Friday, December 30, 2016

That Webster?

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)

Noah Webster, of dictionary fame, was one of the first to write a bill for the American patent system. On Apri116, 1789, he wrote what he called a federal copyright bill, a combined patent and copyright bill. A committee was appointed to draft a general law. On June 23, 1789, House Bill 10, a printed document of 11 pages, was presented as a combined federal copyright and patent bill. After much argument, this bill was defeated.


The Copyright Act of 1831 was the first major statutory revision of U.S. copyright law, a result of intensive lobbying by Noah Webster and his agents in Congress. Webster also played a critical role lobbying individual states throughout the country during the 1780s to pass the first American copyright laws, which were expected to have distinct nationalistic implications for the infant nation. <from wikipedia>.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

There are Abortions in Art, as Well as in Nature...

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com

 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF IMPROVEMENTS IN THE USEFUL ARTS, AND MIRROR OF THE PATENT OFFICE, V. 1, No. 1 (1828), p. 15.
The multitude of useless structures found in the office, do not lessen its value as a whole. For men of science know full well, that there are abortions in art, as well as in nature; since it is not every effort of the one, or of the other, that is ultimately to succeed: and moreover, that the genuine operations of both, are not unfrequently aided by these abortions.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Inventors and the Bible (Part One: Adam and Eve)

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)

I am not a very religious person, but a little blurb about Adam and & Eve caught my eye as I read the 1888 book, Curiosities of the US Patent Office, written by then-examiner William Raymond. Even today, this dusty, worm-holed filed book remains quite quotable.

On page 102, Raymond quotes from Genesis 3:6 (emphasis added):

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Raymond postulates (emphasis in original):
For them to have sewed, without using the needle, would have been utterly impossible, therefore they must have invented one; but whether from a thorn or a fish bone, is a matter of conjecture.
While Raymond says it is an open question as to whether the credit for inventing the needle should go to Adam or Eve; Raymond misses that maybe Adam and Eve were not only the first inventors, but also the first joint inventors.

In a future post, we will look to the inventiveness of Noah.

The Increasing Complexity of the Arts and Sciences

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)

The difficulties" of the judges in comprehending the facts involved in patent cases, which have been cumulative with the increasing complexity of the Arts and Sciences, have somewhat weakened the authority of their opinions.

E. J. STODDARD (member of the Detroit bar).

May 1, 1920. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Another Early Assessment of Patents

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)

 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF IMPROVEMENTS IN THE USEFUL ARTS, AND MIRROR OF THE PATENT OFFICE, V. 1, No. 1, p. 3 (1828):
 The Patent Office is a valuable repository, the contents of which, though accessible to all, are known to but few. By placing them within the convenient reach of every one, the Patentee, the man of inventive genius, (to whom it is important to possess accurate knowledge of abortive as well as successful essays,) and the community at large, may be benefited. 

Henry Clay (1777-1852)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

An Early Assessment of the Value of Patents

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)

THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF IMPROVEMENTS IN THE USEFUL ARTS, AND MIRROR OF THE PATENT OFFICE, V. 1, No. 1 (1828), pp. 5-6:

A very small portion, of the Whole number of intelligent men in the United States, will ever visit the Patent Office; and very few, even of those who do visit it, have either time or opportunity to examine the principles and adaptations of the many inventions there deposited. The public are not sensible how large this deposit has become. Often have‘ we seen those, who visited it for the first time, astonished at the amount and variety of the models, and contrivances, and purposes, of ingenious minds, which have already manifested themselves in this infant country; and yet it is well known, that for a portion of the inventions, no models are deposited, because none are required by law. So great, however, is this accumulation of models, in less than forty years from the first law of Congress on this subject, that one entire story, in the General Post Office, is needed for their proper classification and display. Nor can we conceive what it may be in ages to come. Already it looks more like the work of ages, than like the offspring of a day.

By way of general remark, we might, perhaps, throw these inventions into three classes.

That some of them are useless, is obvious——say, One-third of them come within this description.

Another third of them are merely exhibitions of ingenuity, useful only, as displays of the inventive faculties of our countrymen.

The remaining third, are either directly applicable to some practical purpose; or, they are such specimens of mechanical construction, as cannot fail to be useful for other purposes, than those for which they were designed by their inventors.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Doubting the Patent System.

by Steve Reiss of www.reisspatents.com

"There are some persons who will assert that the American patent system tends to throw working men out of employment, as well as reducing in a considerable degree their wages. "

William Raymond, former patent examiner... 1888.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our Patent Office...

by Steve Reiss (stevenreiss@scienbizippc.com)


Our Patent Office Practice is still incomparably the best in the world. Let us keep it so.


E. J. STODDARD (member of the Detroit bar).

May 1, 1920.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Reminder on Design v. Utility Patents

by Steve Reiss - now at stevenreiss@sbp-us.com

Just a reminder on US patent terms --

Utility patent terms are 20 years from the earliest priority date. Maintenance fees are due at 3½, 7½ and 11½ years after grant of the patent.

Design patent terms are 15 years from grant. Design patents do not have maintenance fees.