Papers of Thomas A. Jenckes
From the Papers of Thomas A. Jenckes
Library of Congress
The case of
The American Wood Paper Company
The Fibre Disintegrating Company
in U.S. Supreme Court
Thomas A. Jenckes was counsel for complainants and appellants about October 1873.
The case of
Chas. F. Pike
Asa R. Potter
L.D. Gale of Washington provided an affidavit dated 6 Aug 1858 that he was employed as a principal examiner in the U.S. Patent Office in 1855 and for seven years previous, principally in chemistry. His affidavit stated that a patent of John C. Schooly of Cincinnati was for a process of curing meat and not for a refrigerator, and that if it had been considered by the Patent Office to be for a refrigerator, it would have been examined by another primary examiner. The affidavit does not state if he was an examiner at the time of giving the affidavit.
Father of Congressman Daniel Sickels was George G. Sickels.
The case of
Sickles vs. Gorey & Cutler [reading doubtful]
Papers suggest Sickles has a patent for a tripping apparatus in controversy. Is this the Sickles who practiced patent law in New York City in 1845?
Papers also suggest Sickles has a patent for dash pot, and sent a drawing to one Cunningham 4 May 1841.
Papers include a subpoena from William B. Sickles of the City of New York et al.
Later paper makes it clear that William B. Sickles was the plaintiff.
Patent law notes (undated)
Apparently some notes before or of Jenckes' House Committee on Patents when working on the 1870 revision of the Patent Laws. It appears that the Commissioner has proposed how the law should read, and this was someone's objections to the Commissioner's version.
Section 10 -- Appeal Board
We propose to leave that section as it is. As it now stands, the law makes it the duty of the board of appeals to determine, that is to decide upon the question appealed;
The change proposed by the Commissioner deprives the board entirely of its character as an appellate tribunal and reduces the to the position of mere clerks to report their views to the Commissioner, who alone is to decide. By this change, the applicant would be required by law to pay an appeal fee, and go through the farce of an appeal, and yet the tribunal to which he is thus required by law to appeal, cannot decide anything![Withdrawn]
Section 19 -- Giving Authority to Make Rules
The Commissioner may, from time to time, establish such rules for the regulation of the business of the Patent Office as may be required to give effect to the provisions of the law.
We don't think anything of the kind is required -- that he has such authority now, by virtue of his office -- but, that if any such authority is given, it should be limited to prevent legislating under pretense of making rules as has been done heretofore.
Section 26 -- Authorizing the Office to Furnish Duplicate Drawings
This is objected for several reasons. It is understood, of course, that if furnished by the Office, it will be a photograph, which is on paper -- not durable like the linen now used -- cannot be colored to illustrate the invention. Besides, it is absolutely necessary for agents to have a duplicate drawing, in order to conduct the case; as they must have it to refer in making the amendments required by the office -- and to compare with the references given by the Office; and this is the more especially necessary in view of the recent rule of the Office, refusing the withdrawal or return of any paper once filed, for such purposes.
New Section -- Periodical Tax on Patents
On all patents hereafter granted, there shall be paid into the Patent Office Fund the following tax, viz: at the termination of five years from the date of the patent, the sum of $10, and at the end of ten years from the date of the patent, the further sum of $25; and in default of the payment of either of the sums as aforesaid, the said patent shall be forfeited, and the invention so patented shall thereby become public property.
Letter from W.C. Dodge to Thomas A. Jenckes, 30 Jan 1871
W.C. Dodge - - - Dodge & Munn - - - H.B. Munn
Solicitors of American and Foreign Patents
No. 443 Seventh St., corner of E Rooms 6, 7 & 8
P.O. Box 658 Washington, D.C. Jan 30th, 1871
Hon. T.A. Jenckes,
Dear Sir --
I understand that it has been proposed to reduce the size of the photolithographic copies of the drawings of patented inventions for publication.
Sir, I trust that as chairman of the Com. on Patents, and being more familiar with the wants and needs of the Community in this respect than others can well be, you will use your influence to prevent this from being done.
To do so will obviously defeat the very object sought to be accomplished by their publication, -- which, I take it, is, to furnish the public with the desired information, as to what the thing is, that is patented. The reduction of the drawings to their present size -- 10 by 15 inches -- renders it difficult to show distinctly all the parts of a complicated machine now; and if these are to be subsequently reduced, as proposed, it will render them utterly worthless, because by such a reduction, the parts will be so reduced as to render it impossible to distinguish the, one from another. Not only this, but the letters of reference used to indicate the various parts will, by such reduction, be so reduced in size as to be undistinguishable. Such reduced drawings would be of no more use than so much waste paper. What benefit could the public, or inventors derive from them? Of what use would they be, to counsel, witnesses, or court, in cases of litigation? None whatever; and being of no use, no one would either buy or use them.
The office now derives a large income from the sale of the copies, because, as now made, they fully answer every desired purpose; and that sale is constantly increasing -- the public but recently being aware that they can be had, at a nominal price. If now, by the proposed reduction, their usefulness is destroyed, then of course, nobody will buy them; and thus you will but kill the goose that lays your golden egg.
My experience as an Examiner in the Patent Office, where I was one of the first to advocate the present plan -- and also as an expert in patent suits, enables me to speak from experience on the subject -- and I know that if they are reduced as proposed, they will be rendered worthless. It is proper for me to add that I have no interest whatever in this matter other than as an inventor.
I beg to suggest however, that it would be much better to have the entire work done by the Patent Office itself. The removal of the original drawings, in order to make the copies, is attended with great risk, and much inconvenience, besides causing delay in the business. It would also put an end to the jealousies of rival concerns, who are believed to be endeavoring to shape legislation for their own benefit rather than that of the public. So long as the work is done by contract, it is impossible to satisfy the inventors of the country, that their money is not squandered; and keeps the officers of the bureau constantly under suspicion of favoritism, if not of downright dishonesty. Of course no one will do the work outside, without a profit; and if there is a profit in it, why not let the bureau have it, to add to its fund?
