As announced in our last number, Commissioner Holt has appointed a regular Board of Appeals, consisting of three Chief-examiners, whose exclusive duty will be to review all rejected applications that may be duly brought before them. The Board consists of Chief-examiners Thomas H. Dodge, DeWitt C. Lawrence, and A. B. Little. Their action will be as follows :—Whenever an application for a patent has been twice rejected, the applicant may, in person or by attorney, request a review of his case, on appeal, by the Commissioner. The Board will assist the Commissioner in this duty, by carefnlly examining and summing up each case for him, rendering to him a written report of the result or opinion to which they arrive. The Commissioner will then decide, finally, in every case, by approving or rejecting the report of the Board, as seems to him most proper. The establishment of this Board is a movement of great importance. Its necessity has, for a long time, been clearly apparent, but never more so than since the advent of the present Commissioner. His frequently-expressed intentioii to administer the laws wit! a spirit of broad liberality, and his firmness in practically carrying out whatever he deems tc be just and right, have had the effect to inspire confidence in him among the ranks oi inventors and all classes. Where injustice has been done to them, they have not been backward in appealing to him for redress, and so far as within his power, they have never appealed in vain. Hundreds of rejected applicants have pressed their suits before him, anc have come away rejoicing. So large has been the number of appeal applicants, and so constantly are they augmenting, that the Commissioner has ben utterlj unable to review every case in person. It has, therefore, been his custom, as it was of hii predecessors, to seek assistance by referring appeals to a special Board, consisting of twc Examiners, selected at random from the exam-icing corps. Whenever these Boards hap. pened to be composed of liberal-minded Examiners, a result in harmony with the Com missioner's views was always obtained. Bui when, as was too frequently the case, the Boards were composed of certain old Examiners or jointly of one elder and one younger member, either injustice was likely to be done tt the applicant, or a total disagreement tool place. The elder Examiners would generall) refuse to sanction the liberal interpretatior adopted by the Commissioner, while th younger members would firmly insist in following the instructions of their Chief. Thf result was, that the labor of review was throwr back upon the Commissioner, and the systeir of reference, instead of being a relief to him must, we think, have become a positive nuisance. In addition to the trouble occasioned by the disagreement of the Boards, the Commissioner received frequent complaints of injustice and illiberality on the part of th older members, and was constantly entreatec bv applicants not to refer their cases to them. We commend the Commissioner for th calm patience that he has ever exhibited towards the refractory portion of the examining corps. We have often wondered that h did not at once remove them, and supply theii places with men who were less disposed tc array their personal opinions in oppositior to his apparently plain rules. But the meas. ure now adopted will probably restore harmony in the Office without recourse to such ar extreme. One of the most important effects of thf creation of the Board of Appeals will be tt render the practice and decisions oi the Offic uniform. The greatest incongruity has here-tofore existed, because so u many men o: I many minds" have been allowed to have theii say. Applicants have found by experience that the Office was in the habit of deciding one way to-day, bat just the contrary the day following. Such results were productive of great mischief to applicants, while they also exposed the management of the Office to the jeers and contempt of the public. The Board of Appeals now appointel, if they pursue the course which has heretofore characterized their conduct as Examiners, will be the means of putting an end to all errati-cisms, by introducing plain, systematic and uniform rules of action, to be applied inflexibly to every case that comes before them. The selection of candidates to compose the Board of Appeals must have been a matter of the most serious consideration on the part of the Commissioner. The practice which they adopt will undoubtedly have an important influence upon the future prosperity and destiny of the Office. Their position is one of grave responsibility. They cannot exercise too much care or deliberation in settling upon the course which they are to pursue. In this matter they will doubtless be assisted by the mature counsel of the Commissioner. We could ask for nothing more. While we rejoice at the opportune movement of CommissionerHolt in establishing the Board of Appeals, we would also express our unequivocal satisfaction of his appointments to that Board. His selection is in the highest degree fortunate. The appointees are all men of firm integrity, reliability, talent and liberality—the very persons whom applicants would select to hear their appeals, if the choice were left with them. Although belongiag to the younger portion of the corps, they are gentlemen of long-tried experience and prudence as examining officers. Their past official action has always given satisfaction ; their antecedents are well known. We are confident that they will not disappoint the high expectations that are entertained concerning them. The course of Commissioner Holt in establishing and appointing this Board of Appeals is but another evidence of his peculiar fitness for the high office which he holds. The beneficial results of his official policy are already felt in every section of the country. If his life is spared, and the same policy continued, we predict that the Patent Office, under his administration, will reach a hight of prosperity and usefulness that it never before attained.
This article was originally published with the title "The New Board of Appeals"