Patented Articles Must Be Marked

Articles manufactured and sold under a patent-must be so marked that the public shall have notice that the article is a patented one. This notice consists of the word "Patented." together with the date when the patent was issued or the Serial Number of the patent. Damages in an infringement suit cannot be recovered unless the defendant has received such notice that the article is patented. The term of a United States patent is 17 years. This term cannot be extended except by special Act of Congress. It is many years since a bill seeking an extension of the term of a patent has been passed by Congress.


If an application for a patent has been rejected, the applicant may appeal from the Primary Examiner to the Board of Examiners-in-Chief. He may further carry the appeal to the Commissioner of Patents, and in case he is not satisfied with the latter decision, he may carry the appeal finally to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia.


If two or more individuals shall have invented the same thing at or about the same time, interference proceedings may be instituted to determine which applicant is the original or first inventor. Interference proceedings are instituted between applicants whose applications are pending or between a pending application and a patent already issued, provided the latter patent has not been issued for more than two years prior to the filing of the conflicting application. The proceedings are conducted before the Examiner of Interferences. Appeal may be taken from the Examiner of Interferences to the Board of Examiners-in-Chief, and from the Board of Examiners-in-Chief to the Commissioner, and thence to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia. Not all the claims for a patent are necessarily involved, only such as cover the particular feature of the invention which is declared to be in interference. The unsuccessful applicant by eliminating the claims or claim in controversy may procure allowance of the other claims not objected to, and have the patent issued. In determining the question of priority of invention, witnesses are examined and the proceedings are conducted much in the same manner as in a suit at law. The first step in the proceeding consists in filing with the Commissioner a Preliminary Statement made under oath giving the date at which the invention was first conceived and reduced to some tangible form, such as the making of drawings, the construction of a model, or the disclosing of the invention to another. The object of the subsequent examination and cross-examination is to substantiate the date of invention as claimed by the applicants respectively, and to establish the priority of invention.

Patent Infringement

In case of an action for the infringement of a patent, the importance of the question of novelty appears from the special pleadings which the defendant may enter, which are as follows:

1. That for the purpose of deceiving the public the description and specification filed by the patentee in the Patent Office was made to contain less than the whole truth relative to his invention or discovery, or more than is necessary to produce the desired effect; or,

2. That he had surreptitiously or unjustly obtained the patent for that which was in fact invented by another, who was using reasonable diligence in adapting and perfecting the same; or,

3. That it had been patented or described in some printed publication prior to his supposed invention or discovery thereof; or,

4. That he was not the original and first inventor or discoverer of any material and substantial part of the thing patented; or,

5. That it has been in public use or on sale in this country for more than two years before his application for a patent, or had been abandoned to the public.

Damages for infringement of a patent may be recovered by action on the case in the name of the patentee or his assignee. The courts having jurisdiction over such cases have the power (1) to grant injunctions against the violation of any right secured by the patent; (2) to allow the recovery of damages sustained by the complainant through such infringement. In such a case the defendant is compelled to furnish an accounting showing the amount of the articles manufactured and sold and the profits derived from such sale.

Design Patents

Design patents are issued for any new or original design, whether it be a work of art, statue, bas-relief, design for prints or fabrics, or for any new design or shape or ornament in any article of manufacture. The scope of the design patent was formerly very broad, but recent decisions and enactments have greatly restricted its availability and a design patent cannot now be obtained unless it possesses some inherent artistic quality. Mere utility is not sufficient to entitle a new design to letters patent. The terms of design patents are 3 1-2, 7 or 14 years.


Any one who has made a new invention or discovery, which is not yet completed or perfected, may file in the Patent Office a caveat de-scribing his invention, said caveat serving as notice to the Patent Office that the caveator is in possession of a certain invention partly developed, for which later he proposes to file an application for a patent. The caveat is filed by the Commission in the secret archives of the Patent Office, and is operative for a term of one year. The term may be prolonged from year to year by the payment of a small fee. The caveat should not be confounded with a patent, for it gives the inventor no real protection or monopoly. It simply entitles him to notice in case another inventor files an application for the same invention. In this event the caveator is entitled to three months' grace within which to file his patent application, whereupon an interference will be declared between the two inventions.


A patent or any interest therein may be sold or assigned like any other piece of property. An inventor may sell or assign his interest or a part interest in his invention, either before the application is filed or while the application is still pending. Under these circumstances the patent may be issued to the assignee or to the inventor and assignee jointly. The patent, if already issued, may be assigned by the owner whether he be the inventor or assignee. The conveyance is effected by an instrument in writing stating the conditions under which the patent is assigned, and the assignment should be recorded in the Patent Office. - Enc. Americana.