Our readers have been made aware that a movement has been for some time on foot in England to repeal the patent laws of that country. As might have been expected a lively discussion has taken place, and Mr. Macfie and Sir Roundell Palmer, the principal champions in Parliament of abolition, have received some rough handling, both in parliamentary debate and from the press. We learn from the Scientific Re-riew that a conference of workingmen was held on Saturday, the 24th of July, at Shaftesbury Hall, Aldersgate street, London, under the auspices of Sir Roundell Palmer, M.P., Mr. Macfie, M.P., and a few other opponents of patent property, to consider the desirability of abolishing the patent laws. Mr. R. Marsden Latham, of the Inventors' Institute, together with a deputation from the Delegates Invention-right Committee, a body composed of delegates from the Working-men's Technical Education Committee, the Workmen's International Exhibition Committee; the Foremen Engineers' Association ; the Workingmen's Club and Institute Union; the Public Museums and Free Libraries Association, and othe workingmen's organizations, attended to watch proceedingg and if necessary to take part in the debate. Sir Roundell Palmer, M.P., presided, and in the course of { long address, which though attentively listened to, provokec occasional expressions of dissent, said that the opinion he hac formerly held in regard to the patent laws had materially changed, and he had now come to the conclusion that thej did more harm than good, and therefore it would be bette: for the people if they were abolished. (Loud cries of " No ") Some men might neglect their business in the hope that i windfall might fall to them in the shape of some invention but it was doubtful if one man in twenty drew a prize ii the inventors' lottery. In many cases the most useful inven tions got into the possession of employers and of capitalists The legitimate reward of poor inventors would, probably, ir the event of the abolition of the patent laws, fall to then much in same way as it did now. There was no analogy be tween the copyright in a book and the right to a mechanical invention. No two men could overwrite the same two books therefore no author could ever stand in the way of another Ninety-nine patents when useful stood in the way of the peo pie. (Cries of " No" and " Impossible.") They were monopolies—(cries of " No," and a voice : Not more so than othei descriptions of property")—and a patent was a monopoly given to one man for fourteen years, who had discovered something before any one else, but everyone was in search oJ the same thing. A stop was put to their exertions, as they could not proceed without paying a royalty to the man whc had patented it. He considered that a person who had found out a new invention which might benefit mankind, had nc right to block up the way for fourteen years by a monopoly which was called a patent. (" Oh!") Patents stood in the way of the improvement of the people in a far greatei measure than they benefited the invent Dr. (Expressions oi dissent). Mr. J. W. Richardson remarked that the patent laws drove many men out of the country to America, where inventions were appreciated. (A voice: "America has better patent laws, and grants three times as many patents as are granted here." Cheers). He suggested that Greenwich Hospital should be converted into a museum of patents. Greenwich was near to London, and was a better site than South Kensington. He had received a very courteous letter from Mr. Gladstone in reply to an application for converting the hospital into a national patent museum, in which the right Hon, gentleman stated that the subject should have his best consideration. There was a national patent museum in America, which had been productive of great good, and he thought that if a national mechanical and designers' co-operative institution, to assist inventors, could be established in England, it would be productive of much benefit to the community. Mr. J. R. Taylor, of Gray's Inn, speaking of the cost of obtaining and defending patents, concluded that it was almost an evil for a man to be an inventor and obtain a patent. (A voice: " Then cheapen patents and simplify the law.") He considered that patents for new inventions limited the national wealth. ("Oh!") Mr. Clarke denounced the monopoly enjoyed by the Post-office and desired by the Government in the case of the telegraphs. This, he thought was a still greater evil than the so-called monopoly which the patent laws conferred. Mr. Thomas Paterson said that what was wanted by the workingmen inventors of this country was a real security for their inventions—(hear, hear)—and he thought that they were as much entitled to a property in the results of theii brain labor and expenditure of time and money in perfecting and elaborating new inventions as authors were to copyright in their books. (Loud cheers). He for one could not accept the finely-drawn sophisticated distinction between copyright and invention-right which Sir R. Palmer, with so mucl pains and ability, had endeavored to develop in his opening address—(loud cheers)—and he was satisfied that the good sense of the workingmen of England would prevail, and could not be imposed on by such hair-splitting arguments as had been addressed to them by the worthy chairman. (Hear, hear). He contended that the patent law system was the best practical means of remunerating inventors yet devised—(cheers)— that without encouragement and remuneration inventors would never incur the cost and labor of devising new inventions—(cheers)—that the public introduction of new inventions could only be accomplished in a large majority of cases at great expense—(hear, hear)—and that manufacturers and capitalists would not embark money in publicly introducing new inventions, unless some inducement, such as the patent laws afforded, were accorded to them. (Loud cheers). Tc abolish all protection to invention would be to hand over all the profits