Patent History Materials Index - 29 Jan 1836 letter from Henry L. Ellsworth regarding defects in patent system"

Note by KWD

There was an auction of the contents of Senator John Ruggles' home in Thomaston, Maine, on 13 June 1992. I went to the auction, but the prices were very high, and I bought nothing. Some of the papers sold as patent papers indicated that Mr. Ruggles' granddaughter gave the original of U.S. Patent No. 1 to Brown University, about 1954. She had also been asked to exhibit it at one of the World's Fairs, but it was not clear that she did. The lot sold as patent papers contained printed copies of some of the reports that Mr. Ruggles and his patent committee made to Congress, but nothing that is not readily copyable in the National Archives.

The one new thing was a letter dated 29 Jan 1836 from Superintendent Ellsworth to Senator Ruggles, setting forth what ought to be done in reforming the Patent Office. When last seen, this had been purchased for about $1050 by a manuscript dealer in Baltimore. He was Stephan Loewentheil, The 19th Century Shop, 1047 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223, tel 301-539-2586 and 301-727-2665. However, I had been allowed earlier by the auctioneer to copy the pages with my trusty camera, and I can transcribe it as follows:

Patent Office

January 29, 1836


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the inquiries made by the Hon. Chairman of the Committee on the Patent Office in the Senate, and referred by the Hon. Secretary of State to the Office for my report in part.

As the answer must in some measure depend upon the organization of the Office, I will respectfully reply, first to the following inquiry, viz. 'What alteration or improvement of the law relating to the granting of Patents has experience shown to be requisite to effect all the objects which it is suitable to attain in this department.' A brief reference to the history of the Patent Law, and the practice under it will be necessary to learn the "mischief" and provide the "remedy."

It is nearly half a century, since the present patent law was enacted. Previously to 1793, all petitions for Patents were presented to the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and Attorney General, who examined them, and granted, or refused, a patent, at their discretion. This duty having been found an arduous one and also a great interruption to the other business the law of 1790 was repealed, and the present act passed, which is more in conformity with the practice of Great Britain. Two alterations have been made in the existing law since 1793, if we except the extension of the privilege to a certain class of Foreigners.

While a laudable spirit prompted our legislature to encourage the arts, the poverty and distresses of the Country forbade the passage of any law for the protection of Inventors, which might increase the burdens of the commerce. Such a tariff of fees was accordingly established as to defray as far as possible the expenses of Government in giving patents. Hence, it is not strange that glaring imperfections now appear in the law. It has been a matter of astonishment that so important a branch of our domestic polity should have been so long neglected. The time has now arrived when the amount of revenue derived from this source, the magnitude of the claims dependent upon the patent law, the great delay and embarrassment experienced by Patentees at the Office, all combine to demand a thorough survey of the present organization.

To insure attention to the subject it need only be mentioned, that the number of patents issued annually for a long time did not exceed one hundred whereas at present the number is about eight hundred and will soon increase to one thousand. Such is the desire to procure patents that individuals have taken out more than fifty patents.

The amount of fees for Patents annually (30 dollars being the fee) is about twenty four thousand Dollars in the present year. To this amount fees for copies and recording are to be added, making the sum larger still. And notwithstanding the rapid increase in the business of the Office within a few years, very little additional force has been allowed for its accomplishment. Patentees complain of delays, and very justly, but this delay must soon be greater than at present without the interference of Congress. It may be asked if such are the profits, why not apply the funds as received to the discharge of accruing business? The answer is readily given. All the money received is by law paid over into the Treasury, and although to be credited to the Account of Clerk hire, cannot be appropriated for this use without special act of Congress.

The Superintendent has requested additional assistance but the Hon. Secretary of State, though anxious to afford every facility, has not felt authorized to increase the expenditures on his own responsibility.

Patentees and Suitors in Courts have suffered much during the last year by delays in the Office. Cases are sometimes continued for the want of copies which would be readily furnished at one half the lawful fee now charged if the Superintendent was permitted to get the work done.

A few facts need only be added to show the propriety and importance of a revision of the patent law. The whole expenses of the Patent Office do not exceed one fourth of its income. The number of applications for patents since the 10th of July (at which time my superintendence commenced) has been upwards of six hundred. The correspondence has trebled within a few years. No less than two thousand letters have been written by the Superintendent since July last, more than one hundred suits are now pending in the United States Courts touching rights of Patentees. These suits will increase until some check is put to the frauds now openly practiced but irremediable without the aid of Congress.

