Patents are issued in the name of the United States, and under the seal of the Patent Office, to any person who has invented or discovered any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof, not known or used by others in this country before his invention or discovery thereof and not patented or described in any printed publication in this or any foreign country, before his invention or discovery thereof or more than two years prior to his application, and not in public use or on sale in the United States for more than two years prior to his application, unless the same is proved to have been abandoned; and by any person who, by his own industry, genius, efforts, and expense, has invented and produced any new and original design for a manufacture, bust, statue, alto-relievo, or bas-relief; any new ornamental and original design for an article of manufacture; the same not having been known nor used by others before his invention or production thereof, nor patented nor described in any pr tited publication, upon payment of the fees required by law and other due proceedings had.

Every patent contains a grant to the patentee, his heirs or assigns, for the term of seventeen years, except in the case of design patents, of the exclusive right to make, use and vend the invention or discovery throughout the United States and the territories referring to the specification for the particulars thereof.

If it appear that the inventor, at the time of making his application, believed himself to be the first inventor or discoverer, a patent will not be refused on account of the invention or discovery, or any part thereof, having been known or used in any foreign country before his invention or discovery thereof, if it had not been before patented or described in any printed publication.

Joint inventors are entitled to a joint patent; neither can claim one separately. Independent inventors of distinct and independent improvements in the same machine cannot obtain a joint patent for their separate inventions; nor does the fact that one furnishes the capital and another makes the invention entitle them to make application as joint inventors; but in such case they may become joint patentees.

No person otherwise entitled thereto will be debarred from receiving a patent for his invention or discovery, by reason of its having been first patented or caused to be patented by the inventor or his legal representatives or assigns in a foreign country, unless the application for said foreign patent was filed more than twelve months prior to the filing of the application in this country, in which case no patent shall be granted in this country.


Applications for a patent must be made in writing to the Commissioner of Patents. The applicant must also file in the Patent Office a written description of the invention or discovery, and of the manner and process of making, constructing, compounding, and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which it appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make, construct, compound, and use the same; and in case of a machine, he must explain the principle thereof, and the best mode in which he has contemplated applying that principle, so as to distinguish it from other inventions, and particularly point out and distinctly claim the part, improvement, or combination which he claims as his invention or discovery. The specification and claim must be signed by the inventor and attested by two witnesses.

When the nature of the case admits of drawings, the applicant must furnish a drawing of the required size, signed by the inventor or his attorney in fact, and attested by two witnesses. In all cases which admit of representation by model, the applicant, if required by the Patent Office, shall furnish a model of convenient size to exhibit advantageously the several parts of his invention or discovery.

The applicant shall make oath that he verily believes himself to be the original and first inventor or discoverer of the art, machine, manufacture, composition, or improvement for which he solicits a patent; that he does not know and does not believe that the same was ever before known or used, and shall state of what country he is a citizen and where he resides. In every original application the applicant must distinctly state under oath that the invention has not been patented to himself or to others with his knowledge or consent in this or any foreign country for more than two years prior to his application, or on an application for a patent filed in any foreign country by himself or his legal representatives or assigns more than twelve months prior to his application in this country. If any application for patent has been filed in any foreign country by the applicant in this country or by his legal representatives or assigns, prior to his application in this country, he shall state the country or countries in which such application has been filed, giving the date of such application, and shall also state that no application has been filed in any other country or countries than those mentioned; that to the best of his knowledge and belief the invention has not been in public use or on sale in the United States nor described in any printed publication or patent in this or any foreign country for more than two years prior to his application in this country. Such oath may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths, or, when the applicant resides in a foreign country, before any minister, charge d'affaires, consul, or commercial agent holding commission under the Government of the United States, or before any notary public of the foreign country in which the applicant may be, provided such notary is authorized by the laws of his country to administer oaths.

On the filing of such application and the payment of the fees required by law, if, on examination, it appears that the applicant is justly entitled to a patent under the law, and that the same is sufficiently useful and important, the commissioner will issue a patent therefor.

Every patent or any interest therein shall be assignable in law by an instrument in writing; and the patentee or his assigns or legal representatives may, in like manner, grant and convey an exclusive right under his patent to the whole or any specified part of the United States.


A reissue is granted to the original patentee, his legal representatives, or the assignees of the entire interest when, by reason of a defective or insufficient specification or by reason of the patentee claiming as his invention or discovery more than he had a right to claim as new, the original patent is inoperative or invalid, provided the error has arisen from inadvertence, accident, or mistake, and without any fraudulent or deceptive intention. Reissue applications must be made and the specifications sworn to by the inventors, if they be living.


A caveat, under the patent law, is a notice given to the office of the caveator's claim as inventor, in order to prevent the grant of a patent to another for the same alleged invention upon an application filed during the life of a caveat without notice to the caveator.

Any person who has made a new invention or discovery, and desires further time to mature the same, may, on payment of a fee of ten dollars, file in the Patent Office a caveat setting forth the object and the distinguishing characteristics of the invention, and praying protection of his right until he shall have matured his invention. Such caveat shall be filed in the confidential archives of the office and preserved in secrecy, and shall be operative for the term of one year from the filing thereof. The caveat may be renewed, on request in writing, by the payment of a second fee of ten dollars, and it will continue in force for one year from the payment of such second fee.

The caveat must comprise a specification, oath, and, when the nature of the case admits of it, a drawing, and, like the application, must be limited to a single invention or improvement.


Fees must be paid in advance, and are as follows: On filing each original application for a patent, $15. On issuing each original patent, $20. In design cases: For three years and six months, $10; for seven years, $15; for fourteen years, $30. On filing each caveat, $10. On every application for the reissue of a patent, $30. On filing each disclaimer, $10. For certified copies of patents and other papers in manuscript, ten cents per hundred words and twenty-five cents for the certificate, for certified copies of printed patents, eighty cents. For uncertified printed copies of specifications and drawings of patents, for single copies, or any number of unclassified copies, five cents each; for copies by subclasses, three cents each; by classes, two cents each, and for the entire set of patents issued, in one order, one cent each. For recording every assignment, agreement, power of attorney, or other paper, of three hundred words or under, $1; of over three hundred and under one thousand words, $2; of over one thousand words, $3. For copies of drawings, the reasonable cost of making them. The Patent Office is prepared to furnish positive photographic copies of any drawing, foreign or domestic, in the possession of the office, in sizes and at rates as follows: Large size, 10x15 inches, twenty-five cents; medium size, 7x11 inches, fifteen cents. Fee for examining and registering trade mark, $25, which includes certificate. Stamps cannot be accepted by the Patent Office in payment of fees. Stamps and stamped envelopes should not be sent to the office for replies to letters, as stamps are not required on mail matter emanating from the Patent Office.