We have the pleasure to present, in this number of our journal, the report of a latc decision by the new Commissioner of Patents, which not only confirms our previous high estimate of his administrative qualifications, but foreshadows the inauguration of a line of future official action that cannot fail to be productive of the most important results. The decision in question was given in the case of D. D. Badger's appeal, on an application for a patent for an improvement in iron beams, and claimed as a " new article of manufacture." The application was twice rejected, and then carried up on appeal to the Commissioner, who referred it to a Board composed of Chief Examiners Baldwin and Dodge, with instructions to report back to him in the usual manner. Counsel for applicant (Munn & Co.) filed with the nppenl a special request that, in rendering its decision, the Office would define its views in regard to the consideration of claims of a character like that presented. The Board was unable to agree, and the members reported their respective opinions to the Commissioner, who thereupon gave the case a personal hearing. We annex his decision. He confirms the report of Examiner Dodge, and sets aside that of Examiner Baldwin. We should be glad to publish both the reports of the Board, but our limits, at present, forbid. The report of Examiner Dodge is very interesting. He takes the most broad and liberal grounds, and fortifies every position by quotations from the highest authorities. His arguments are unanswerable. We would here remark that much contrariety of opinion has, for a long time, existed among the examining officers at the Patent Office, not only as regards the proper wording of claims and titles, but also in regard to the ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vj degree of novelty that an invention mnst contain in order to render it patentable. Each Examiner has been permitted to follow his own notions in rendering decisions, and to constitute himself judge, jury and prosecuting attorney, in disposing of the petitioas of applicants. The result is that the decisions and practice of the Office have often been of a contradictory, and sometimes of a ludicrous character. We rejoice to believe that this mixed-up method of practice is about to be drawn to a close. In the accompanying decision, Commissioner Holt declares, in effect, that under his administration, the Patent Laws shall be lijerally conslrlled; that cvery new and useful improvcment shall be entitled to a patent; that simplicity shall not be a bar to the patent; that namcs are not things; that the applicant may patcnt his impro\-ement as a "New Artide of Manufacture," or give it any other term that he chooses; that it is sumcicnt if the specification describes an invention uniting the indis-pensiblc requisites of novelty aml utility; that the applicant shall not be embarrassed or impeded by thc demands of Examiners in reference to terms and words. We regard this decision of Commissioner Holt as one of the ablest documents that has ever emanated from the Patent Office. It is strong, dignified, liberal and bold. The constitutional aspect of the whole subject is examined and discussed with judicial clearness. The conclnding portion contains an eloquent tribute to inventors, which will be read by them, in all parts of the country, with thrilling interest, and with immense satisfaction. He addresses them as the benejactors oj their race; and says that it is the duty of the Patent Omce, instead of perplexing and discouraging, to take them kindly by the hand, and, if possible, strew their pathway with sunshine and with flowers ! Most cordially do we respond to these sentiments. Most heartily do we applaud the Commissioner for thc noble stand he has taken in behalf of inventors. In their name, and in the name of the whole country, we thank him for what he has already donc, and we urge him to go on, fearlessly, with the good work. COMMISSIONER HOLT's DECISION. U. S. Patent Office, Oct. 23, 1857. In the matter of Daniel B. Badger's application for a patent for an iron beam, to be used in the construction of bnildings, and which, as made in pursuance of the specification, is claimed to be " a new article of manufacture." This case having been twice rejected, and brought before me on appeal, was referred to a Board of Examiners, who differ widely in regard to the principal question involved, but conclude their report by deciding that in view of the reference giventhe application of Adrian Jamcs, rejected on the 28th day of May, 1850,a patent should not be allowed. Under these circumstances, concurring as I do in the determination arrived at, it is somewhat irregular on my part to discuss the principles commented upon in the Examiners' report. I am urged, however, to do so, both by the Board and by the applicant's counsel, with the hope oj establishing a more uniform rltle oj action than has heretojore prevailed in the Office in regard to this class oj inventions. I have looked, accordingly, into the authorities bearing upon the subject, and