Questions are frequently asked of the Office which require several days search to answer. Each Patentee (if he is honest) wishes to know whether his patent will infringe upon others. This is apparently a simple inquiry, but only a reference to seven thousand Patents can settle the question. And here what embarrassment must arise from a want of systematic arrangement of papers.

Previous to July last, not a single letter received was filed, and even now, none are indexed. Many volumes of records are also wholly unindexed and must remain so until more help is provided. And was not an hourly reference to these volumes and correspondence necessary, the unsystematic arrangement of papers would be less tedious and perplexing.

The injustice and inexpediency of the present law will appear, by reference to the charges made for services performed at the Office besides the fee of 30 dollars. By the law of 1793 each copy of one hundred words is charged at twenty cents, certainly twice as much as it costs to make the copy if labor is computed at 1000 or 1200 dollars per year for a clerk. It may be mentioned as a singular fact that copies of papers in the State Department are charged only ten cents per hundred words. Each drawing whatever its size or complexity is charged at two dollars. Few drawings are worth less than this sum, but most of them twice as much and some are worth Forty or Fifty Dollars. A fair remuneration ought to be charged to each Applicant. There are now applications pending for drawings, where the Draughtsman will be compelled to labor several days at the salary of $3 1/3 per day and earn for the Government but 2 dolls. for the whole time. So sensible are Patentees that the price is much less than the usual charge for the same thing out of the Office that they frequently apply to the Superintendent to get the original drawings executed in the Office, at 2 dolls. This request is always refused, for Patentees are always bound to furnish original drawings and the Office is only required to give copies of Drawings of Patents granted.

The delay of Patents has been alluded to. This is one of the greatest evils. Applicants are always impatient, some travel to this place from a long distance and are anxious to carry their patents home with them. Other patentees are urgent for paper to be used in Court, especially when old Patents are adjudged invalid, and the right of action is suspended until a new patent is obtained. Nor will an additional number of clerks produce the desired relief, without some alteration of the present requisites.

According to the existing law, the Patent must be signed by the President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General. The Attorney General has the right to retain the patent for examination fifteen days. It must be apparent to all conversant with public business that there will be delay in the signatures of such high functionaries since their time is demanded for more imperious duties. How much greater must the delay be, when the person whose signature is wanted, is absent from the seat of Government? Nearly one half of the Patents issued since July have been transmitted more than two hundred miles for single signatures.

It may be asked how is this deficiency to be remedied? It is believed that the three signatures can be dispensed with. Can it be necessary or useful to have the whole number? The rights of the Patentee are the same with the signature of the Secretary of State as with the addition of the President and Attorney General. The great seal can accompany the Secretary's signature and the patent be issued in the name of the United States. It is true the Attorney General is bound to examine the Patent but is this necessary? Among all the Patents transmitted since July, only one has been returned as imperfect and in this case the defect was not fatal to the validity of the Patent. The best examination can certainly be made at the Patent Office where the drawings and models are deposited. If the signatures of the President and Attorney General could be dispensed with considerable labor and much interruption would be avoided. If additional help was given to examine the Patents and the signatures of the Secretary of State and the head of the Patent Bureau only required it is believed that a Patent might be issued in a few days whereas now the average time is two or three months.

The present arrangements are not economical. Congress appropriated, a few years since, Fourteen thousand dollars to bring up the records at a compensation not exceeding 12 1/2 cents for every hundred words. A small part of the appropriation remains unexpended and a temporary clerk is employed under the act.

The employment of temporary clerks is objectionable -- unskilled, they are liable to commit errors -- besides the compensation, of 12 1/2 cents per hundred words, is much higher than the salary of a clerk at one thousand or twelve hundred dollars.

It is due to those who labor in the Patent Office to state, that services required and performed there are not exceeded in any of the Bureaus of the Government. Great caution, much skill and some legal science are necessary in issuing every Patent.

Not withstanding the Superintendency is, in form a separate Bureau (yet in law a clerkship), and the Superintendent charged with the whole responsibility of issuing the Patents disbursing the special appropriation of Fourteen thousand dollars and the contingent fund of two thousand dollars, accountable for all the fees received in the Office and personally required to conduct the correspondence, still his compensation is lower than that of Chief Clerk in either Bureaus of Auditor or Commissioner. If the Patent Office was placed upon the same footing with the Land Office or Indian Bureau the compensation allowed would secure competent assistance. And it is desirable that those who are in the Office should receive a fair remuneration as an inducement to remain after they have become acquainted with its minute details.

