We request the attention of our readers to the following letter :— U. S. PATENT OFFICE, WASHINGTON, March 20, 1853. J SIR—In reply to your's of the 1st inst., I have to inform you that, doubting the legality of refunding money on the withdrawal of an application, the fee on which consists in part of that paid on filing a caveat, I have submit-1 ted the question to the Attorney General, and until his decision shall have been communica-' ted to the patent office, all such applications ; lor withdrawals must be suspended. Respectfully " "R. C. WEIOHTMAN, ' Acting Commissioner. ' Since the re- organization of the Patent Office ' in 1836, every Commissioner of Patents has retunded the sum of twenty dollars according I to the plain provisions of the law—on the ? withdrawal of every application for a pa-o tent. When Mr. Hodges was appointed h 1 sent out a new order of instructions res-" pecting such payments, and the above is thi t first case bearing on the subject which has B come under our cognizance. Had he fbllowec 1 in the footsteps of his predecessors, abiding bj " the plain language of the law, the Attorney Ge neral would have been saved the trouble o ' deciding upon such a question, and other trou - bles in connection with it, would also havi 't been avoided. Section 12, ot the Patent Act, of 1836, in re Q lation to the fees of caveats says, " which sum t of $20, in case the person filing such cavea '- shall afterwards take out a patent for the in n vention therein mentioned, shall be consider e ed a part of the sum herein required for th f same." ir That specific sum mentioned as herein re n quired refers to section 7, of the same act - which says, in reference to withdrawals :-ie "In every such case, if the applicant shal - elect to withdraw his application, relinquish r ing his claim to the model, he shall be enti ie tied to receive back twenty dollars part of th v duty required by this act. On filing a notic oy of such election in the Patent Office, a copy o of which certified by the Commissioner, shall b re a suffitient warrant to the Treasurer for pay i- ing back to this said applicant the sum o le twenty dollars." This is all so plain that th i- wayfaring man need not err in respect to it or meaning ; it can have no other than just pay r- ing back $20 upon every withdrawal of an ap at plication for a patent. To refuse to pay i or back in the above case is a violation, we be fe lieve, of the plain letter of the law; the dut; Is, of the Commissioner was to certify at once, t tie a copy of the application for a withdrawal, s 5o that the money returnable by law should b as granted immediately to the applicant. T fi- alter the established policy of the Patent Oi id, fice after it has paid out thousands of dollar tor the past seventeen years for such withdrawals, exhibits a want of consideration. Before the old policy can be abandoned, with a regard to justice, the patent laws must be altered. If it were the law to refund no moneys on rejected applications, upon which Caveats had been filed, we would not and could not utter a disapproving word, but instead of this being the case, there is not a syllable in the whole Patent Code authorizing the Patent Office to refuse the paying back of $20 on every withdrawal, when the application had been fully made. It is true that, in the case of filing a caveat, and again applying the fees to an application for a patent, more labor is entailed upon the Patent Office than in a case where no caveat has been filed ; but the Patent Office is not in debt; the fees pay all the expenses. If, however, it is considered necessary to charge more for a case like the above, let the law be altered to charge $25 fora caveat and allow $20 to form part of the patent fee. Or let $5 be the Patent Office fee tor a caveat, and let $30, in every case, be paid on the application for a patent. Five dollars are sufficient to cover all the expenses of the Patent Office for filing a caveat. We should have no objections to such an alteration of our patent laws, but until they are so altered let the Patent Office honestly and rigidly adhere to the law as it is, and make no rules which do not harmonize with the code.
This article was originally published with the title "Withdrawals from the Patent Office"