FEES OF FOREIGNERS. All foreigners pay large patent fees to our government in comparison with our own citizens. The citizens of Great Britain pay $500, and those of all other nations $300. The reason why such high fees weie charged to the citizens of Great Britain was " because that government charged such enormous patent fees to all applicants for patents." A great deal af meanness was displayed by those who made such a distinction in the patent lees charged to foreigners. We have been told by native ot Britain that he had an active share in getting such a clause insertednot a very democratic workbut one which takes con-liderable odium off the Americans, who were ictive in bringing about the reformed patent ode of 1836. When we consider that a patent for a machine is more valuable in England, if it is a good improvement, than in any other country, and when we consider that a patent for Belgium and all the foreign countries in Europe, except France, is of little consequence, the fact of high patent fees being charged in England to all applicants, should, it the enactors of our code had discriminated justly, placed all foreigners upon an equal footing. As the patent tees by the late reform in the British Patent Laws, have been greatly reduced in that country, we hope, as we have mentioned before, that the patent fees for natives of Britain will be reduced, from $500 to $300. England makes no distinction in her patent fees ; she charges her own citizens as much as ours'all are placed on an equality in respect to patent for improvements. There is another reform which we advocate, viz., a reduction of the fees retained by the Patent Office tor examining the application of a foreigner when his petition is rejected. For example, if an Englishman, Irishman, or Scot applies for a patent, and after examination at the Patent Office, it is found that something of the kind has been invented before, the petition is rejected, and by law the Patent Office retains one-third of the tees, $166,66 ; if he is a native of any other foreign country he is charged $66,66 less. Now it requires no more time nor talents to examine the applications of foreigners than those of our own citizens, yet only $10 is retained for our own inventors, while ten times ten dollars are retained for Frenchmen, amp;c, and about seventeen times as much for Englishmen. Now, is this just, is it honorable or republican-like ? It is not j we confer no favor upon these foreign rejected applicants, we grant them no privileges; ten dollars will pay all the expense of Patent Office trouble, and yet we charge them speckled high fees. It may be said, * these men should ascertain, before they make application, whether such an improvement has been or has not been patented in America. This is an impossibility in many cases, owing to the way business used to be conducted in the Patent Office. And owing to the fire in 1886, it is not possible, without much practice to obtain the desired information. The corp of Examiners in the Patent Office, were appointed for the purpose ot giving such information to applicants, arid it is unreasonable and wrong to charge immoderate fees when an application is rejected. Experienced patent agents, no doubt, are very competent judges of what has been patented, what is new and what is not, indeed some of them must possess information beyond that of some examiners in the Patent Office, and they can give inventors ve sound advice about whether their inventions are new or not, but then this does not mend the matter, while the law is wrong. No unjust statute should exist in our country, and we think this is one which has existed long enough and should be abolished. The fees for subjects of Great Britain should be reduced to $300, and the fees for the rejected petitions of all foreigners should be reduced to $30 or $50. This reform we advocate, because we believe it is a just and reasonable one. The Bill for retorming the Patent Laws is now before Congress; we hope these two reforms, and the returning of models to rejected applicants will be added to it. We hope our Senators will not be in too great a hurrj to pass the bill, but give it further consideration; there are some clauses ii it which should be stricken out, and those we have suggested inserted. Mr. Burke, while Commissioner of Patents, was an advocate for reducing the tees to foreign inventors, and the reasons given Jbx bdJ3X..Jbr-siissestiiifiL-Rucli_a_ reform of our patent laws, were sound and republican.
This article was originally published with the title "Reform of the Patent Laws" in Scientific American 8, 17, 134 (January 1853)