Inasmuch as the Patent Office is the only self-sustaining bureau the Gov't has, and inasmuch also, as the inventors not only defray all its expenses, but pay into the U.S. Treasury a surplus of nearly a quarter of a million per annum, it does seem that their interests should be consulted in these matters, in preference to all others, save that of the general public, of which they form a very important part.
Very respectfully yours,
Affidavit from Hazard Knowles, 10 Oct 1858
New York, Oct. 10, 1858
This is to certify that I was machinist in the United States Patent Office from the year 1836 to the year 1848, that in the year 1839, several models of Machinery for Making Wood Screws were deposited by, or on behalf of, Alonzo G. Hull in connection with applications for patents then made by the said Hull; that on the 4th day of October inst. I visited the Patent Office, and there found the said models and immediately recognized them. That one of the said models is of a machine for finishing the heads of wood screws, and that the mandrel which carries the jaws for holding and rotating the screw blanks is hollow and has within it a rod or punch with a spring behind it the tension of which forces it forward toward the jaws at the front end to force out the blank when the jaws liberate it
That I have examined the books kept by me when I was such machinist of the Patent Office, and I find that I entered the said models when they were received on the 3rd day of February, 1839. That they were entered and put on exhibition in the Public Model Room of the Patent Office, and so kept by me on public exhibition while I was such Machinist. And that during the whole time any one visiting the Public Model Rooms of the Patent Office could have seen them as readily as the Patented Models.
Printed Patent Office Notice (undated)
You are hereby reminded that a rule of this Office prohibits any alteration whatever of any paper on file. Every such paper must remain forever in the exact condition in which it came into the Office, so that the papers of each case may contain within themselves a true history of all that has been done therein, with the precise date of each transaction. No erasure, cancellation, or interlineation, is therefore ever permissible.
When amendments are required, the papers themselves are generally returned to the applicant, but it is only for the purpose of enabling him to make that amendment, so as to be in harmony with the context. The amendment should be written out on a separate sheet, something after the manner practiced in legislative bodies; even when the amendment consists in striking out a portion of a specification or other paper, the same course should still be pursued. No actual erasure must be made.
Something like the following forms will be proper:
"I hereby amend my specification by inserting the following words after the word ---- in the ---- line of the ---- page thereof." [Here should follow the words that are to be inserted,] or ---
"I hereby amend my specification by striking out the whole of the [first and fourth, as the case may be] claims."
The forms of other amendments will readily suggest themselves. In each case, the exact words to be struck out or inserted should be clearly described, and the precise point where any insertion is to be made.
The original papers must, in all cases, be returned to this Office, together with the amendments.
In some cases amendments are to be made by writing out the entire paper anew. This can only be done by direction or special permission of the Office; and even when this is done, the original paper must be returned.
Copy of a decision on application by Frederick E. Sickles for an extension of his patent. Decision dated 20 May 1856 and signed [apparently original] by C. Mason, Commissioner. Extension denied.
Letter from D.P. Holloway, Comm of Pats to Thomas A. Jenckes, 26 Jan 1865
U.S. Patent Office
January 26, 1865
In response to your inquiry as to whether this Office desires any legislation during the present session of Congress, permit me to say:
First, that it is of the highest importance to the Office, not only in a financial point of view, but in the equitable and just administration of the business of the Office, that a law should be enacted, at as early a day as possible, by which Patents ordered to be issued more than six months should be disposed of. Under the law of 1861, inventors who neglect, or for any cause fail, to pay the final fee of $20 for six months after said patent shall have been ordered to issue, the patent "shall be withheld, and the invention therein described shall become public property against the applicant therefor." The number of patents which have already been forfeited under the provisions of this law is not much short of six hundred, constituting a loss of about $12,000 to the funds of the Office. In addition, there is at least four hundred more patents awaiting the payment of the final fee, which, if not paid within a short time, will be a further loss of $8,000 -- making an aggregate loss of $20,000.
The Office has performed all the necessary labor of examining and perfecting these applications and should be paid for time and money thus expended. Prompt inventors should not be required to pay the expenses of those who are negligent and indifferent. The Office is self-sustaining, and every applicant should pay the expense he imposes on the Office.
Again, many very worthy inventors have been and are now absent serving in the army and navy, and from this reason are unable to meet the requirements of the law in paying the final fee. While engaged in such a holy cause, the government should not take away their interests for such default. The time for the redemption of their patents should be extended, or they should at least be permitted to renew their applications without prejudice.
The patents thus suspended and remaining in the Office are the source of much trouble. It has not been deemed proper to refer subsequent applicants to the patents thus retained in the Office, for the reason that all applications are kept in secrecy until finally disposed of by a final rejection or the issue of the same.
The experience of the last four years has convinced me that the law of 1861, by which the payment of the fee is divided, is highly injurious to the Office, and no less so to many worthy inventors. I would therefore most respectfully, but earnestly, urge upon Congress the necessity of returning to the old statute, which required the entire fee to be paid in advance, on making the application.
I would, also, in this connection, suggest that the fee be placed at forty dollars, providing that one half, $20, be returned on the final rejection and withdrawal of the application.
Hon. T.A. Jenks [sic]
Chairman, Com. on Patents
House of Representatives
Letter from Samuel Duncan, Acting Comm, to Thomas Jenckes, 24 Jan 1871
U.S. Patent Office
Jan 24, 1871
Hon. Thos. A. Jenckes, M.C.
Ch'm Com. on Patents, Ho. of Reps.