The salaries in the Patent Office as compared with those in the Land Office, Indian Bureau or either Auditors Office will be found from thirty three to fifty per cent less. Hence, there is in the Patent Office a consistent desire to change situations and this comparatively low compensation will prevent able and permanent assistance.

Will a clerk remain satisfied to labor for one thousand in the Patent Office when the same clerical services in adjoining offices bring twelve hundred and fifteen hundred dollars. The aggregate pay of the Superintendent, three clerks, Machinist and Messenger in the Patent Office amount to five thousand four hundred Dollars, when as the pay of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, four clerks and messenger is eight thousand seven hundred Dollars. One third of the revenue received from Patents would defray all the disbursements for salaries and have two thirds to be appropriated as Congress might direct.

I have alluded to frauds under the Patent law. These frauds are daily practiced by persons who take out Patents without making any new discovery or improvement. The law gives neither the Superintendent nor others any judicial powers. Every applicant has a right to demand a Patent if his papers are in order and several Patents are often issued for the same thing. Congress seemed to have noticed the impropriety of granting two Patents for the same thing by giving the Secretary power in case of two pending interfering applications to order them both to arbitration to decide upon the right of the Patent. But under the rules established to direct the Office, no applications are deemed interfering unless the papers of both are complete in all respects. Should two applicants be precisely alike and one of them need only a trifling requisite, such as an additional witness, it then would be no interference, and as there is seldom a case when the paper of both are in the same state of forwardness, an arbitration under the law is a rare occurrence.

The oath of Inventors has been too often compared to the "Custom House Oaths." There are however inventions made by persons living in different parts of our Country, when both can claim originality. For no sooner are the wants of the public known than men of ingenuity attempt to supply them. The late burning of Baggage on Rail Road Cars produced immediately many inventions to remedy the evil and several interfering applications were made.

The issuing of Patents to those who have no claims to originality is truly a great evil. Every facility is now extended to Pirates. Even copies of models are taken by Visitors at the model rooms, and Patents demanded of similar kind. During the last week a Patentee was explicitly told that his Patent, if granted, would be a direct infringement upon previous patents. But a Patent must be had, it was demanded and accordingly ordered to issue.

It is believed that several hundred thousand dollars are paid annually in the United States for Patents improperly obtained. The success of past villainy has emboldened many to continue these deceptions upon the credulous.

The public attach high reverence to the great seal, which the Patentee is careful to exhibit. Fraudulent Patentees are shielded in some measure by the expenses of litigation and many, very many, pay commutation, and submit to imposition rather than be dragged into Courts of Justice. How easily can an individual take out a patent resembling one granted to a citizen in Maine, and sell the same in the South Western parts of our Republic.

An arrest of the Infringer might be uncertain and indemnification still more doubtful.

The Pirate after selling out his rights to States, Counties and Towns, might easily pass over the borders of our Territory and be safe.

There are a great number of cases arising out of the Patent law before the United States Courts. How much will the number be increased when the eight hundred patents granted this year, shall appear with their many interfering specifications. There will be a rich harvest for the Lawyers but how many honest Mechanics and Inventors will be ruined by the expense of litigation. Is there no remedy? The remark of Mr. Jefferson, who while Secretary of State was one of the Board of Examiners of Patents, is worthy of observation. In his letter ["to Mr. Cooper" apparently written and crossed out. Actually written to Isaac McPherson in 1813. KWD] on the subject he writes "Instead of refusing a Patent in the first instance, as the Board was authorized to do, the Patent now issues of course, subject to be declared void on such principles as should be established by Courts of Law. This business however, what little analogous to their course of reading, since we might in vain, turn over all the luberly volumes of the law, to find a single ray which would lighten the path of the Mechanic or Mathematician. It is more within the information of a Board of Academical Professors, and previous refusal of a Patent would better grace our brethren against harassment by law suits. But England had given it to her Judges and the usual predominancy of her examples carried it to ours." I would respectfully suggest the following remedy. To vest in the head of the Patent Bureau or some other a discretion to arrest a pending application for a Patent, if it interferes with any prior Patent, or caveat on file, and also if the application is destitute of novelty.