submit briefly the conclusions to which they have led me. It is objected that this beam could not be patented, because, as is insisted, it is not " a new article of manufacture," It is admitted that it is not an " art," nor a "machine," nor yet " a composition of matter," as that term is universally interpreted. If, then, it is not " a new manufacture," nor a new and useful improvement upon such, it is a nondescript, so far as patent law is concerned , . and whatever may be its merits on the score ; of novelty, utility and invention, it cannot be { ; patented, because it finds no place in the Sta-tutory Catalogue. This renders it necessary ij 5 78 to define, if practicable, with some degree of precision, the import of this term. The familiar etymology of the word " manufactUl'e " indicates that it originally implied something made by the hand of man ; but it has long since outgrown this primitive and narrow signification, and keeping pace with human progress, it has come at last to include alike the process of fabrication and every object upon which art or skill has been exercised, whereby a product has been fabricated, either by the hand of man or by the labor he directs. (Webster on Patents.) This broad, though sufficiently accurate definition would embrace "machines," which certainly, strictly speaking, are "manufacturcs,"the latter constituting a genus of which the former are but a species ; so far as relates to "machincs," thc statutc, thercfore, must be regarded as presenting, in fact, a double enumeration, which is interesting to .note, because manifesting the extreme solicitude of the Legislature to cover, with its . protcction, the whole field of useful invention. It is oftcn an embarrassing question whether a particular invention is " a new manufacture," or only an improvement upon a manufacture already subsisting and known, and it is not easy to lay down a rule which would, at all times, solve this perplexing problem. It may be safely held, however, that if the invention olily modifies a pre-existing mannfacture, and by that moditication merely improves, without se essentially changing its character and functions as to destroy its identity, it will be but an improvcmcnt, and should be so chimed. This question should be treated as of really but little practical importance. By our laws the specification is made part and parcel of the patent; and if the invention be therein correctly set forth, no misapplication of terms in the designation of the claim will vitiate the patent a fortiori; it should not be allowed to prcjudice the application. It should, at most, furni5h grounds for a suggestion on the part of the Office, whercby the error might be corrected. It is not assumed in this particular case, that more appropriate designation than that employed, could, ,vithin the range of the putent law, have been given to the invention. The position maintained is that the "beam " is not, in point of fact, " a new manufacture." There are on file the affidavits of three practical mechanics, who represent themsclvcs as well acquuinted with the varions kinds of iron beums used in the construction of buildings, and who, therefore, sustain to this issue the relation of experts. Aftcr comparing the beam of Badger with those which have preceded it, they declare that they regard it as " a new article of manufacture." Their jndgment, nncontradicted, is entitled to the greatest weight. Coryton (on Patents) holds this language : " The amount of difference from existing things requisite to constitute the r0sult of the improvement or discovery ' a new manufacture,' is, in every case, a question of fact to be referred to tlle particular branch of industry to which it is applied, and rcqniring an accurate acquaintance with the state of manufactures, rather than a knowledge of general jurisprudence for its determination." The objecting Examiner is understood to assert, in effect, thut this beam is in no sensc a manufacture, because not an article of merchandise ; and thut it is not patentable, for the reason that it is wanting in invention. In regard to the first feature of the objectionadmitting, for the sake of the argument, that a manufacture is necessurily vendible and merchantableI think the beam comes fully up to the requirements of the Examiner's definition. Like door and window frames, and other heavy articles of iron which now enter extensively into bnildings, it is made for sale, and is, in fact, bought and sold, and forms as much an article of merchandise, as legitimate an ohject of commerce as a puper of pins. I confess myself unable to perceive the strength ut of the position taken, that it is, at best, bnt " an improvement in architectural materials," ( and cannot be ranked as a manufacture, be-Ki cause lts utility can only be tested or realized it. when it is "nsed in some other and further connection" than that which it occupies in the workshop, or in other words, only when it has been placed in position in the building. The same thing, it seems to me, might be said of the plow, whose merits are