Tesla On The Patent Office

Saturday, May 21, 1904
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May 21 1904 ELECTRICAL WORLD AND ENGINEER. V01- XI-IU, NO- 2K- Tesla on the Patent Office. The New York Sim of Wednesday contained a letter from Mr. Nikola Tesla in \\'l\ich, referring apparently to recent publications concerning difficulties between Edison and the Patent Office, he takes up the cudgels for the office and is particularly complimentary in references to its technical staff. In a long personal experience he said he has found the examiners to be far more satisfactory than he had thought possible, and many times he has noted with astonishment the thorough grasp of ideas, the keenness of the criticisms and the exhaustiveness of the search for anticipations, while invariably he has obtained valuable information through the references`citcd and the suggestions made, He considers any criticism capable of creating a doubt in the minds of people as to the faithful performance of duties and competency of its staff must be deemed unfortunate, since such doubt may,destroy confidence in the value of patent property, Mr. Tesla advocates more liberal appropriations and more suitable quarters for the Patent Office, and refers to the fact that owing to low salaries difficulty is found in retaining the services of competent men. ` While examiners, he says, can never keep quite abreast with in- ventors, they are men well educated and trained, recruited from col- leges, and to obtain appointment have to pass a severe examination covering the several branches of applied and cognate sciences. Seri- ous dissatisfaction then is not likely to arise from the examiners' in- sufficient knowledge or lack of comprehension, nor is it apt to come from an inherent defect of adopted procedures, although some of these might be omitted to advantage. For example, the suggestion of claims by the examiner in a case of conflicting applications is, in my opinion, always in favor of the inventor possessed of better knowl- edge and stronger imagination. The introduction bf greater rigidity in the withdrawal and amendment of specifications might also be helpful. But, after all, what difference does it make how the original documents are modified? The successive changes are all recorded` and can be examined at any time. If new matter is injected in an amended application it will not be permitted to remain, and, ulti-l mately, the testimony in the interference will bring nut the exact facts which will settle the question of priority. The advantages which might be secured by such or similar changes would be slight. Of late years the demand on certain departments has been increasing so fast that more expeditious methods had to be adopted; and this has naturally detracted from the quality of the work. The remedy for this is a liberal appropriation. Mr. Tesla considers that one ofthe greatest problems confronting the world is to devise methods and means for protecting intellectual property. "As we develop, this need asserts itself more and more. The ultimate aim should be to arrive at laws and regulations at least as precise as those which define the ownership of tangible things. A new principle is still to be discovered which will make this possible. Perhaps in the distant future photographic records of the retina of the eye may furnish a foundation for a new and more perfect system of protection and just valuation of the creations of the mind. As far as I am able to understand the working of the human mechanism, such records offer the only chance of doing away with the present imperfect ideas of possession and use of crude equivalents. But let us bear in mind that for the time being the United States Patent Ofiice is the farthest advance toward that ultimate aim. I Taking this broader vie\v ofthe institution we shall better appreciate its immense influence on the welfare and morals of the country."