On the 3rd of last month, (Nov.) one hundred and fifty gentlemen interested in patents sat down to a sumptuous dinner in Birmingham, to celebrate the British Patent LawAmendment Act. Muntz, the inventor of the metal which bears his name was there, so was Prosser, another eminent inventor, and Hindmarch and Webster, the two able counsellors and authors of works on patents were among the number. Some fine speeches were made, and inventors were congratulated on the boon they had obtained. Mr. Prosser said he was not yet satisfied, he looked forward to the time when patents would be obtained for half a crown, and specifications for one penny, (he forgot that the copyist needs pay as, well as the inven tor). Mr. Hindinarch spoke sensibly; he advocated the enrollment of the complete specification on receiving the patent. Mr. Webster contended that a mere outline description of an invention was enough when the patent was granted, always allowing six months for enrollment. He considered that with a few modifications the patent law was a good one, and he hoped, for the sake of inventors, that it would be long before Mr. Prosser's hopes were realized. He considered that low fees would make patents less valuable in England ; this statement was allowed to be true, and met with a general response. He made a fierce onslaught on the opposition which was maniiested against the bill by some members in the, House of Commons, and completely demolished the trashy arguments (like those advanced in the New York Daily Times,) against patents. “ The foolish idea,” he said, “ had got into the head of some men that patents were bad things, this was an idea which should be got rid of by every man who entertained it."
This article was originally published with the title "Dinner to Inventors in England" in Scientific American 8, 12, 93 (December 1852)