The above inquiry we extract from a business letter received from a correspondent residing in Alabama. The idea of a dissolution of the Union has forced upon his mind a painful interest in behalf of one of the noblest institutions of our government. The dissolution of the Union can only be effected by a secession of some of the States. This would not necessarily breakup the Federal Government, and, for the present, its seat of power would remain at Washington. . Should the government acquiesce in the peaceful secession of the States, then, to all intents and purposes, these seceding States would be regarded as foreign countries, and their citizens treated accordingly. But the business of the Patent Office would still go on, and all applicants for patents would be dealt with according lo law. The citizens of a seceding State would, under such circumstances, be subject to all the legal inabilities im posed upon foreigners, and upon the presentation by one of them of an application for a patent, the government fee would be $300. If an inventor could swear that he was still a citizen of the United States, even though residing temporarily in a foreign country, he would be required to pay a fee of only $30. We believe we have stated the matter fairly nnd correctly, without reference to any of the political issues that connect themselves with the subject. Inventors who are desirous of applying for patents, and are apprehensive that the States in which they reside will withdraw from the Union, had better file their applications-at once, and thus save themselves $270, being the difference between the present fee and the one to which they would be liable when they could no longer swear that they were citizens of the United States.
This article was originally published with the title "What Will Become of the Patent Office if the Union is Dissolved?" in Scientific American 3, 25new, 393 (December 1860)