On page 141 we brought to the notice of our readers a very singular case of the application for the extension of a patent, and the grant ol a new patent, for Harvesting Machines by Moore & Hascall. We pointed out the unparliamentary nature of the proceedings of the Senate, for acting upon the application for the new patent, and had hoped that when the Senate came to view the matter calmly, that the petitioners application fora patent for, new improvements would have been dismissed ; but this has not been done. On the 24th ult. the same Bill for relief to Moore & Hascall, to grant them an extension of their old patent, which expired two years ago, and which has been two years in public use, likewise to embrace in the Bill new improvements never patented before, was discussed in the Senate again. Mr. Walker, as we said before, has given this subject particular attention, and the information which he presented before the Senate in the discussion, will be peculiarly interesting to a great number of our readers. We will endeavor to present a brief abstract of it :— This Bill does not merely provide for a renewal of the old patent for 14 years from 1850, for cutting and cleaning grain, invented by Moore & Hascall, and embraced in their drawings and model, but improvements made by them in perfecting their machine, since the date of their original patent. All this is proposed to be granted without even the solemnity of an oath, that these persons have invented the said improvements—a thing that is required of every inventor by our patent laws, when he makes application for a patent. It is not the extension ot a patent, but the grant of a new patent, for what has long since been vested in the public. Some things claimed by these inventors, have long since been patented by others. Patents for some things claimed by these inventors have even expired, and these men want to get a patent for inventions which were patented more than 14 years ago by other inventors, and which are now public property. The friends of this Bill claim it as a mere extension of the original patent. Other persons, when they claim a patent, have to go to the Patent Office and submittheir claims, model, drawings, and specifications, to be examined by proper officers, and if they conflict with other older patents, the issue of priority is against them. But here we are asked to steer clear of the Patent Office, to avoid the laws which regulate the issue of patents, and blindly, by legislation, to give an exclusive right to these gentlemen to do what does not appear in their drawings or specification, and also to give them the benefit of every thing which they mty be able to show, by any kind of testimony, to have invented for seventeen years back, down to the present day. This Bill sweeps away the rights ot McCormick, Hussey, and Casey, and every other person who has made improvements, and improved machinery in this respect. It sweeps from the books ot the Patent Office every vestige of right which those parties have ; and this, too, by legislative adjudication contrary to any precedent that can be shown, or in fact that ever did exist. I have begged and prayed Mr. Moore to take a simple extension ot his patent but he will be contented with nothing short of having, by a legislative adjudication, these exclusive rights and privileges granted to him. I appeal to the Senate not to step forward in this manner and take out of the hands of the Judiciary and out of the hands of the Patent Office this important question, and place it in the hands ot a company, to constitute a monopoly, against which there can be no hope of resistance. I move to re-commit this Bill to the Committee of Patents, to. make it a simple Bill, extending only the patent of these gentlemen. This motion was agreed to by a vote of 22 ayes, 18 noes. We are surprised that a single Senator voted in the negative after such a speech, and the present ition of the case in such clear and forcible language. The Committee on Patents, in the first place, should have dismissed the application as being a subject respecting which they could not justly legislate.
This article was originally published with the title "Moore & Hascall's Patent" in Scientific American 8, 27, 214 (March 1853)