I have had under consideration the Joint Resolution, recently passed by Congress, which provides, in lieu of the Annual Report heretofore published, for the publication and gratuitous distribution of the entire specifications and drawings of patents issued by this office; and in accordance with your request I herewith submit certain observations in relation thereto.
Before the law goes practically into operation, I am satisfied that it should be modified in two or three particulars.
Attention may be called to that clause which excepts from the operation of the law those offices of the clerks of the U.S. district courts which are "located in state or territorial capitols." I presume that the word "capitol" has here been unintentionally substituted for "capitals."
Again, if, as the language employed may perhaps fairly be interpreted to mean, the Commissioner of Patents is to furnish copies of specifications and the accompanying drawings, certified to under his own hand, at the contract price of the drawings alone, this tariff must be pronounced unnecessarily and unreasonably low, and the labor imposed upon the Commissioner thereby excessive and troublesome, if not in fact a physical impossibility. I would suggest a modification of the law, whereby the price of copies be left to the decision of the Commissioner, ten cents being fixed as a minimum for uncertified copies and fifty cents as a maximum, every certificate attached to be an extra charge.
The revenue of the government would be increased many thousand dollars annually by the change and no burden imposed thereby upon the purchasing public.
Again, the reproduction of the drawings should be made by the Patent Office itself, and not by contract. The objections to dealing with contractors are manifold, not the least being that the Office is called upon to part temporarily with the custody of its original records, a thing which for obvious reasons should never be, and which at times becomes a source of much inconvenience in the transaction of business.
Besides, I am convinced that with a proper outfit the work can be done in the Office as artistically and more economically than by outside parties.
In estimating the cost of the work, I have been guided, so far as binding and letter press are concerned, by the estimates of the Congressional Printer. I have adopted as the basis of calculation two hundred copies, an annual issue of fourteen thousand patents, and as the size of the engravings, ten inches by fifteen. A smaller engraving would not conform to the size needed and already in use in the current business of the Office, and would not, I am sure, give satisfaction to the public. To adopt two sizes, one for the office and one for the public, would necessitate an unwarrantable expense.
I do not think it would be safe to estimate for less than fifty copies to be sold to the public. This number would obviate the necessity of stereotyping, preserving negatives, etc.
The estimate of fourteen thousand as the annual issue is only slightly in excess of the largest number yet issued in any one year. I do not anticipate an immediate increase over this number.
Upon the foregoing basis I estimate the future cost of the work over that now being performed in connection with the current business of the Office as follows; it being borne in mind that at the present time the office is being provided with twenty-one printed copies of the specifications and twelve photolithographic copies of the drawings, and that the problem to be determined is how much it will cost, having the letter press already in type, and the engravings upon the stone, to produce the additional copies called for under the resolution -- i.e. one hundred and seventy-nine copies of the specification and one hundred and eighty-eight of the drawings.
Cost of paper for specifications $16,200
Cost of press work on specifications 4,000
Binding 150 copies -- 104 vols in
each copy @ 1.52 per vol 23,712
Engravings @ 2 cents each 57,152
Two cents for the additional copies
is a very liberal estimate. 14,000
patents will have about 15200 sheets
of illustrations _________
It is safe to assume that the system of cheap distribution of copies proposed by the resolution, with the modification already suggested, will considerably increase the revenue of the government from this source.
I think you will agree with me that $30000 per annum is not too high an estimate for this expected increase.
This amount being properly deductible from the above aggregate will leave $71,064 as the estimated annual cost of the work proposed to be done under the law, on the basis assumed for calculation.
I wish it distinctly understood, however, that I very seriously doubt the advisability of adopting the cheap style of binding upon which the above estimate of the Congressional Printer is based; neither do I understand that he recommends this style. The volumes are to be large and to be subjected to constant inspection and constant wear. The binding should be of the first quality as regards strength and durability. If the binding now in use in the Patent Office be adopted, the annual cost of binding the one hundred and fifty sets, 104 vols, in each set, will be $78000. By adopting the stronger binding, however, the number of volumes may be considerably reduced, and the aggregate cost correspondingly lessened; I think at least one third. In my judgment the merits of this style are so great as fully to warrant its selection, even tho' at twice the cost of the other.
The cost of the work for the period intervening between July 1, 1869 and the present time would exceed the above estimate by the cost of recomposing the letter press, about $65000 per year, and the cost of replacing the engravings upon the photolithographic stones, which may be stated in round numbers at $20,000,
Saml. A. Duncan
There is an interesting printed letter from Thaddeus Hyatt seeking a second extension of his patent, but not worth copying.
Letter from S.J. Parker to Thomas A. Jenckes, 31 May 1866
Ithaca, Tompkins Co., New York
May 31st 1866
Hon. Thomas A. Jenckes
I believe you are on the Committee on Patent Matters.
Please inform me why the transaction of business is so slow at the present time, by the Office? It used to take about six weeks to get a patent through, by correspondence. Now it takes months. It formerly took about ten days to get a letter from Examiners (in the Commissioner's name) answered. Now 4 to 8 weeks. In old times a letter to the Commissioner himself was replied to in a week. Now the Commissioner answers no letter.
Is the same devil that is in the President, in the Patent Office also?
If you have any influence in the Office, please make for me a complaint on the neglect of business generally now.
All I know of Mr. Theaker is that the Board of Appeals commenced a useful thing, that three old hard-shells took the rule of it, and in a few years killed it dead. Every case I every carried to them was answered "we must maintain an Examiner unless he is clearly in error, and even then you better commence your case anew." And Theaker was one of the old blockheads that killed the practical use of the Board. And I fear the same stupid ruling in the case with the whole office now.
I wrote to you some time ago, saying that the law was such by the late changes to make the applicant more cost with no advantage. I regret all the changes of the last 6 or 7 years. The ten dollar fee will cut off many a poor man from his patent.
