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given Mr. Watt a remuneration for his ingenuity, to any ex" tent, even 50,000!. than that the patent lhould have been re" sewed; and he would state the reason why he made that assertion: After the patent had been prolonged, a discovery was made, that the principle of the steam engine might be applied* with less heavy work, and at considerably less expenec. The person who made this discovery, went to a distant county, in hopes of making some advantage of it. He there was employ-ed by the miners,'and several engines on the new light construction were set up in different mines. This had not long obtained, ere Mr. Boulton heard of it, and applied to the Court of Chancery (where all questions relative to patents are litigated) for an injunction to stop the further •working of the engines in Cornwall, as they were so many invasions of his patent: The fact being so, the Court was obliged to stiut up all the mines in which ihefe light steam engines had been erected, to the great loss aud injury of the owners and the Public.
His Lordship next mentioned the grounds on which the patents had been renewed and prolonged to Mr. Hartley for his iron plates to houses in >77"; to the Earl of Dumlonald, for making coal-tar varnish, vegetable, alkali, &c. in 1785, and Mr. Turner for a yellow colour; from whence it appeared, that there were cogent reasons a.leged, and proved, in each particular case, sufficient to take them out os the ordinary line of application snr the renewal and extension of patents. He remipded the flouse of the principle on which all patents were granted, and the condition of the bargain which the patentee made with the Public, r.s die omy.ens.nion for being permitted to hold the sole monopoly of his ;:;vci'.tion, for fourteen years. The patentee, in tl.e Jirst irKanee, must apply fir a patent for some invention th.it was actually and bzua file new and undiscovered before, or at least not before put in practice; he must also give in a speciticati-n, on. oath, of the principles of his invention, which was lr,;lgi'd in the proper office, and where any persc:i might obtain a copy ot it for a stalling. If it afterwards turned out that it was not a new invention, but had been before adopted, the patent was mill and void to all intents and purposes. His Lordship mentioned a case of a patent being of late years rendered null and declared void, which was discussed before him in the Court of.Chancery. It was the c.ise of Mr. Aland's lamp. Mr. Argand obtained a patent for that invention, and after it had passed, it was proved that a lamp cf an ingenious structure had l>eeu some time since brought from Paris, where it was much talked of as a curious invention; it fell into the hands of Mr. Magellan, a foreign gentleman, a man os ingenuity, and with a particular turn for mechanics; he took it to a brazier's in Piccadilly, and asked him if he thought he could make one like it? The man said he would try, and it was left with him, and he made one; adding, by Mr. Magellan's directions, a tube of glass to confine the flame, and convey the smoke. Mr. Magellan had no idea os making any prosit Ot advantage by it, but the tradesman was so pleased with his work, that he made others, three in all, and sold them. When this was found out, they were made in commo'n, and Mr. Argand applied for an injunction to the Court of Chancery -, but on an investigation of the circumstances, the patent was declared null and void. Indeed it was impossible to do otherwise, because, although it was shewn that the original lamp brought from Paris, was itself invented by Mr. Argand, yet as it was proved, that a tradesman in London had made one, and sold it openly in a public stiop, before the patent was obtained, Mr. Argand's invention was not at the time that the patent passed, new in this country. His Lordship assured the House, that he spoke the serious conviction of his mind, when he declared that if they pasted this Bill, he thought they could never refuse another application of the kind; it would be wife, therefore, to bring in a Bill to repeal the Act of James the First at once, and grant patents in the manner in which it had been usual for the Crown to grant them before the statute became a law; because it would be safer to trust to the discretion and prudence of the Attorney General, the Law Officers, and the Great Seal, who held a responsibility for what they did, and would not rashly or unadvisedly put the great seal to a patent, than thus loosely, and as a matter of course, prolong patents, and fraudulently deprive the Public of their undoubted right to the use of every invention after the fourteen years had expired for which the patent was granted. With regard to the second patent, that for Scotland, his Lordship said, he was clearly of opinion that the patent was illegal; because it commenced five years after the patent for England had passed, whereas they ought to have run an equal race, and started together, else how could that be deemed a new invention in the Scotch patent, a specification of the principles of which had lain in the office for five years, and a copy of it might have been had for a shilling .' Aster some further arguments, to shew that it was essential to all patents that an invention should be new, and in proof that nothing had been made out in the present case, to warrant the House in countenancing the prolongation in question, his Lordship conciudtd with declaring that he should feel himself obliged to vote against the commitment of the Bill. The Duke of Richmond agreed with his Noble Friend who Vol. III. E e had had spoken second in the debate, that it was by no means the wish of the individual immediately interested in the Bill, to have any thing done with it contrary to the fense of their Lordships, from any personal consideration to him. His Grace said, he supposed that every invention for which a patent was applied for, rested on its own merits, and it must be allowed that the merits of one invention were necessarily extremely different from those of otheTS. The invention which was the subject of the present Bi'I, was of great importance and great public advantage. It had cost the patentee, in the process of it, an immense sum, the whole of which he was as yet out of pocket. Patents bad been granted undoubtedly for inventions of infinitely less importance and advantage to the Public. Mr. Boulton, for instance, who was known to be a very able man in particular branches of mechanics, had obtained a patent for making a spring to a buckle, which certainly was ingenious, but extremely trifling and insignificant in point of importance and utility, compared with the invention under their Lordships consideration, one great object of which, among a variety of others, was to convert coal into coke, which coke fold for more when made, thrn the coal from which it was made cost originally. Another matter to be considered was, a long process must be gone through before the patentee