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I think I have dealt with all the points in our practice similar with yours. Our rules are extremely brief. I have already read you the longest one. I will read you the others.
(English Chancery Rules read, as published.)
We go into court knowing exactly the issues we have got to try, and they have all had to be defined. You can only amend on stringent terms as to costs, so that we have brought the practice down to as clear and close-cut issue as can possibly be. We have found it works extremely well and patent suits have increased by reason of the fact that they are taking less time to try and the parties get a judgment reasonably quick. I am quite certain from my experience in the law that the shorter you can make the time between the issue of the writ and the hearing, the more law suits, and the better it is for both the client and the lawyer.
I am extremely obliged to you for the way in which you have listened to my address, and I hope that some remarks I have made may be of use to you in the administration of the new equity rules.
LETTERS PATENT IN RELATION TO MODERN INDUSTRIAL CONDITIONS.
FREDERICK P. FISH,
OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS.
The present is a critical period in the industrial history of the United States. We are at the turning of the ways. For more than a hundred years industrial progress was the great ambition of our people. Material development was preeminently their ideal. Our wonderful progress towards the end of the nineteenth century excited, throughout the nation, the greatest enthusiasm and satisfaction. The public had shown its sympathy with industrial expansion by deeds as well as by words. The nation, the states, municipalities and individuals, had all worked together to secure as rapid expansion as possible. The building of transportation systems, large and small, was everywhere urged and was cordially promoted by governmental grants and by pledge of the credit of states and counties. Free land and remission of taxes for long terms of years were promised by municipalities and townships to any industry that was established within their borders. Money was liberally contributed for the same purpose. Public franchises were freely granted and extremely liberal corporation laws were adopted without dissent, to make it easy for our industries to obtain capital and to grow. Our protective tariff was a popular national institution because the people were persuaded that it operated to develop our manufactures. Foresight and capacity in business affairs were universally regarded as the most admirable of all qualities, for they contributed most to the development of the national ideal. The captains of industry were among our great national figures.
This point of view prevailed until a few years ago, when a change occurred in public sentiment. It began to be recognized
that our extraordinary industrial development might not be altogether ideal in character and in its relations to society. As the result of criticism, increasing from year to year, some of it well-founded, but much of it, even when sincere, based upon a want of appreciation of the inherent difficulties and complexities of the situation, a reaction followed which has not yet run its course. At the present time there is but little left of the popular enthusiasm for our industrial successes which was so universal twenty years ago. Prevailing business methods are the subject of attack and many features of industrial organization which are most characteristic of modern conditions are regarded with suspicion. The reflection of the attitude of the public in legislative bodies and courts has resulted in a policy which is by no means friendly to business as it is carried on and which may make further industrial progress difficult, at least until our industries and those who direct them have learned how to adjust themselves to the new conditions of popular thought. I call attention to this matter at the very beginning of this paper to emphasize the proposition that in dealing with the subject of the patent system of the United States and the wisdom of the laws under which it is established and maintained, there is no room for partisanship or prejudice. Whatever may be the views of those who think fairly upon the subject as to the propriety of a protective tariff, the powers to be given corporations, and as to the extent and character of the control that should be exercised over large enterprises, or as to the necessity of reform in business methods, whatever may be the popular feeling as to the distribution of wealth that arises from our present social and industrial institutions, questions as to the value and importance of a patent system and as to the spirit in which it should be organized and administered are in fact, and should be, regarded as entirely independent of all such considerations.
No one doubts that industrial prosperity is essential to the welfare of a community. Those who are today most critical of our business methods, of our great business organizations, and, generally, of the relation between business and society are just as anxious for industrial prosperity as were the enthusiasts
of twenty years ago whose admiration for our industrial conditions was unbounded. If it is clear that a liberal patent system is essential to industrial development, all must favor it, whatever side they may take in the acute controversies of the day. If that of the United States not only has definitely promoted our welfare in the past, but, because of its merit, its fitness to encourage invention and thereby promote the useful arts, is likely to be of equal or greater value in the future, it should receive unanimous support. Its importance to our national well-being is equally great, whatever may be our business methods, the form or spirit of our industrial organization or its relation to our society. It is true that our patent system has largely contributed to the development of our industries, great as well as small, with all their characteristic features, whatever they may be. So have our natural resources and the ability of our workmen and of our industrial leaders. But no one complains because nature has bountifully provided us with the opportunities for great productive capacity and everyone is anxious that our people should be, individually and collectively, more efficient. In like manner all must agree that the stimulation of invention and of the inclination to develop inventions is a matter of prime necessity and altogether unobjectionable, even if it is in part responsible for the conditions as to which complaint is made.
It hardly seems necessary at this stage of industrial history to advance arguments in favor of an adequate patent system as an effective and, as far as can be seen, the only practicable stimulant for the promotion of the useful arts that can be given by the community. For many generations it has been generally agreed that a definite and attractive reward was essential if inventions were to be made and introduced into use. Experience has demonstrated that no form of reward so fitted the achievement, was so productive of advantage to the community, and was attended by so few disadvantages as the grant to an inventor of a monopoly of his invention for a limited time. While many other forms of reward have been suggested (such suggestions were made at the convention which adopted our national constitution), they have nowhere been adopted as part of the
machinery of society. Everywhere some form of exclusive control for a limited time has been recognized as the best way of dealing with the matter.
The encouragement of patent protection does not alone stimulate the inventor to intellectual effort; it excites to strenuous endeavor a long line of intermediaries, capitalists, investors, business administrators, licensees and users who work with or under the patent, and whose cooperation is vitally necessary that the invention may not be confined to a paper description, but may actually be used.
After all this line of public servants has been rewarded, the ultimate consumers get their advantage from the invention, even during the term of the patent, in the form of less cost, added facilities, increased comfort and greater convenience; and their gain, while the patent is in force, is undoubtedly in almost every case infinitely greater than that of those who profit directly from working under the patent. Of course when the patent expires the invention is free to all.
This form of reward is strictly automatic. It only comes to those who meet a public need by giving to the community something that it desires and will use. Any other that can be suggested would surely be arbitrary. No other plan could be devised which, as is the case with patent protection, rewards the inventor and those who introduce the invention into use, substantially in exact proportion to their real contribution to the good of the community. This is what the reward by way of patent monopoly for a limited term effects, and such reward is just and fair.
Letters patent for inventions are now granted by practically every one of the civilized nations of the world and by many of the less progressive nations. Until 1888 Switzerland had no patent law. As pointed out by Professor Shaler in his book on the "Nature of Intellectual Property," published in 1878, it was argued that, situated as Switzerland was, in the heart of the industrial world, with a docile and intelligent population, trained by an admirable system of education, and with the great advantages by way of water-power which the country possessed, it could progress more rapidly if its citizens were all free to ap