In my humble opinion we need laws to facilitate and protect the claimant, not to defend the officials.
I know of no one who favors these innovations, as they limit the rights of the inventor, and render more costly his patent.
But pass my opinions by and let me know why the delays now general in all the cases I have before the office, is in existence, and what I can do to remedy them.
S.J. Parker, M.D.[?]
Solicitor of Patents
Letter from H. Howson to Thomas A. Jenckes, 3 Feb 1866
Philadelphia, February 3d, 1866
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
After I met you at Mr. Stoughton's office I saw the Commissioner, and demanded as a right, rather than asked as a favor, the removal of all pulp cases from Hedrick's room. He appeared to entertain the matter favorably, so I left him, with the understanding that Stoughton would see him on the same subject today.
If you see the Commissioner he will doubtless open a conversation with you on the same subject.
It appears to me however that the proper course to pursue is to get Hedrick out of the office, for he is a most dangerous character, and I find that there are a number of complaints against him.
Acting upon your suggestion, I called on Dr. Rand this morning and asked him if he knew anyone who was competent to fill the situation of Chemical Examiner. He immediately mentioned the name of Prof. C.M. Wetherill as being the very best man for the place. I know Dr. Wetherill by reputation, He occupies a high position in the Scientific community as an analytical chemist. He is a gentleman too, who can say no, when he means it, and will not allow his judgment to be warped. From what Dr. Rand says, I feel satisfied that he would be an acquisition to the Patent Office.
In talking with my friend Examiner James I find that he has prepared a paper containing some very valuable suggestions relating to the reorganization of the practice of the Patent Office. They were made, I believe, at your suggestion.
The young man Coombs should not be permitted to remain in the office, as he evidently acts as a spy for his Father, who is Harding's Associate.
I would suggest, as his successor, young Hayes, who has received a first class chemical education, and who is now acting as 2nd Assistant Examiner in Dr. Page's room. He is a very worthy and conscientious young man, and deserves promotion to a first Assistant Examinership.
I may state here, in confidence, that there is a most mischievous clique in and about the Patent Office, and that the members are Pollak, Coombs, Hedrick, and Harlan. I have heard of the first boasting that he could control the Office.
I called at House, as I promised, but could not find you.
Enclosed please find a letter relating to Prof. Wetherill who is now at the Smithsonian.
I should be in Washington with my argument on Friday next.
Letter from H. Howson to Thomas A. Jenckes, 10 Feb 1866
Philadelphia Feby 10th 1866
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
After our interview at the House I saw the Commissioner, who after some hesitation, promised me to remove all pulp cases from Hendrick's room.
He suggested Dr. Page as the proper Examiner, but I objected to this as the Dr. had been a guest of Harding in Philadelphia for several days. The Dr. has been ill and has been advised to leave the Office for a few weeks. Harding has no doubt been doctoring him with pulp. The Commissioner promised to appoint some other officer. I hope Mr. Stoughton will try his best to keep him to his word.
I send you a corrected copy of my argument, the one I left with you having sundry errors which occurred during the hurry in the printing.
You asked me about Judge Norton of Illinois. I found on making inquiries that he was a gentleman of the highest attainments legal and moral, and had a determined will.
I also found that Prof. Brainard now Chief Examiner of the Agricultural Department in the Patent Office is a first class chemist, and was formerly Professor of Chemistry at the Cleveland University, so that there can be no want of a successor to the present incumbent of the chemical department.
Letter From John L. Hayes, Chief Clerk of Patent Office to S.H. Wales, of Scientific American, 11 Jan 1865
U.S. Patent Office
Washington, D.C. Jany 11th 1865
In reply to your communication of this date I have to state that in order to relieve the embarrassment in which the office was involved in consequence of the law of March 3d 1863 declaring the forfeiture of invention where the balance of fee had not been paid, an order was issued directing the Examiners in the consideration of applications not to make reference to such applications as had been forfeited by said law.
Your obedient Servant
John L. Hayes
S.H. Wales, Esq.
Letter from J. Van Santvoord to Thomas A. Jenckes, 12 March 1864
Patent Office March 12, 1864
Hon. Thomas A. Jenckes,
As far back as 1854, the Commissioner, in order to keep up with the increasing applications for patents, created several new rooms under the charge of Assistant Examiners who were called "Acting Examiners." Congress has twice paid those of us who were acting as such:
Act of August 18, 1856, Making appropriations for certain civil expenses
"Sec. 10 And be it further enacted, That the Commissioner of Patents is hereby authorized to pay those employed in the United States Patent Office from April first, eighteen hundred and fifty-four, until April first, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, as examiners and assistant examiners of patents, at the rates fixed by law for these respective grades; Provided, That the same be paid out of the Patent Office fund, and that the compensation thus paid shall not exceed that received by those duly enrolled as examiners and assistant examiners of patents for the same period."
Act of June 25, 1860, Making appropriations for sundry civil expenses
"Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the Commissioner of Patents is hereby authorized to pay those employed in the Patent Office from April first, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, until April first, eighteen hundred and sixty, as examiners and assistant examiners of patents, at the rates fixed by law for these respective grades; Provided, That the same be paid out of the Patent Office fund, and that the compensation thus paid shall not exceed that received by those duly enrolled as examiners and assistant examiners of patents for the same period."
The salaries and expenses of the Patent Office are paid wholly from the fees. The balance on hand now is $33,000,and it is increasing. We solicit like relief from April 1, 1860 to April 1, 1864. It will take perhaps $9000 to $12,000 of this surplus. The number of Examiners and Assistants is less than 3 years ago, while the applications, the work done and the revenue are more.
Can you aid us in getting these facts before the Committees of Patents and Ways and Means.