could derive any profit, large ovens were to be built, various registers to be cotfstructed, and much time must consequently be spent, and considerable expences incurred, before any return could be obtained. The cafe was very different with many other inventions for which patents had been granted. With respect to Mr. Boulton's spring to a buckle, when the Bill for his patent had received the royal assent, the invention was upon sale, and returned a profit next day. With regard to the importance of this invention, his Grace said it was self-evident, and had been acknowledged wherever it was tried. One was at work at Brentford, in a very extensive manufactory, which had been greatly admired for its principle. Another had been adopted at Chelsea Wattr-works. It was true it had been left off, but not trom any fault that was found with the engine, but for other and very different reasons. With regard to the objections stated by the Noble Lord who opened the debate, the argument of that Noble Lord, and of the Noble and Learned Lord on the woolsack, went the length of declaring that the House ought in no possible case whatever to interfere in favour of patentees. As to what had fallen from the Noble and Learned Lord on the woolsack, relative to what happened besore him in Chancery, respecting Argand's lamp, he did not presume to differ on points of law from such high authority,
hut but he could not think the decree given in that cafe was quite necessary, because the lamp which the Noble and Learned Lord had stated to have been brought from Paris, was likewile of Argand's invention, and the principle was not explained till the specification was delivered in upon oath under the patent. Nor could he on the sudden agree, that the patent for Scotland, on the subject of the invention protected by the Bill before their Lordships, was illegal. If that were so clearly the cafe, as the Noble and Learned Lord seemed to imagine, it struck him that it would have been discovered before; but that circumstance might be inquired into in the Committee, and the facts as to the utility of the invention, the amount of the money expended by the Field Marshal, and the loss sustained, be established and proved.
Lord Haivkejbury said he would confine himself to one point; he felt it his duty to oppose the Bill, but on no other principle rhnn that general one on which he opposed every patent Bill in the first instance. He thought them mischievous in the extreme, because they damped and checked the industry of the English subjects, at the fame time that they benefited foreign countries, Scotland, and Ireland, from the moment that they pasted. The only restriction they imposed was on the people of this island. The bad policy of such a principle was obvious. His Lordship said, applications had often been made to him at the Board at which he had the honour to sit, to beg him to suppress the specifications of the principles of inventions, and keep them secret. The people of Birmingham, in particular, had frequently applied, and said the making the specification accessible, operated in favour of foreign artists, and was peculiarly injurious to them. The lawyers had uniformly given their opinion, that the specifications could not be suppressed, because, if chat were the case, it would be impossible to decide upon any trials of questions that arose upon allegations of invasions of the patent rights of any man who had obtained a patent for his invention or discovery. While therefore the copy of a specification could be obtained for a (hilling, the evils he had stated against the industry of this country, would continue; and therefore, as a friend to the arts, and to English ingenuity, he should hold it wise, and matter of sound policy, to put an end to any further grants of patents, and on that principle he should feel it his duty to oppose the Bill.
The Earl of Guildford observed, that the Noble Lord who spoke last had kept his word, and confined himself to a general objection to the principle of all patents. Thar, however, he conceived was not the question before their Lordships; they were to consider, as matters stood at present, whether, in the particular instance under consideration, the patent might
E e 2 be be prolonged, under the circumstances that were stated, and would be proved and established in a Committee? It mattered not, in fact, to the present Bill, whether the principles laid down by the Noble Lord who spoke last, were right or not. He would ask the Noble Lord who opened the debate, whether he really apprehended that any commercial mischief would result from locking up the present invention in the hands of the inventor? With regard to the Scotch patent being illegal, that might be inquired into in the Committee; but he should scarcely think that the Attorney General, and the other law officers of the Crown,and the Lord Chancellor, would have suffered the preat seal to have been put to an illegal patent.
The Earl of Carlisle said, he would take up a very sew minutes of their Lordships time. The only argument that had fallen from a Noble and Learned Lord that had received no answer was, if the House passed the present Bill, their Lordships would be insurmountably hampered whenever another application for the extension of a patent came before them; and had m fact better repeal the Act of James the First at once, and trust to the Attorney and Solicitor General and Keeper of the Great Seal, who were, and would be, responsible for all the patents they put the great seal to. The Earl said, he could answer this argument by declaring, that wherever it could be made out that an invention was of essential service to the Public, and that the patentee had not been remunerated, but, on the contrary, had been considerably out of pocket; he would uniformly consent to a prolongation of his patent. A circumstance peculiarly in favour of the present application, in his judgment, was, that it was just on the eve of expiring. He thought, where a patent had seven or more years to run, and the patentee applied to have it prolonged, on the ground that he feared lie sliould be a loser at the end of the first fourteen years (as had been the cafe with the prolongation of the term of a patent applied for and rejected last session); it was fair to fay, You are premature in your conclusion—it may turn out otherwise—at least, we will not grant your application, till the fact be better ascertained. In the present instance, the patent was within a few months of its expiration; and the fact, that the patentee was a considerable loser, could be established, as a matter not of mere speculation and chance, but as a certainty unquestionable. Lord Carlisle also called on Lord Auckland, to know whether he really thought any commercial mischief would be the consequence of prolonging the patent of the Field Marshal, in the manner applied for under the present Bill.
Lord Auckland replied, that he could not adopt the idea of the Noble Lord (Lord Harrowby), who had spoken first in