It is with no ordinary satisfaction that we appropriate two pages of this number to the publication of the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents. To attempt to criticise this admirable document—so frank, so manly, and so outspoken in the support of the high claims of inventors—would be a work of supererogation. In our judgment, it is above all carping criticism, and at once places the Commissioner in the position of a champion of those rights which he is called upon to foster and encourage. We republish a single quotation for the purpose of calling especial attention to the just conception which he entertains as to the manner in which the duties of the Patent Office should be administered. In comparing our system with that which prevails in European States, he says : "It eschews that stern, unsympathizing, and distrusting temper which would receive the inventor as a stranger be-' neath the roof of this magnificent edifice, which has been reared at once as a monument to his genius and as a depository of the trophies of his labors. That better policy, which adopts the happy medium between two equally pernicious extremes, which, while welcoming the inventor as a friend and patron, in that frank and free conference with him enjoined by law, kindly and anxiously sifts from his invention its minutest patentable features, is a policy essentially American in its origin and aims, and must be inflexibly maintained in the administration of this Office, so long as it remains faithful to the high mission with which it has been charged." Compare this spirit and language with the repulsive, miserable and forbidding system which had possessed the Office previous to the appointment of Judge Mason, and we shall be able to account for the upward spring which has been given to the ingenuity of our countrymen. The murky atmosphere which prevailed in the Patent Office when Judge Mason entered upon its duties was enough to stifle the generous impulses of any ordinary man who had not the nerve and practical ability to apply some judicious system of ventilation. He succeeded, and before he left the Office-regretted by all—most of the rough corners were knocked off, and the inventor is now received beneath the roof of the Patent Office as a friend and patron in frank and free conference. This system has been most happily extended by Commissioner Holt, and yet in spite of his endeavors to render the Patent Office the friend instead of the enemy of the inventor, he has met with a sullen, mulish opposition from certain quarters where he had a right to expect encouragement and support. His policy has been scouted, and efforts are working to subvert it, by an under current of opposition too cowardly to show its hand in fair and open warfare. Instead of a system of mutual conferences, designed to carry out the wisest and best measures to encourage the progress of invention—and which should prevail in the Patent Office—would-be-wise men are planning a breakwater to check its uninterrupted flow, and are endeavoring to hedge it in by the old system of mismanagement and illiberality which has so nearly met its death. In the exercise of that sound discretion which rests in him, Commissioner Holt has already commenced the removal of such subordinates in the Office as are known openly to oppose his comprehensive policy. In this course he will be sustained by an enlightened public judgment ; and we hope it will be carried on until the Office is thoroughly purged of this refractory element, and the Commissioner's policy fully vindicated. We cannot now spare the space necessary to i the full discussion of this subject, but we in- tend soon to refer to it again, and will then endeavor to show from what sources the opposition springs. It has only two heads, but the sooner they are lopped off, the better. We now say, unequivocally and unqualifiedly, that, in our intercourse with inventors and the public in respect to patents—and we venture to assert that it is more extensive than that of any other establishment, save the Patent Office itself—not one word or syllable has ever been written or uttered in our hearing, condemnatory of the liberal spirit which Commissioner Holt is endeavoring to establish. We therefore know that he is right ; and we urge him, by every consideration of duty and policy, to go forward I We solicit a careful examination of this admirable report, believing that its spirit and language will give general satisfaction.
This article was originally published with the title "Remarks on Commissioner Holt's First Annual Report"