Respectfully your obedient servant
J. Van Santvoord
Letter from W.C. Dodge to Thomas A. Jenckes (not dated)
Patent Agency of Smith & Dodge
488 1/2 Seventh Street
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
In a conversation with Gov. Farwell, a few days since, he intimated to me that he thought you would like to make some inquiries of me in relation to matters pertaining to patents, or the business of the Patent Office.
If such be your desire, it will afford me pleasure to meet you at such time and place as you may appoint.
Letter from Horace H. Day to Thomas A. Jenckes with enclosure
not dated [enclosure dated 20 Feb 1864]
I propose to oppose the Goodyear Patent Extension -- and this is the kind of Petition I shall make [?] [?]
I can't go to see you. Will you drop me a line what you think of it. I will keep it to myself and return to you your letter -- write me at once.
Horace H. Day
New York, Feb. 20, 1864
To the Hon. The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
The Petition of the undersigned respectfully represents, That he has learned from private sources that the legal representatives of Charles Goodyear, have made application to Congress to extend the Patent of said Goodyear, originally granted June 15, 1844, for certain improvements in the manufacture of India Rubber, which patent has been re-issued and extended, and is now in such shape as to cover ["and control" added in Jenckes' hand] the entire manufacture of India Rubber in this country.
I protest against the proposed ["2d" added by Jenckes] extension in my own behalf, and in behalf of thousands of men, women and children whose profession it is to labor in the fabrication with no hope of sharing in the profits while the monopoly exists; as the entire business is divided up and monopolized by wealthy corporations, and has been so for nearly twenty years.
I protest against it because Charles Goodyear was not either in law or morals, the author of the invention. No jury has ever declared him such. The managers of the Patent never would allow the merits of the question of originality to go to a jury.
I protest against it because the public have been forced to pay tens of millions of dollars in the way of extra profits to Goodyear and [second "and" struck out] his legal representatives, under the last twenty years of the monopoly.
I protest against it because I know the monopoly has been maintained by fraud and corrupt practices from the first. And I specially protest against the further extension because of the barefaced and unusual fraud enacted in the first extension, through the neglect of duty, or deliberate connivance of the Commissioner of Patents, Holt. And I charge said Holt with allowing false statements to govern his action, while the records of his office gave the evidence of over One Hundred Thousand Dollars in Bounties received by Charles Goodyear, which were not taken into the accounts on which he made the extension, nor the other hundreds of thousands of accruing tariffs resulting from said agreements. If the records had been truly examined, and the sums there found embraced in the account, no ["honest" struck out] Commissioner of Patents could have granted the first extension, under existing laws. Besides this country is ["in" added by Jenckes] no condition to afford to grant special privileges, to render the rich richer, at the expense of the general public, and that too, in favor of a Patent, obtained and maintained by fraud, and which has never been permitted to be passed upon by a jury. And your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray, etc.
The undersigned, merchants and others of the city of New York, respectfully ask the attention of Congress to the above petition of Mr. Horace H. Day, and pray that no further perpetuation of the rubber monopoly be permitted by Congress.
New York, Feb. 20, 1864
W.E. Jillson to Thomas A. Jenckes, 13 Feb 1865
U.S. Patent Office
February 13, 1865
Allow me the liberty of introducing to you Mr. Dodge of the Committee of the Employees of this Office in the payment of money for services performed by them at grades higher than those at which they were appointed. Mr. Dodge is desirous of conferring with you upon the subject.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant
Hon. T. A. Jenckes, M.C.
Chairman Committee on Patents
Charles F. Hill to Thomas A. Jenckes, 3 March 1868
Lyme, Conn; March 3rd 1866
Hon. Thos. A. Jenks;
In May last I applied to the Patent Office for a patent, which, as I have heard nothing of a decision upon, I presume has not been reached yet.
This is a state of things, sir, that must be onerous and oppressive to very many in the country. Have, sir, the affairs of the office been mismanaged by the recent Commissioner, who was requested to, and did, resign? Or has the Office insufficient force to accomplish the business before it?
I perceive, sir, that Congress has had recent legislation about patents, and has passed a law on the subject. Would it not be well, sir, to communicate a paragraph to the daily papers, informing the country of the cause of delay in the decisions of the office?
I would be extremely grateful, sir, for your instrumentality in the correction of the present condition of the Patent Office, so oppressive, sir, to others I know of, and to
Yours, with the greatest respect,
Charles F. Hill
(of New York)
E.S. Renwick to Thomas A. Jenckes, 6 March 1868
34 Beach St., New York
March 6th 1868
Hon. Thomas A. Jenckes
You may remember that I had a conversation with you some time ago in reference to the printing of the specifications and drawings of American Patents. In order that I may put the matter before you more explicitly I enclose herewith a statement of my views embodied in the form of an Act of Congress that might be passed.
It may be urged that such an act would be productive of great advantage both to patentees and to the public. In the first place, a large majority of the patents are for crude inventions; these would expire by natural death at the end of seven years, and would be out of the way of the practically valuable improvements of subsequent inventors. The operation of the act in this respect would obviate the perversion of the law of reissue.
Again. We are entirely behind the age in the manner in which the vast amount of knowledge and invention accumulated in the Patent Office is made useful to the public. The present cost of obtaining drawings and written copies of patents is enormous, and the records of patents are practically a sealed book to the public. By placing a printed copy of the specification and drawing of every patent on record in the Clerk's office of every judicial district of the United States the expense of an examination of the records of patents would be reduced to the expense of traveling to the nearest Clerk's office, and the records of patents would be practically put within the reach of every mechanic for his personal examinations. As respects the publication of patents the United States are far behind Great Britain (which publishes every specification and drawing in full) and France, which publishes all valuable specifications in full and reduced copies of the patentees drawings; whereas we, who consider ourselves the most inventive and practical people in the world, ought to set an example to other nations in the mode in which we diffuse valuable knowledge.
