The annnal report of the Hon. C. E. Mitchell, Commissioner of Patents, to the Senate and House of Representatives, required by law to be presented during the month of January of each year, has just been duly filed for 1889. It is an able document, clear in statement and encouraging in the results set forth. The year 1889 shows a higher degree of prosperity than any preceding period. The number of new applications made during the year for patents, etc., was 40,575, being nearly 5,000 more than any previous year. The number of patents granted was 24,158. The cash receipts were 11.281,728, the expenses $1,052,955, leaving a surplus of $228,772, which was turned over to the Treasury and applied to the credit of the patent fund, which has now reached the handsome figure of $3,631,670. The Commissioner calls the attention of Congress to several important subjects on which immediate legislation is urgently needed. The enlargement of the Patent Office is indispensable. He says : " The present situation is most deplorable. Almost literally speaking, the Patent Office is crowded into a corner of the noble building which was paid for by its patrons and which bears its name. " I can add nothing to what has been said by my predecessors, except perhaps to entera little more into detail in setting forth the overcrowded condition of the office. The room occupied by Division XXVIII has nineteen by twenty-three feet of floor space. In it are ninedesks, occupied by nine men and women. In addition to the desks are book and file cases arranged against the wall and extending upon all sides of the room. In the room occupied by Di vison V the floor space is thirty-five by twenty feet in extent. In it are ten desks, occupied by ten persons. Book and file cases extend around the room on every side. These instances differ only in degree from nearly all the rooms devoted to the business of this bureau. '' The subject to which I am now directing attention is one in which the deepest interest is felt by inventors and by the very large portion of the American people who are directly or indirectly interested in inventions. There is a widespread feeling that the large excess of fees over expenses should be devoted to affording facilities for the conduct of the business. I urgently request that relief be afforded for the overcrowded condition of the Patent Office." In respect to the general work of the office, which for several years has been greatly delayed, Coin mis- oner Mitchell has succeeded in bringing it up nearly date, notwithstanding the increase of business. "This comparatively satisfactory condition of the rork has been brought about by almost heroic efforts Q the part of the examining corps, who take pride in le good name of the office, and who spare no labor ithin office hours or out of office hours to second the Bforts of the Commissioner in bringing up the work. lut the limit of possible attainment with the present )rce of employes seems to be practically reached.1' The Commissioner urgently recommends that the ork of preparing abridgments of patents may be reived and completed. " In the first place, it would be of the greatest value facilitating the labors of this office by lessening the 'ork of examiners, and, excepting as the number of pplications should greatly increase in the future, fould permit of a decrease in the number of the force. t would also be the means of preventing the granting f worthless patents through the failure to discover apt eferences--a failure which must result in a certain mall percentage of cases so long as examiners are de-irived of the most efficient means of conducting their uvestigations. It would enable the patrons of the fflce to prepare their cases intelligently, and by en-bling them to readily ascertain the state of the art iertaining to a supposed new invention would in avast lumber of cases cause the withholding of applications phich now take up the time of examiners to no useful lurpose. It would to a very great extent transfer the cork of examination from "the Patent Office to the fflces of attorneys, and thus afford great relief in the resent overburdened condition of the examining livisions. It would enable patentees and manufac-urers to definitely understand the extent of their ights as secured by patents, and by disseminating knowledge of what has been done in all the various .rts, would prevent inventors from traversing the jround occupied by predecessors in their noble pursuit. t would be remunerative to the government, because iuch a digest would meet with a ready sale among in-rentors and manufacturers, and the entire cost of its jreparation and publication would soon be reimbursed, nd, finally, it is indispensable if the United States would keep pace with other nations in whatever per-ains to the development of its patent system. " All the inventions patented in Great Britain are to je found in a summarized form in classified abridg-nents, the value of which cannot be overestimated.'' The. incongruity of that portion of our law relating o foreign patents and the hardships suffered by American inventors in consequence thereof are pre-lented forcibly and at considerable length. We are jbliged to abbreviate. " Section 4,887 of the Revised Statutes provides that svery patent granted for an invention that has been previously patented in a foreign country shall be so imited as to expire at the same time with the foreign patent, or, if there be more than one, at the same time with the one having the shortest term. " A law which obliges the Commissioner to place the seal of the United States Patent Office upon letters patent for American inventions which state that for- ign patents must be examined and foreign laws consulted in order to ascertain when the American patent will expire, should be banished from the statute books. Aside from its being un-American in its nature, it works the greatest hardship to American inventors. By reason of it the pecuniary value of the American patent is always greatly impaired and is often substantially destroyed. It is not an uncommon occurrence for negotiations for the sale of important patents, involving large sums of money, to fall through because of the uncertainty that surrounds the duration of the grant, in view of foreign patents first obtained for the same invention. Again, the law as it now stands operates in favor of foreign countries by inducing inventors to confer their inventions gratuitously upon foreign nations rather than run the risk of impairing their domestic patents by complicating them with patents secured abroad. Thus the law, which is believed to have been originally enacted for the purpose of putting a limit to the privileges conferred upon foreign patentees, has in its.operation become a standing menace to American inventors. I believe that all competent persons who have given attention to the subject agree that future patents for American inventions should be granted for the full term of seventeen years provided by statute, whether or not a patent has been previously obtained in a foreign country. I most earnestly recommend that, at least as to American inventions patented hereafter, section 4,887 of the Revised Statutes be modified so as to prevent a foreign patent previously obtained from affecting the duration of the American grant." In subsequent numbers we shall refer to other important recommendations offered by the Commissioner. The following eloquent tribute to the value of the patent laws and the labors of inventors forms the conclusion of the report : " The place of the Patent Office among governmental agencies is as unique as it is important. It is concerned neither with the collection nor th expenditure ii5 of the ordinary public revenues. Unobtrusive and on-sensational in its work and methods, it asks nothing of the Treasury excepting moneys which its patrons contribute, and nothing of Congress excepting measures to secure its highest efficiency. As it enters upon the second century of the system which it administers, the distrust which has existed to some extent of its functions has happily passed away. " The triumphs of American invention have attracted aniversal admiration, and the conspicuous demonstration of their importance and usefulness has turned'distrust to confidence. I verily believe that no law or legal system 'in any age or any land has ever wrought so much wealth, furnished so much labor for human hands, or bestowed so much material blessing in every way as the American patent system. If the first interest of humanity is employment, jn no respect does the patent system so convincingly vindicate itself as in its tendency to enlarge the scope of remanerated toil. For just as the Western Territories--now, for the most part, happily elevated to statehood--have by inviting immigration reduced the fierceness of competition in the ranks of the established industries, eo the new realms of industry that have been brought into being by American inventors have supplied millions of men with remunerative labor who would otherwise be competing for underpaid employment in the overstocked labor markets of the old-fashioned industries. " But the territories of American invention know no Pacific sea. Their farther bounds expand as their hither borders are occupied. Illimitable in extent and inexhaustible in resources, they will yield up uniinagi-ned treasures of invention in all the coming centuries, just as they have done in the hundred years of marvels whose recorded story, drawing toward its close, is at once the tribute and the glory of the American patent system. "Respectfully and yet urgently I invoke the good offices of Congress in behalf of justice to the Patent Office. : " Very respectfully, your obedient servant, "C. E. MITCHELL, Commissioner."