If Scientific men could be induced to take an office in the Patent Bureau as Examiner of Patents, their examination, aided by a suitable Library, would detect almost every interference or want of novelty. Nor is it believed there would be any objection to appropriate the sum necessary to obtain a good Library.

To show the importance of perusing the Foreign works of Art, on the subject of Patents, I would remark that in looking accidentally at a German work, a discovery was found, delineating a drawing which has been patented in that country and is now selling as a new invention.

A complete collection of Prints and Books in reference to the Patent law would be highly useful to Patentees and Citizens in general, as well as to the Courts of Justice.

Caveats in the United States, though frequently entered, give no protection to the Invention. The existence of the Caveat can be attested as evidence of certain knowledge at the date of the same but proof furnished from the Patent Office gives no additional weight to the testimony. In England a Caveat protects the Inventor from interferences for a certain period during which time if any interfering application is made the person who entered the Caveat is notified. An ex parte hearing is had before the Attorney or Solicitor General, who decide upon the case. If there is an interference, one of the applications is rejected. I ought, however, to remark that such, in England, is the danger of giving publicity to invention before signing of the Patent, that Caveats are kept secret. Indeed, so great is the anxiety to conceal from the public the discovery that the title of the invention is sometimes only lodged for a caveat as for instance "New improvements on Steam Engines, Spinning Cotton, Navigating of Vessels, etc." Great importance is attached to the novelty of the invention. Hence, when Artists in the employment of an Inventor have mentioned to a Stranger the discovery and that stranger has by dexterity, set up a model of the same even after application for a patent and before signing it the Patent has been lost for want of novelty.

Our Courts have adopted a more liberal policy, and very justly decided that public experiments, to test the value of the invention, do not destroy the right on the ground of publicity.

In conformity with the established decisions of this Country, a Caveat, if recognized by law, could be safely lodged on file describing as fully as possible the whole invention, to protect the invention against interfering applications.

Our law also makes novelty a requisite for a good Patent. Many have supposed the example of England and other foreign Governments worthy of imitation by us.

Patents in England are not confined to new discoveries there, but granted upon importation or introduction of discoveries from abroad, and this is done upon the principles that the Arts will be benefited by the encouragement offered.

On this point much ought to be said. When this system was adopted in England, communication with other countries was comparatively limited and the improvements on the arts corresponding low. But at the present time such are the facilities of intercourse and such the reading spirit of the people of the United States that it is evidently better to confine Patents here to new discoveries.

Scientific journals bring speedily to our shores every invention from abroad and these inventions are introduced into immediate use with barely the cost of manufacture. Who except the Patentee would be benefited by the issue of a Patent for a foreign invention, thereby increasing the price at least thirty three or fifty percent. There would seem to be no necessity for offering further bounty to patentees.

During the last sixty days more than two hundred applications have been made for patents, a number greater than the average number issued annually in England for the last ten years.

I cannot omit mention of one thing more, viz. The failure of the Patentee to sustain his Patent -- If he claims more than is original or presents a defective description.

The description of the whole object however limited the improvement is a common error. The Patentee knowing fully the extent of his own discovery or improvement ought certainly to specify the same with perspicuity. Cases will arise however where, in a large machine for instance, some small part described might not be new. Here a trifling error destroys the Patent. While there is no sympathy for fraudulent Patentees, who attempt to deceive the public by patented discoveries, there is some feeling for an honest mechanic who, having published his Patent and believing it to be correct, is not only deprived of recovering any damages of the infringer, but obliged to pay costs to a defendant who has enriched himself by the discovery of the plaintiff.

In England an effort is making to prevent a total failure of action for partial defeat by authorizing certain disclaimers to be put in, and subsequent procedure to judgment.

The principles upon which surrender of invalid Patents is permitted in this country, is an expeditious mode of correcting errors arising from "mistakes" or "inadvertence." And if a discretion was allowed to the Courts to tax or withhold cost in favor of the defendant, our practice would be more simple than the complex pleading which disclaimers must introduce.

Such is the temptation to patent in this country, that it might be well to compel each Patentee to publish, if not his specification, his specific claim. We can scarcely eat, drink, sleep or work without using some patent. Take for instance, the farmer, he dares not use a Plough without paying for the Patent right when perhaps the only new thing claimed in the specification of the Patentee, who offers this "fine Plough," is a simple belt.