The passage of the act will have the effect of disseminating valuable knowledge without the cost of one cent to the public, as the fees to be paid by patentees will defray all the expenses.
As respects the proposed term of 21 years for a valuable patent, it may be urged that such term is no longer than it was granted under the old patent law for valuable inventions; viz, a first term of 14 years; a second term of 7 years; and possibly a third term of 7 years, at the discretion of Congress. Again; the proposed large fee of $500 (for the last 7 years) is a guarantee that those patents which under the proposed act will run 21 years will be those only which have been found to be of value after a test of 14 years. Besides; the term of 21 years is no longer than is granted for copyrights; and surely the inventor of a valuable mechanical or chemical improvement, which adds tens of thousands of dollars to the wealth of the country and may endure for all time, is entitled to as great a reward as the writer of a book, or the producer of an engraving, or of designs for a pack of playing cards.
The fee of $500, for the last seven years of the term, may seem a large fee, but it must be borne in mind that one object of the proposed law is to reduce the terms of valueless patents which now run 17 years, and which would be permitted to expire rather than live by paying such a fee; while those patents which are practically valuable inventions can easily afford to pay the fee.
The 3d clause of the act will give the Commissioners sufficient funds to commence the printing of the new patents within three months of its passage. There were about 3000 patents granted in 1854 and it is fair to assume that one twentieth of these could afford to pay a fee of $500 for an extension to 21 years without being put to the expense of proceeding before the Commissioner for that purpose in the manner now provided. If this be so the 150 patents would yield $45,000 in cash to the printing fund the first year; and every subsequent year would increase the sum.
The patents granted previous to the act should be printed, as fast as funds accumulate in inverted order; those last granted being printed first. In this way the most valuable patents will be printed first.
In reference to the 5th clause of the proposed act, I do not hesitate to say that the manner in which the drawings of patents are treated is a disgrace to our system. They are carried about the Patent Office at the whim of every examiner; they are frequently mislaid, and sometimes can not be found; the older ones are already much dilapidated, and the continuance of the present system for a few years will complete their destruction. If the printing system be established there will be no necessity of taking the original drawings out of the Draughtsman's room, as one of the three copies retained in the office may be bound up in classes for the use of the Office employees, while a second copy may be bound chronologically for the use of the public; and the third copy may be kept in reserve for contingencies.
So much for the proposed act. In conclusion permit me to draw your attention to a matter that requires attention; but whether an act of Congress would or would not remedy the difficulty, I leave you to determine. The examining force in the patent office is composed of many persons, the majority of whom have had no training to fit them for their positions. Every one of them sets himself up as a qualified exponent of the law, and the result is that hardly two of them administer the law the same way. Many of them pay no respect to the decisions of the Courts, and some assert in substance that the acts of Congress make them the judges of the construction of the patent law according to their own views. The practical result is that the majority of the Examiners construe the law as they think it should be, rather than it actually is. Now if a clause were passed somewhat as follows, it would be productive of great advantage to the public.
And be it further enacted, That in all questions respecting the grant of patents which arise between applicants and the Officers of the Patent Office, the said Officers shall be governed in their decisions by the construction of the patent laws as set forth in the decisions of the Courts of the United States in similar cases.
Francis C. Nye to Thomas A. Jenckes
[apparently Mr. Nye, of New York City, was some kind of law partner to Thomas A. Jenckes KWD]
1 December 1868
My dear Mr. Jenckes
Keller has just been in to see me about the examination of Hillard & Renwick. He was in a violent temper. Bigelow was with him. B is smarting under the charges of Keller and Renwick & wants to make capital out of the suit of his spring trade. Keller seems to have been excited by him & said he would go to the Court and get an order closing the proofs. I soothed him and just then your telegram came & I told him I would go on with Hillard tomorrow. Let me know if I shall keep the examination open for you. One thing is certain, Judge Blatchford will not be on this case in January & Keller is bent on having it brought on this month. Please let me know whether you will try it this month? I shall say nothing and consent to nothing without hearing from you. ...
Elisha Foote to Thomas A. Jenckes, 8 January 1869
Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 8 Jany 1869
Hon. Thos. A Jenckes
In my opinion our present patent laws do not apply to the production of new varieties of fruits, flowers, or other horticultural or agricultural productions.
There are many gentleman who devote their time and money to the production of such new varieties. They have no means of securing to themselves the benefits of their labors. Could the same rewards and inducements be held out for labor in this field as in the [revolution?] of mechanical devices I have no doubt it would result in the greatest benefit to the community.
Very respectfully yours
Comr of Patents
Ralph Emerson to J.F. Farnsworth, 4 February 1869
Emerson & Co.
Rockford, Winnebago Co., Ill
February 4, 1869
Hon. J.F. Farnsworth, M.C.
I notice by the papers a bill is before Congress about the Patent Office, one of the provisions of which is that the mass of models in the "rejected cases" shall either be sold or destroyed. It is of the greatest importance to justice that this should not be done. In those "rejected models" is in many cases the only proofs now acceptable to the public that many inventions of value are now public property.
I will refer to two cases in point. One was our suit with McCormick. It involved as you know many millions in its result. One branch of the case turned almost entirely on one of these "rejected models." Had McCormick won that case every one knows what would have been the tax it would have imposed on all the grain growing interests of the west.
Again, I could point out a model in one of those cases, which it is now proposed to sell or destroy, which so far as I know is the only proof of a very valuable invention's belonging to the public. Were I a scoundrel I would give several thousand dollars to have it in my power to say that it should be destroyed or not.
I speak of these two cases as they have come under my own observation or rather experience.
