, as described in paragraph 1 of this Act, who dies, or has died, or who becomes insane or unable to act, which veteran owned an interest as described in this Act in said patent at the time of his death or at the time he was declared mentally incompetent or became unable to act before said extension is granted, such application may be filed or proceeded with by his legal representatives substantially, as provided in section 4896 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (United States Code, title 35, section 46), as amended, with respect to proceedings in such cases for obtaining a patent. SEc. 3. On the filing of such application the Commissioner of Patents shall cause an examination thereof to be made, and if, on such examination, it shall appear that such application conforms, or by amendment or supplement is made to conform, to the requirements of section 1 of this Act, the Commissioner shall cause notice of such application to be published at least once in the Official Gazette. Any person who believes that he would be injured by such extension may within forty-five days from such publication oppose the same on the ground that any of the statements of the application for extension required by section 1 of this Act is not true in fact, which said notice of opposition shall be verified before an officer authorized by the laws of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia to administer oaths. In all cases where notice of opposition is filed the Commissioner of Patents shall notify the applicant for extension thereof and set a day of hearing. If after such hearing the Commissioner of Patents is of the opinion that such extension should not be granted, he may deny the application therefor, stating in writing his reasons for such denial. Where an extension is refused the applicant therefor shall have the same remedy by appeal from the decision of the Commissioner as is now provided by law where an application for patent is refused. If no opposition to the grant of the extension is filed, or if, after opposition is filed, it shall be decided that the applicant is entitled to the extension asked for, the Commissioner of Patents shall issue a certificate that the term of said patent is extended for the additional period for which application has been made as aforesaid, and shall cause notice of such extension to be published in the Official Gazette and marked upon copies of the patent for sale by the Patent Office, in such manner as the Commissioner may determine. SEC. 4. Thereupon said patent shall have the same force and effect in law as though it had been originally granted for seventeen years plus the term of such extension: Provided, however, That in any action, at law or in equity, for infringement after the expiration of seventeen years from the grant of the patent and during the period of such extension, the defendant may plead the general issue, and having given notice in writing to the plaintiff or his attorney thirty days before, may prove on trial that any of the statements of the application for extension required by section 1 of this Act is not true in fact; and if any one or more of such statements shall be found untrue in fact, judgment shall be rendered for the defendant, with costs: Provided further, That no person whose patent shall be extended under the provisions of this Act shall be permitted to make any claim for damages against the United States for the period of the extension, and the rights of the United States shall remain in all respects as if these patents had not been extended.