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Reprints are given of all the Acts of Parliament which have any direct bearing on the subject of this work ; as well as of the Rules and Forms issued by the Board of Trade under the authority of the Acts, of the Rules framed by the Law Officers in regard to proceedings before them, and of the Rules of the Privy Council with respect to applications for the extensions of Patents.
Great additions to and alterations in the Patent Laws of Foreign States and British Colonies have been made of recent years. The Appendix contains summaries of the whole of these laws to date, revised by professional correspondents.
The Appendix also contains a reprint of the International Convention and Protocol relating to arrangements for the mutual protection of industrial property including Patents. To this Convention Great Britain gave her adhesion, and a chapter has therefore been devoted to the subject in the body of the treatise.
A copy of the Rules lately issued by the Board of Trade in relation to applications for Patents under this Convention will also be found in the Appendix.
The copious Index will be found of material assistance by those readers who are in search of any particular topic.
The following summary of the alterations effected by the recent Acts of Parliament may be given here, memoriæ causâ :
The Act of 1883 abolished the Commissioners of Patents, who were replaced by the Board of Trade as the governing body of the Patent Office. The Comptroller-General is the chief officer of the Board, and upon him devolves the charge of managing the business and superintending the work of the office. The Board was authorised to make rules, having the same effect as if forming part of the Act, for regulating
the conduct of Patent business; and it has accordingly promulgated a long series of rules for that purpose accompanied by forms.
The chief alterations in the procedure were :-1. Noninventors may join with inventors in applying for a Patent. 2. The applications and specifications are referred to official examiners, who report whether the documents are in proper form ; if they are not in proper form, the Comptroller may reject them or require them to be amended before acceptance, subject to appeal to a Law Officer. 3. Oppositions to the grant of Patents are decided by the Comptroller, subject to appeal to a Law Officer. 4. The steps necessary to be taken for obtaining a Patent are fewer. 5. Applications and other documents may be sent to the Patent Office through the post-office. 6. Patents are sealed by the Comptroller with the seal of the Patent Office. 7. The Government fees are reduced from 251. for a three years' Patent to 41. for a four years' Patent, and the remaining fees of 501. and 1001. are payable in small annual sums. 8. Applications for leave to amend specifications are decided in the first instance by the Comptroller and on appeal by a Law Officer. 9. A new mode of obtaining the repeal of invalid Patents is substituted for the old proceeding of scire facias.
Whilst the procedure underwent great alterations, the substantive law was but little touched. The old decisions of the Courts regarding the subject matter of patentable inventions; the incidents of utility and novelty which every patentable invention must possess; the contents of specifications and the infringement of Patents still remain applicable to Patents issued under the late Act. The duration of a Patent is the same as before the Act, and its extent is practically the same, being only smaller by the omission of the Channel Islands. The principal changes to be noticed are:-1. The Board of Trade was empowered to order patentees to grant licences if they make default in granting them on reasonable terms. 2. The right of the Crown to use patented inventions without making compensation was abolished. 3. A Patent may be assigned for any place in or part of the United Kingdom. 4. A British Patent no longer comes to an end at the expiration of any earlier foreign Patent for the same invention.
The three supplementary Acts have made a few alterations in the details of procedure, and cleared away some doubts as to the meaning of certain provisions in the master act. And by the latest of those Acts a Register of Patent Agents has been established, which has been committed to the charge of the Institute of Patent Agents.
To recapitulate in brief the changes effected by recent legislation : The provisions of many earlier statutes were consolidated and amended ; several features hitherto unknown in our system were introduced; the procedure was simplified; the fees payable to Government on applications for Patents were reduced, and greater facilities for the payment of the subsequent fees were afforded.
It was hoped that by these changes the inventive talent of the nation would be stimulated into more vigorous action, and that hope has not been disappointed, as a glance at the statistics furnished by the Comptroller in his reports will clearly prove. The average annual number of Patents sealed in the four years prior and in the four years subsequent to the coming into operation of the Act of 1883 were 3,928 and 9,314 respectively. The annual number of applications for Patents during the first four years of the new system was on the average 17,108, but no fewer than 7,792 of them, that is, about 45 per cent., were annually abandoned or otherwise came to naught. The number of applications increases at the rate of about a thousand a year.
47 LINCOLN's Inx FIELDS, LONDON :