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TO

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

LORD ALVERSTONE, LL.D., G.C.M.G.

LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF ENGLAND

THIS WORK IS

BY HIS LORDSHIP'S KIND PERMISSION

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

PREFACE.

ANY work on the subject of Patents for Inventions must of necessity be a law book. This work has been written for, and from the point of view of, inventors. It is hoped nevertheless that the full statement of Principles with references to the authorities and the Abstracts of Cases will render it useful to practising lawyers.

It has been ascertained by an official inquiry that of the Patents for Inventions granted in England no fewer than 42 per cent., that is, about 5780 per annum, are invalid on the ground of having been already patented in this country. An examination of the results of litigation shows that, of such patents as are commercially worth infringing, no less than 51 per cent. are invalid. The invalidity of these patents is in many cases not discovered till after the lapse of years ; but, even assuming that no invalid patent is renewed, sums amounting to £23,120 per annum are paid for patents which give no legal protection to the patentees. This state of affairs brings discredit upon all British patents, and diminishes the market value even of those which are valid.

Although the new procedure shortly to be brought into operation will prevent the grant of a large proportion of bad patents, many will still exist, as it deals only with one cause of invalidity.

This work has been undertaken to enable the inventor to confine his claims to what can be supported, and to avoid errors in drawing his specification. Under the new procedure there will arise questions of alleged anticipations, which hitherto have only been brought to the notice of the inventor during the progress

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of litigation; the inventor will therefore have to consider such questions in future before the grant is made. The work accordingly deals with the subject up to the grant of the patent and the amendment of specifications. Although the action for infringement is not included, yet it will be found that this work bears fully upon it.

The First Part consists of the Principles and Rules affecting the Grant and Validity of Patents, and the practice respecting the Amendment of Specifications, both before the Comptroller-General and Law Officers of the Crown ; the Second, of Abstracts of Cases illustrating the applications of the principles; and the Third, of the Statutes and Rules.

One method of ascertaining the general rules of law is to seek in each case the underlying principle on which it was decided. Owing to the technical nature of the subjects of litigation, the mistake has sometimes been made of taking a passage of general phraseology out of connection with the facts of the particular case. In the present instance, all the reported cases in which the validity of patents came in question have been examined first the facts, and then the effect of each case on subsequent decisions. From a comparison of the results of these investigations the First Part has been compiled. Of these cases a large number of abstracts has been given by way of illustrations in the Second Part; the reader's attention being called more to what the Courts have done than to what individual judges have said. In all the abstracts the facts of each case have been set out as shortly and clearly as possible, the object being to give the reader a guide as to the application of the legal rules in practice. In many cases recourse has been had to original documents and exhibits the sources of which have been indicated.

In addition to the usual reports of the older cases, I am indebted to the Patent Office publications-Specifications and Reportsfor a large amount of the material used; and to the ComptrollerGeneral and members of his staff for their assistance in certain

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