I could point, I think to a considerable number of cases where great public interests have been saved in this way.
I am aware that it may be urged that in most cases the drawings which accompany the models show the same thing. To a certain extent this is true. But only to a certain extent. In almost every case the model shows more than the drawing or specification.
The reason for the destruction or removal of those models appears to be lack of room. The present room there could be nearly doubled by a better arrangement of the cases. That is to occupy less room in passages down the center of each hall and between the cases. To be sure this might injure the architectural beauty of the halls. But are the vast interests at stake to be sacrificed to the beauty of those four rooms.
J.W. Krepps to Thomas A. Jenckes, 23 February 1869
Patent Office Library
Feb 23, 1869
My dear Sir
I sincerely trust you will, in a day or two, return to me (Canceled) my official dismissal. A personal visit today or tomorrow from you to the Com., I am confident will arrange matters satisfactory, viz: If you will personally request the canceling the same -- I am still working upon the Index for 1868 and will furnish it ere long. As I said before, my bread depends upon this at this time, or I would not ask a favor of you.
I will reciprocate in some manner, when you require anything from the Library, as I often did when Prof. Jillson was the Librarian.
Your obdt Servt
P.O. Box 337
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
P.W. Cunningham to Thomas A. Jenckes
[Cunningham was apparently a clerk in Francis Nye's office]
21 March 1869
Sunday, Mch 21, 1869
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
Mr. Nye returned from Albany this morning.
Your friend Mr. Keller has so far recovered that it is thought he will be able to be out the coming week.
I finished reading through box 39 KWD
J.F. Talland[?] to Thomas A. Jenckes, 15 Jan 1870
Burlington, Iowa Jan 15, 1870
Chairman, Patent Office Committee
Washington, City, D.C.
Though a very humble and exceedingly private citizen, yet having recently taken out a patent, and having obtained some knowledge of the working of the office, I take the liberty of addressing you, with a view of at least adding to its facilities, if not cheapening them, for the benefit of inventors, generally a class of very poor, but intelligent and worthy men.
Now, the entire office is made to work into the hands of Solicitors, a greedy class of men, who charge according to the ability to pay, of their clients. More than a million dollars a year is thus taken from these men, fully half more than it ought to be. All the Commissioners, I believe, have been lawyers, and most of them use the information acquired while in office to skin its patrons when they go out. It is, I believe, the only Department which is self-sustaining, and more so. I know it to be the only one which a citizen cannot correspond with, or get any information, or a decent reply from.
Sometime ago, I took the liberty of addressing the Commissioner, and very respectfully suggesting that the office compile a brief circular, or small pamphlet, containing rules, decisions and other information, to which those applying for patents are certainly entitled, without depending altogether on the interested statements of greedy Solicitors. After two months delay, I got a reply from this individual which no gentleman could possibly have written. Of course the suggestion was contemptuously declined. I am very positive, that with my present experience, from the standpoint I have occupied, a circular might be compiled which would be worth a great many dollars to men as ignorant as I was a few months ago: and this much, if not more, is certainly due to inventors.
Can you inform me whether the Patent Office and the crew of shysters who throng its purlieus, was created for the benefit of the people, or whether the latter were created expressly to be skinned by the office and its friends? Is there either possibility or probability, that, in a country like ours, filled with eminent and illustrious inventors, anybody but a one horse, pettifogging lawyer will ever be selected for the honorable position of Commissioner of Patents? Can you, without too much, and too painful mental effort, answer these conundrums?
Charles Mason to Thomas A. Jenckes, 26 Jan 1870
Washington Jan 26/70
The rule established by the 7th section of the act of 1839 always seemed an unwise one. It only exempts from liability as infringers those who had purchased or constructed a machine before the date of the application for a patent. As such application is secret no one can know that he is doing wrong until the publication of the patent. The change I have proposed seems to me just and would effectively remove the objection suggested today in the committee room.
Hon. Thos. A. Jenckes
J.J. Greenough to Thomas A. Jenckes. 5 March 1870
Syracuse 5th March 1870
Hon. Thos. Jenckes
Learning that the Committees of Patents and printing are considering the propriety of printing the current patents as they are issued as was suggested by me more than 20 years ago and before the English began to print theirs, I take the liberty to send to you some copies of a memorial of mine printed but not distributed to Congress in 1862.
I believe I am not egotistical in saying that I know more in relation to this subject, (its history at least) than any other man living. At my suggestion a clause for printing was introduced into several patent bills that did not become law, and at last I did get a clause through for the printing the patents which was made useless through the gross ignorance of the parties carrying it out. I have all the documents now in my possession relating to the subject and thoroughly studied it up for many years, in which I devised what I believe to be the only thoroughly feasible plan for doing it economically by government.
I should be glad to see my pet plan of printing the patents carried out. I should be still better pleased to be allowed to do it myself, but the most important thing is to do it. If I can aid in any way to effect the object I have so many years strived for at much cost of time and labor and with which I am so entirely acquainted I shall be gratified to do so.
Will you do me the favor to hand one copy of the enclosed which I have directed to the Chairman of the Committee on Printing to him, the others please dispose of to such members as you may deem proper.
I believe you have not forgotten me and that I need not have any endorsement as to my authenticity[?]. I entered the Patent Office in 1837 and have been more or less connected with its business ever since.
Respectfully your obedient servant
Now at Syracuse, N.Y.
George C. Schaeffer to Thomas A. Jenckes, 8 March 1870
U.S. Patent Office
Washington, D.C. Mar 8th, 1870
I have looked in vain for any means of obtaining the exact number of patents.
I have therefore taken the list of patents from 1790 to 1838 inclusive, and the means of two careful estimates of the number may be assumed to be very near the truth. From this I have deducted the known number of patents for /37 and /38 and the result is 10,084 as the number of patents under the old law.