While cupidity induces Patentees to connect their improvements with the inventions of others, ostensibly claiming all as their own, it is certainly proper that the Government should annex some penalty to such impositions. A judgment against the validity of the Patent is a suitable penalty.

Should it appear objectionable to confer the power of arresting interfering applications on the head of the Patent Bureau, the objection may perhaps be lessened by referring the interference to three indifferent arbitrators skilled in the art in question and as the arbitrators might make an improper award an appeal could be allowed to the Secretary of State or other tribunal.

The present mode of appointing arbitrators in interfering applications is to allow each party to choose one and the Secretary of State the third. This makes a board of strong bias as each applicant generally selects a particular friend. I ought to add that at present there is no compensation allowed or paid arbitrators. Each applicant might be required to pay a reasonable fee to be fixed by law. Interferences will generally be found to arise from ignorance or fraudulent interests. Information will correct the former, while a rigid scrutiny will induce impostors to withdraw their pretensions.

It should be recollected that the first applicant is not always the original inventor. Those who pirate upon inventions are generally dexterous in securing their Patents as soon as possible. In such cases where the honest inventor has not been guilty of gross neglect equal to a legal abandonment of his rights, the superintendent might allow the Patent to issue and the rights of parties could be settled in a Court of Justice. These cases will, however, be of rare occurrence.

Should the above remedy not be thought expedient, an entry on the Patent issued that it was deemed an infringement or was destitute of novelty would it is believed go far to check improper issues and caution the public against imposition.

It has been supposed if a small part of the surplus money required from Patents was appropriated to the publication of all specifications of patents, or at least the claims under the specifications and the distribution of the same in the different states, the money would be well spent. The public would then know what Patents were issued and be able to guard against spurious ones. Copies could also be easily procured without sending to the Patent Office and the publication might be made with so much care as to justify the introduction of the published copies as prima facie evidence in Courts of Justice.

There is a common error in the assignments of Patents. Partial assignments for states, counties, or towns are not recognized by law, and still such a large amount of property is now held, or supposed to be held in this manner that it deserves consideration whether or not provision should not be introduced to remedy the evil in future and to protect past assignments.

Few Patentees seem to understand the law of assignment -- the present law authorizes an assignment of the whole patent or any undivided part of the same, as 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6 -- But the assignee must "stand in the place of the original inventor both as to right and responsibility." In the United States Courts where a Plaintiff averred himself the assignee of the original inventor, with the exception of three Counties in one State, a non-suit was ordered because the Plaintiff by his own shewing proved himself not to hold any legal right under the assignment.

It is respectfully suggested whether the time allowed for recording assignments should not be limited. The same reason for a limitation applies to transfers of patents as to transfer of real estate.

It has been before remarked that the fee of 30 $ is paid into the Treasury. It often happens that the first step taken by the Patentees before the examination satisfies the applicant that his patent could not be sustained, and he of course wishes to recover his money. This however being paid into the Treasury, can not be paid, without an application to Congress. The sum is a small one, too much to loose and yet hardly worth the trouble and expense of recovery.

Applicants often forward the fee directly to the Superintendent, supposing that he is authorized to receive the money. As he is not permitted to do this, it becomes necessary for him to return it, however distant, for the applicant himself to pay into the Treasury. It is suggested whether the head of the Patent Bureau could not by giving bond if required, receive and pay over this money directly into the Treasury and avoid the hazard and delay of remitting it to the Patentees. And it is also suggested whether there would be any danger in authorizing the Treasury to repay such patent fees as should have been received into the Treasury through mistake or ignorance upon a petition approved by the Superintendent of the Patent Office.

In answer to the inquiry what additional room is needed for the Patent Office, I would observe -- The building in which the Patent Office is now kept was furnished for the joint use of the Post Office and Patent Office. It is evidently too small for both. The Post Office Department needs the whole building, while the rooms allowed to the Patent Office are entirely too small. The model rooms are full. Several hundred models are stored away in the garret. Those now received are piled up waiting for better accommodations, and what shall be done with the thousand models to be received annually? While it becomes necessary to procure more room for the Patent Office, it is desirable that the same should be rendered as secure as possible from fire. The destruction of the present models would produce very great embarrassment, especially as so many original Patents and assignments are lost.

It is a satisfaction to state that the Patent Office has not been and need not be onerous to the Government.

There now remains in the Treasury about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the credit of the Patent Office after paying all expenses since its first organization.