of new inventions to the great capitalists, whc would come in and undersell the inventor, which they coulc then easily do. Patents should be granted free from charge and a tax might be imposed upon the profits of the patentee article. He was one of the honorary secretaries of the Workmen's International Exhibition Committee, and they founc that it was almost impossible to get skilled artisans to send new inventionsfor exhibition, unless some special securit was guaranteed to them that their inventions would be freec from piracy. (Hear, hear). He had attended meetings o: workingmen at the great centers of commerce, and in al parts of the country, and a general feeling prevailed amon them, that the patent laws should not be abolished, but sim plified and brought within the reach of all. (Loud cheers] To abolish the patent laws would be to plant the seeds o England's decline—(hear, hear)—and he could assure thos( of our legislators, who, seeking to obtain popularity, migh truckle in favor of such a measure, that, among the working 155 classes at least, they should enjoy a popularity thy ijtle dreamt of. (Loud and continued cheering). Mr. Macfie, M.P., touched upon the history of our patei laws, and the condition which always in the olden time attached to patents, that they should not make the article patented dearer to the public—a condition which had long been lost sight of. (A voice : " Patents make things cheaper."— Cheers.) Switzerland had no patent laws, and Germany and Holland had declared against them ; it would therefore be impossible long to continue them in this country. He denied that the inventor had any exclusive right in his invention—(" Oil, oh !")—but the inventor, whose invention was of Ufitional importance, ought to be paid out of the public funds, antl ho thought it possible to devise a scheme of rewards that sliould bo satisfactory to all parties. (Laughter). Mr. J. B. Galloway, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was requested by tho secretary to move the first resolution. As put into his hands this resolution was to the effect that the patent laws were " a hindrance to genius, science, and progress, and the progress of the whole civilized world, in however simple a form they may appear but he said that after the speeches ho had heard he could not agree with this, and he would substitute the following : " That the meeting having heard the statements for and against protection for inventions by the existing patent laws, is ot opinion that protection is absolutely necessary as a right, by which inventors may be secured a true legitimate right in their inventions," and to th's he would add the second part of the resolution handed to him, resolving to assist in the formation of the proposed Cooperative National Mechanical Inventors and Designers' Progressive Institution, to forward genius, etc., and to obtain for the poor inventors of England the reward for their in- von tion s. This was seconded by Mr. G. F. Savage, who, in a powerful, close-reasoned speech, demolished the arguments advanced by Mr. Macfie. He mentioned several cases in which patents granted in this country had been refused in foreign countries, tho result of which was that in those countries where no patent had been granted no manufacturer had thought it worth his while to make the articles. (Hear, hear). Dr. Normandy, the inventor of the well-known apparatus now in general usf3 for converting salt water into aerated fresh water, patented his invention in this country, and then applied for a patent in Prussia, but the Prussian Government, in their usual style, refused to grant him a patent, and the result was that when the Prussian Government needed a supply of the machines, they found there was no one in that country who had engaged in their manufacture, and consequently that Government had to send to this country to obtain them from the patentee. He also stated that where no patent laws existed inventors invariably left the country and took their inventions to the best market. This was the case with Mr. C. W. Siemens, F.R.S., a native of Prussia, who left that country and came to reside in England, because practically no encouragement was accorded to inventors in Prussia. Mr. Siemen's regenerative furnaces rnd improvements in telegraphy had augmented our national wealth to the extent of several millions of pounds sterling, all of which was lost to Prussia through having practically no patent laws. As re garded Switzerland, about which so much had been said by Mr. Macfie, he was not aware that the Swiss people had invented anything better than the alpenstock. (Laughter). He believed there were no inventors in Switzerland, and he was sure that none of our manufacturers had occasion to fear competition from that quarter. It was notorious that Mr. Nasmyth, working under a patent, had supplied steam hammers cheaper and batter than any manufacturer in the world, and it could be proved from numerous facts that instruments and machines constructed by persons not employed under a patent, were less cheap and less perfect than those that were. (Loud cheers). ' The resolution having been put from the chair, was carried by an immense majority, amid loud cheers, only two hands— those of Mr. Macfie, M.P., and Mr. Clarke—being held up against it. The following resolution was then proposed by Mr. Dunlop, seconded by Mr. Paterson, and carried by the same majority, amid tremendous cheering: " That an amended patent law wliich would give efficient protection to inventors at a low i :ost would be of the greatest value to this country, and en- g ible it to maintain its supremacy in the arts." Previously to the passing of the second resolution, Mr. Siaclie made an excited but unsuccessful appeal for an ad- ournment of the meeting, and assured the audience that he ,vas most anxious to promote the interests of workingmen by a lis action in the matter. (This statement was received with houts of derisive laughter from all parts of the room).