Page images


This handbook, which in the present edition has been completely revised, is not written with the object of enabling every man to be his own Patent Agent, for it is simply impossible for any ordinary individual to become a good Patent Agent without years of training in a large Patent Office, and without having special adaptability to the work. Its aim is to act as a useful guide to patentees, manufacturers, and investors in patents. It is also written with a view of answering the multitudinous inquiries as to cost and law of patenting which the author's firm daily receives in the course of its business- -a business which for many years past has comprised incomparably the largest Provincial Patent Agency in the British Isles, and, with possibly one exception, the largest International one also. As in former editions, the fees for procuring Patents at home and abroad are inserted. These are only approximate, being the




average charges usually made in the profession, and may be relied upon

as fair rates for Patents of ordinary type. They are also substantially those charged at the British and Foreign Patent Offices, 6, Lord Street, Liverpool; and 322, High Holborn, W.C., London.

Besides the numerous alterations entailed by the passing of new laws in the various countries, considerable additional matter has been inserted in this edition, and the larger chapters in the foreign section have been arranged with index headings for convenience of reference.

That the book may be worthy of the kind favour which the previous editions so amply received, and be a genuine assistance to inventors, manufacturers, and patent investors generally, is the earnest wish of the Author.

LIVERPOOL, December, 1904.





(Population, 42,000,000.)

There are four species of industrial protection -
1. Patents for invention for fourteen years.
2. Registration of designs for five years.
3. Registration of trade marks for fourteen years,

renewable again and again, for fourteen years,

and “ Patent Medicines." 4. Copyright of books and plays, works of art,

musical productions, and photographs.

PATENTS OF INVENTION. A Patent, or exclusive privilege, to an inventor for a limited period, is, in reality, a contract between the Crown, on behalf of the nation at large, and the inventor. The latter gives to the public what it did not possess before—the full details of a new invention ; the Crown, in return, gives the inventor the exclusive right, subject to certain conditions, of working that invention for a limited period, at the end of which time the full benefit of the discovery passes to the public.

WHO CAN PATENT. Any person or persons, native or foreign, adult or minor, may obtain a patent, provided that he or they or one of them be the true and first inventor or inventors or importer or importers.

The executor or administrator (by appointment of a British Court) of a deceased inventor applying for protection for said deceased's invention within six months after the death of the inventor, can obtain a patent for the said invention. A pending application of the deceased inventor can be granted to his executor or administrator within one year of the said inventor's death.

A patent may also be applied for by one or more inventors, conjointly with applicants who are not inventors, and in this way a capitalist or other person assisting the inventor, or purchasing an interest in it, before the application-or even a body corporate, such as a limited company-can secure an interest in it. As a rule it is undesirable to make a body corporate one of the applicants, as it is by no means certain that in such case every member of the said body has not an independent right to use the invention If, however, a patent be assigned or licensed to a body corporate, the individual members thereof have no separate right.

Now, the question arises, What does the word "inventor” mean? In the time of James I., when the Statute of Monopolies was passed, the generally accepted meaning of the word inventor was the man who first becomes possessed of an invention in the realm, either by discovering it himself or by importing the discovery of another; and most of the earlier patents were for imported inventions. The word is derived primarily, as is well known, from the Latin in venire, to come in, and the courts, ever since the time of James I., have constructed the word "inventor to mean the individual in the realın to whom the invention has first come, whether by importation or discovery. Now, the Act of 1883 expressly accepts the Act of James Ii, as the authority for what is an invention in these words :-

“ Invention” means ' any manner of new manufacture the subject of letters patent and grant of privilege within section six of the Statute of Monopolies (that is, the Act of the twenty-first year of the reign of King James I., chapter three, intituled An Act concerning monopolies and dispensations with penal laws and the forfeiture thereof'), and includes an alleged invention.”

The object of "harking back" to this old Act, the real patent law of this country, was to enable the almost innumerable decisions of judges on the meaning and application of this Act, and on what is a new and useful invention, to be still available as precedents, the Acts of 1883 and 1902 being not new patent laws, but more properly Acts to regulate the granting of patents.

Where, therefore, the inventor is resident abroad, it is still somewhat doubtful whether he be by the Statute of Monopolies qualified to obtain a valid patent. In old times it was held unconstitutional for the king to grant a monopoly to a foreigner resident abroad. The Statute of Monopolies made all mono. polies illegal except those granted to the true and first inventor thereof for a new invention in the realm which “others(that is, others in the United Kingdom) did not at the time of grant use. Monopolies to foreigners abroad were already considered illegal. Hence for many years all foreign inventions were patented in this country as communications to Patent Agents in the country, who thus became the true and first “inventors or importers as trustees for the real owners and discoverers. Latterly, inventors


« PreviousContinue »