A part of this sum would furnish a commodious and permanent building.

And should all the patents be so arranged in systematic order to show the progress of the arts in the country, it would be an exhibition highly gratifying as well as instructive. The present limited rooms prevent such an arrangement.

In answer to the inquiry 'what additional expense would be incurred by an exhibition of the models of machinery and specimens of fabricks, and other manufacture and works of art not patented,' I reply, that the Keeper of the Models in the patent Office could superintend their exhibition without any extra charge, and when rooms are constructed for patented Models additional rooms could be made for the reception of Fabrick, and models unpatented with little expense.

It is believed there are many inventors who would delight to exhibit their improvements in machinery and manufactures if room was allowed them, while they do not desire to take out a Patent.

Such a collection and exhibition would be a repository of National ingenuity and might be made highly honorable to the Country.

Who could fail to be instructed by such an exhibition? And who that was about to invest in machinery would not be amply compensated by visiting the Patent Office.

The exclusion of foreigners from the benefits of the patent law cannot fail to be noticed as an exception to that reciprocity which this Government has ever cherished. Citizens of the United States are daily taking out Patents in France and England, and the subjects of these Countries are greatly disappointed in being refused a similar privilege here. Congress has sanctioned the principle of granting Patents to foreigners who apply to that body. Should foreigners be permitted to take out patents and pay fees corresponding to those demanded of our Citizens in their countries it would not be inequitable.

The following table will show the comparative charges in Several Countries for patents.

In Great Britain
 In  England and Colonies  £132       $ 542.21
     Scotland             "  19       "  84.40
     Ireland              " 137       " 607.77
     France               "  46.10    " 206.66
     Spain                "  60.16    " 299.97
     Austria              "  43.6     " 196.68
 U.S. America             "   6.10    "  30.00

It would be desirable that all foreigners should be allowed to take out patents for a fixed sum (perhaps one hundred dollars) since it would be difficult in some cases to ascertain what the particular Country to which the patentee might belong.

By the present law foreigners residing here two years are allowed to take out patents on the same terms as citizens.

There is an evident propriety in granting patents to those who declare their intention of becoming citizens. Why visitors for two years should enjoy any privileges over other foreigners does not readily appear.

I now proceed to answer more distinctly the remaining inquiry. How many persons are necessary for the prompt and efficient performance of all the duties connected with the Office and what should be the respective and particular duties?

Under the present organization two additional clerks are absolutely necessary. This would give the following force

1 Superintendent

3 Clerks

1 Examiner

1 Draughtsman

1 Machinist

1 Messenger

The duties might be distributed as follows.

The Superintendent to conduct the correspondence, issue the papers in patents and exercise general supervision.

Chief Clerk to keep the accounts, compare records and transfers, index caveats; file the applications for patents; index applications and patents and transfer the money and aid if required in the correspondence.

Second Clerk to transcribe on parchment the specifications.

3d Clerk. To aid in transcribing specifications and filling up patents and recording the same and recording letters.

An Examiner who should compare critically every specification, drawing and model, ascertain its interferences with pending applications. The duty will be very arduous. Some specifications contain ten or twelve pages of closely written matter with many references to drawings.

In this duty the Examiner might be assisted by a Scientific Draughtsman whose labor in drawing would only occupy a part of his time.

A Machinist is necessary to repair the Models and keep them in order, to classify and arrange them, to exhibit them to strangers and to answer the many inquiries made respecting them by patentees and visitors.

The models are of much value and the large rooms should have at least one person in attendance to protect the property. A few models have already been injured by visitors.

What effect the new organization might have in reducing the number of patents must be determined. Some present duties would doubtless be lessened by the proposed alterations. Others would arise. Applications would require very strict scrutiny to detect interference with prior patents, caveats on file or want of novelty.

To avoid the embarrassments from the delays in furnishing copies, it is most respectively submitted whether it would not be advisable to authorize the head of the Patent Bureau to employ (if necessary) occasional assistance in transcribing such copies, reimbursing the whole expense from the fees received. This discretionary power would dispense with the appointment of another permanent clerk, and meet the sudden exigencies as they arise without suspending the ordinary business of the Office.

I have omitted to mention that a few hundred dollars will be required to provide suitable tools for the machinist to repair the models.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

Henry L. Ellsworth


To the Hon.

John Forsythe

Secy of State


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