only demonstratcd ufter it has buried its share in the field which it is destined to furrowand so of a countless multitude of similar inventions. The reference given being out of vicw, and the novelty and utility of this beam being conceded, I should, therefore, not huve hesitated to grant a patent for it as a new article of manufacture, or as a new and useful improvement thereon, as the facts might have warranted. Nor should I have uelayed my judgment in the matter until I could have instituted an elaborate and critical analysis of the process of labor, mental and physical, through which the inventor had probably passed, with a view of ascertaining the amount of invention which luts been called into exercise. I regard such a method of innstigation as delusive and unsatisfactory in its resnlts. We know that some of the most important and valuable discoveries which have marked the progress of the nrts and sciences have been the effect of accidcnt, or the suggestion of some stray but happy thought, which came, as it were, unbid-ded ; while, on the other hand, men have exhausted thcir intellects and their liyes in fashioning, combining and maturing the most abstruse processes and machinery, withont having contributed one dollar to the world's wealth, or one throb of enjoyment to its happiness. The law, essentially practical in its judgments, looks only to the fruit of the invention, and if it finds there the indispensable features of novelty and utility, it will presume a sufficient amount of invention to support a patcnt; nor is there any other lens through which the invention can be safely examined. All others, howeyer specious, do but obscure and darken the inquiry. Until within a few years the English Courts, regarding patents as establishing monopolies in derogation of common right, have shown them little favor, yet if any case has becn reported in that country, combining novelty and utility, but in which the patent has been declared invalid forwant of invention, it has escaped my researches. Such a case would be an extreme one, and should be most cautiously pronounced upon. (Webster's Reports of Letters Patent, 409, note E.) The Constitution declares that Congress shall have power to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited time to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. This embraces all inventors, and imposes no limibtion saye that the invention protected shall be useful. It is a fair if not a necessary infcrence that Congress has sought to carry out this provision of the fundamental law, by extending as ample and complete protection as was contemplated by the founders of the government. Indeed, in the comprehensive words employed in the statute, we have a sufficient evidcnce that the National Legislature has met this obligation in good faith, and if it has not been fulfilled it has not been from lack of zeal, but from lack of the knowledge of languages. If, however, the stringent construction not favored in certain qnarters be adopted in practice, it is to be feared that many inventors who have been summoned to this Office by the Constitution, wonld find its door shut in their face. lt must be assumed as the only safe and tenable ground which can be occupied in the administration of this Office, that e!'ery new and "seful invention is patentable, and may be appropriately ranked under one or other of the clauses designated in the statute. Names happily are not things; and if the specification describes an invention uniting the indispensable requisites of novelty and utility, it will not be considered as of the essence of the claim, that it shonld be referred eo nomine, to any one of the heads of the statutory enumeration. A failure to adopt some one of the designations presented in that enumeration, or the adoption of what the office might regard as an inappropriate designation, should not be allowed to embarrass the application, if the specification itself combines the characteristicis mentioned. It is due to the dignity of the subject and to the generous spirit of the Constitution, that the patent laws should be liberally construed, having ever in view the great end they were designed to subserve. They were enacted for the government of an office whose range of action is altogether above the barren field of mere technicalities. That office, in my judgment, would be forgetful of its mission, and disloyal to one of the highest interests of humanity, were it to permit itself tobe entangled in a mesh of mere words, or palsied by doubts, born of intricate metaphysical disquisitions. It has to do with the substance of things, and to deal with the earnest, ingenuous, practical intellect of the age, and it should be dealt with frankly, not perplexing and discouraging inventors, by subtle distinctions, but kindly taking them by the hand, as the benefactors of their race, and strewing, if possible, their pathway with sunshine and with flowers. As the reference given is regarded as an anticipation of this invention, the application must be rejected. J. Holt, Commissioner.