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only extended for three years. The subsequent payments (a) remain unchanged in amount, but facilities are given to patentees to pay them by easy instalments if they prefer; and if by accident or mistake the prescribed fee be not paid within the prescribed time, the Comptroller-General of Patents is given power, on certain conditions, to enlarge the time for payment for a period not exceeding three months (b).
The Administration of the Patent Office is placed Administrain the hands of the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks, who is appointed by and acts under the direction of the Board of Trade, who are empowered from time to time to make such general rules (c) (subject to the approval of Parliament) and do such things as they may think expedient for carrying out the provisions of the Act (d).
Since the passing of the Patent Law Amendment Commis Act, 1852 (e) the business relating to patents, Patents. before divided among several Government offices,
(a) See Patents Rules, first schedule, page 215. (b) S. 17.
(c) The power has already been exercised by the repeal of the rules made under the authority of the commissioners, and the issuing of new rules for patents, designs, and trade marks, dated 21st December, 1883. See pp. 186, 241, 264. (d) S. 101.
(e) 15 & 16 Vict. c. 83.
has been transacted under the direction of the Commissioners of Patents, The commissioners, who now as a body cease to exist, were the Lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls, and the Law Jurisdiction Officers of the Crown. The jurisdiction of the Chancellor. Lord Chancellor to affix or refuse the seal, and to hear oppositions to the grant of letters patent, which was specially exempted from the Act constituting the Court of Appeal in Chancery (ƒ) and continued by the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875, is not preserved by this Act.
The ultimate appeal on all questions relating to applications, provisional and complete specifications, and oppositions to the grant of letters patent, is now to the law officers of the Crown (g), who receive increased judicial functions, being empowered to examine witnesses on oath, to order the payment of costs, and to make rules regulating the practice Examiners and procedure on appeals before them (h). A staff of examiners of patents has been appointed, whose duty is to ascertain whether the nature of the invention has been fairly described, and the application, specification, and drawings (if any) have
(f) 14 & 15 Vict. c. 13, s. 83.
(g) Her Majesty's Attorney-General and Solicitor-General for England.
(h) See s. 38. This power has been exercised by the issue of rules and regulations embodied in those published by the Board of Trade. See p. 211.
been prepared in the prescribed manner, and to report thereon to the comptroller (i). This investigation does not extend to novelty or the subject-matter of the invention. The most difficult of these duties will be to ascertain "whether the nature of the invention has been fairly described." If the examiners perform their functions strictly, these words must very shortly be the subject of judicial decision.
Patents will be granted to other persons jointly Joint appliwith an inventor, but at least one of the applicants must sign a declaration that he is the first and true inventor (j); also to the personal representative of an inventor who dies without making an application for a patent for the invention (k). In future Patent for a patent will be granted for one invention only; tion only. but, as more than one claim is allowed, the practice and rules can alone determine what claims are subsidiary, and what contain too great an amount of invention to be incorporated in the same patent. However, if the patent is once granted, no objection on this ground can be made to the validity of the patent in actions for revocation and infringement. By s. 36 it is enacted that a patentee may assign Assignhis patent for any place in or part of the United Kingdom or Isle of Man as effectually as if the patent were originally granted to extend to that
place or part only. What rights the legal decisions in interpretation of this section may allow to the assignee in one district to prevent the use of the patented articles bought in another district remains to be seen. This question was discussed under the old law, for the first time, in the case of Smith v. Buchanan, 26 S. J. 347.
In this case the plaintiff had granted to certain parties a license to manufacture and sell his patented invention within the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. These licensees had sold the patented machines to the defendants, who, in their turn, had sold them outside the licensed counties, namely, in Glasgow and elsewhere. The plaintiff had commenced an action for infringement in respect of these sales, and now moved for an interim injunction. The case which he sought to establish was that the restriction imposed by the limited license attached to the patented machines in whatever hands they might be; and he founded this proposition upon the maxim that a vendor cannot give his vendee a better title or a greater right than he himself possesses in the subjectmatter of the sale, and that in the case of a patent this maxim is absolutely unqualified, inasmuch as the doctrine of purchase for valuable consideration without notice cannot there be applied. However, Hall (V.-C.) refused the motion, with costs, upon the ground that a purchaser from a licensee, whether
special or general, acquires the patented articles for all purposes, and can exercise every right of ownership in respect of it.
The duration of the term of letters patent remains Term of unaltered (1).
British on expiry of
By s. 25 of the Patent Law Amendment Act, Lapse of 1852 (m), it was enacted that letters patent obtained foreign in the United Kingdom for patented foreign inventions were not to continue in force after the expiration of the foreign patent. The word "grant" in this section (quoted below) refers to the date of the letters patent, which is the date of application, and not the date of sealing (n). If the patent was French the English patent could not be held void until the annulment was pronounced by a French
(1) See s. 17.
(m) 15 & 16 Vict. c. 83, s. 25: "Where upon any application made after the passing of this Act letters patent are granted in the United Kingdom for and in respect of any invention first invented in any foreign country or by the subject of any foreign power or state, and a patent or like privilege for the monopoly or exclusive use or exercise of such invention in any foreign country is there obtained before the grant of such letters patent in the United Kingdom, all rights and privileges under such letters patent shall (notwithstanding any term in such letters patent limited) cease and be void immediately upon the expiration or other determination of the term during which the patent or like privilege obtained in such foreign country shall continue in force . . ." (Repealed.)
(n) Holste v. Robertson, 4 Ch. D. 9; 15 & 16 Vict. c. 83, s. 24. (Repealed.)