We have received several well-written communications respecting the propriety of discontinuing the present system of examination of applications for patents. The writers, as a general thing, are opposed to any change in this respect, and express themselves willing to pay for the service—if it can be properly and efficiently done. Ah theres the rub. Now, it appears to us—though it is not a new idea—that the best possible thing to be done would be to establish the Patent Office upon an independent basis, which would enable the Commissioner to control the appointments, and manage its affairs without the interference of Senators and Representatives, who have succeeded in turning all our public departments into places for stowing away political favorites. The Patent Office is now suffering from this evil, and the Commissioner is necessarily much hampered in carrying out reforms in the service. We notice with much gratification that a bill has been introduced into Congress to allow an increase in the examining force. This looks like business, and we trust that the bill may speedily become a law, and that under the new administration, the business of the Patent Office may be energized into new life. From present appearances, we think that inventors will soon have a more prompt and efficient examination of their cases.
This article was originally published with the title "The Patent Office" in Scientific American 20, 11, 169 (March 1869)