On the next page I give the number for the later years of the old law.
George C. Schaeffer
Hon. Thos. A. Jenckes
Chairman, Committee on Patents
Number of Patents granted
in 1827 320
1836 to July 598
Munn & Co. to Thomas A. Jenckes, 12 March 1870
Office of the Scientific American
37 Park Row
New York, March 12, 1870
We have read the debate upon your proposition to change the system of publishing the transactions of the Patent Office. We approve of the general plan, but we think the bill ought to provide some way so that private parties could purchase copies of the patents at cost price. We ask your attention to this point as one in which we feel a personal interest.
Very truly yours,
Munn & Co.
Extract from Thomas P. How to Thomas A. Jenckes, 17 April 1870
A German took out a patent for an article of manufacture which is understood to have been well known in Germany at the time, and in just about or exactly that form of construction which he represented in his model and drawings. He gave an exclusive license to an importer in this country to sell this article of manufacture, and on this patent and license they sued my clients (who were also importers of German goods) for the sale of articles which they had imported from another house in Germany.
It was shown before the trial that the invention claimed was old; and the plaintiffs dropped the suit and reissued the patent upon different claims and again sued. They held the suit over the heads of my clients as long as they could and by representations of the pendency of this suit to my client's customers injured their trade what they could and then reissued again and commenced still another suit.
All of this is very materially interfering with the trade of my clients and unjustly costing them a great deal of money to defend their rights in the matter, and all because these parties are permitted to obtain reissues aimed directly against the manufacturers of my clients without their having even the poor privilege of being heard. ....
Charles Mason to Thomas A. Jenckes, 21 April 1870
Washington April 21/70
I have examined the new patent law bill with some care and find very little to which I can object. I take the liberty however of suggesting two points which perhaps may not have been carefully considered by you.
1st The two last lines of section 34 require the specification (in the case of a reissue) to be sworn to by the inventor if living. This is all right and proper if he is a perfectly just man. But if otherwise, is not the assignee thereby placed wholly at his mercy. May he not refuse to make the necessary oath unless the most exorbitant[?] demands are complied with. The 53rd section provides such safeguards against abuses in such cases that I think there is no great danger in allowing the assignee to make the oath in cases of reissue applications.
2nd The tenth section of the act of 1839 gives the applicant in an ex parte case a remedy by bill in equity when his patent shall have been refused by the judge of the Supreme Court. I see no equivalent provision in the pending bill.
It is true no new case of this kind can arise hereafter. But suppose one to exist already where the judge has refused or shall hereafter refuse a patent on appeal. The provisions of section 58 will not reach this case, and I think no other remedy has been provided. It is true the number of such cases will not be great but if equal and exact justice is to be meted out to all it is perhaps worthy of consideration whether some change in the phraseology of section 58 ought not to be made to meet this case.
I have noticed nothing else which seemed to me to call for correction.
Very respectfully yours,
Hon. Thos. A. Jenckes
Henry N. Stone to Thomas A. Jenckes, 21 April 1870
Boston, Mass April 28th 1870
To Hon. T.A. Jenckes
Chairman of Committee
I notice that the new bill in regard to patents gives the right of appeal from the decision of the Commissioner.
I hope there will be some provision in interference cases, that the one who appeals is not to have the selection of the judge, as at present, if the judge is also as at present to have a fee for his decision, because the one who appeals is sure to select the judge who is most likely to reverse the decision and because the judge who makes the most decisions against the commissioner is likely to get the most jobs.
It would be fairer to select the judge by lot, or to throw dice to see who should have the patent, for under the present law, as you will see by the commissioner's report, in 38 out of 42 cases appealed (to one of the judges) from his predecessor, the decision was reversed. Then again such decisions do not settle the cases, which have to be tried over again in some other court between the parties in interest.
Henry N. Stone
P.S. It sees as tho the commissioner from his position ought to be a better final judge than a judge who, even if fairly selected, can have had, in comparison, but little of the special experience required for a just judgment.
Respectfully H.N. Stone
W.C. Dodge to Thomas A. Jenckes, 21 January 1871
Dodge & Munn
Solicitors of American and Foreign Patents
No. 443 Seventh St, corner of E, Rooms 6, 7, & 8
Washington, D.C. Jany. 21, 1871
Hon. T.A. Jenckes
If there be no objection on our part we should be happy to add your name to our list of references on a new circular we are about to issue. We don't belong to that class of irresponsible agents who make free use of the names of Senators and Members without their permission; and as, during the past summer the Commissioner of Patents has been obliged to debar no less than three agencies from practicing in the Office for dishonesty, in receiving fees and not paying them into the Office, it is important to the public as well as to public men that the business should be directed into the hands of competent and honest agents.
Why would it not be well to provide for the protection of the public against such swindlers by a section in your Civil Service bill, or by a separate law, providing that no person shall be permitted to practice in any Department of the Government until examined by some competent board, and furnished with a certificate under seal. It is far more necessary than in the courts; for there the client almost always knows his counsel or attorney personally, while here, not one in a thousand ever see, or have any means of knowing anything about these self-styled agents.
I throw out the suggestion for what it is worth, and can assure you, that such a measure would be hailed with satisfaction by all honest and responsible agents.
Very truly yours,
finished box 43, started box 44
Charles M. Keller to Thomas A. Jenckes, 5 March 1872
Law Offices of Keller & Blake
Chas. M. Keller
Chas. F. Blake
No. 16 Murray St.
New York, March 5th, 1872
My dear Sir,
There is a case on argument now before Judge Woodruff which will take the better part if not the whole of this week. Peaslee cases could soon after. I am watching that progress to get a chance. The Judge will not set down any case for a special day. We will get a chance at the end of this week or early next week.
Chs. M. Keller
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