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4. On page 2, line 22, after the word “person”, insert “nor to any other person”.
5. On page 2, lines 22 and 23, strike out the word “nonlegal” 6. On page 3, line 6, strike out the words "or association ".
”. 7. On page 3, line 10, after the words "kind for”, insert the words “the purpose of”.
8. On page 3, line 12, strike out the first two words of the line, to wit, “or association”.
9. On page 3, line 15, strike out the word "such” and in lieu thereof insert the word “a”.
10. On page 3, line 15, at the end of the line and the commencement of line 16, strike out the words “or association”.
11. On page 3, line 17, strike out the word "the" before the word “corporation” and in lieu thereof insert the word "any”.
12. On page 3, line 17, strike out the words “or association”. 13. On page 3, line 18, strike out the words “or association”.
14. On page 3, line 25, strike out the first word of the line, to wit, the word "such"
These amendments are proposed by the committee for the purpose of clarifying the language of the bill and to make the bill perfectly clear as to purpose and intendment.
The purpose of this bill is to protect the public, and especially inventors, from unscrupulous practices of unauthorized attorneys. Under the present law the Commissioner of Patents, with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce, is directed to establish rules and regulations for the admission to practice and the conduct of attorneys appearing before the United States Patent Office. There is, however, no law prohibiting any one holding himself out as an attorney authorized so to practice before the Patent Office.
At the hearing on this bill it was disclosed that at widely distributed points throughout the country persons who had not been registered to practice before the Patent Office, or who, after having been registered, had actually been disbarred for gross misconduct, after due trial, were imposing upon inventors by surreptitiously continuing to practice before the Patent Office although unauthorized so to do.
Inventors as a consequence do not have the protection which Congress contemplated by giving to the Commissioner of Patents authority to provide rules governing the rights of attorneys to practice before the Patent Office. Inventors would not intrust their secrets to such persons if they were aware that they were not registered to practice before the Patent Office.
Apparently for the purpose of deceiving the Patent Office, in many instances patent applications prepared by these unauthorized attorneys come to the Patent Office as though prepared by the inventors themselves. After they receive official action the response is also prepared by the false attorney, although the papers filed in the Patent Office are signed by the inventor as if acting without assist
In some cases these attorneys insert their own addresses in the papers as the true and proper post-office address of the inventor, thus surreptitiously persuading the Patent Office to communicate directly with the false attorney, who may not only be unregistered, but even disbarred. Because they are officially unknown to the Patent Office, their responsibility can not be officially fixed, so that no matter how gross is their misconduct, they can not be reprimanded or disbarred.
H. R. 699 will permit the United States courts, not the Patent Office, to impose suitable penalties for such deceptive practices. The bill was introduced by Congressman Cramton, who was informed by one of his constituents that he had been swindled by a so-called institute of inventors operating under the pretense of a philan. thropic organization, when, as a matter of fact, at the hearings it appeared that they had collected about $1,500 from the inventor without rendering him material service, although the inventor hoped to reap sufficient reward from his invention to put his daughter through college. There was no way to reach this institute, since it did not officially appear before the Patent Office.
The present bill is drawn somewhat along the lines of similar legislation in Great Britain and in accordance with that in many States to prevent persons not admitted to the bar from practicing as attorneys. On July 7, 1924, a law was passed giving somewhat similar protection against unauthorized persons holding themselves out as dentists in the District of Columbia. Similar legislation has already been passed with respect to unauthorized practice of architects and other professions. The purpose of this bill is to give protection to inventors.
In a recent annual report the Commissioner of Patents says: in Washington, D. C., two men organized a firm under their first names only, extensively advertising themselves as patent attorneys, and as having a "legal department," when neither was a member of the bar nor registered to practice before the Patent Office. They not only imposed on inventors by making them believe they were registered attorneys, but, since they were under no supervision of the Patent Office, they were able to accept fees for services and to actually pocket money paid them as Government fees for cases that they should have filed but did not.
Another concern has organized with a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Not one of these four had ever had any experience in patent practice, nor did they have a registered attorney in their employ. One of them was styled as the head of the “patent department” of the concern and they advertised "Our organization is composed of experts in patent law and procedure." Also "We have made a long and careful study of this branch of work, and one of the members of our company is an expert in matters pertaining to foreign patents."
In their elaborate pamphlet they state: "As the Patent Office is located here, a Washington attorney may interview the Government officials when advisable. This is like having your attorney present at a trial in court. Could you afford to let him be away? In many cases an interview with an examiner of the Patent Office can work wonders, both in convincing him as to the correctness of your claim and in speedily securing favorable action. We are acquainted with many of the examiners personally: As a matter of fact, being unregistered, no member of this company would be allowed to appear in the Patent Office in behalf of any inventor and argue before any examiner or any official.
In one case an inventor appealed to the Department of Justice for help. It appeared that he was too illiterate to sign his name and so poor that he had to pay his bills on the installment plan. He paid the exorbitant fee of $485 for filing an application, and yet, knowing the circumstances, the "company,” posing as his attorney, endeavored to procure from him several hundred dollars additional fees for further work without informing him of prior patents already cited by the Patent Office. The so-called attorney, being unregistered in the Patent Office, was beyond reach, and there was no way to compel restitution of the money improperly collected.
Inventors as a class are proverbially gullible with respect to their own inventions. They are frequently hundreds of miles away from their patent attorney, with whom all business is conducted by correspondence, so that they have no chance for personal contact which might give them an opportunity to judge of the motives of their attorneys. They should be protected against the possibility of improper activities of unauthorized attorneys, as provided for in this bill.
In addition to the approval of the men who appeared at the public hearings, this bill is supported by the Department of Commerce and has been approved by the Secretary of that department and by the Commissioner of Patents. The following associations have indicated their approval of the bill, many of them being represented at the hearings:
American Patent Law Association, the national organization of patent lawyers, with a membership covering the United States.
The Chicago Patent Law Association.
The committee on ethics of the American Bar Association, which is the national organization of general lawyers.
It is impossible to see that the passage of the bill can do harm to any honest practitioner and it is significant that no one admitted to practice before the United States Patent Office has indicated opposition to the principle of the bill.
Section 4 seeks to bring about no change in the status of the many men now registered and entitled to practice before the Patent Office, regardless of whether they are members of the bar or not; but does provide that after the enactment of this measure into law, no one shall be entitled to hold himself out as a patent attorney, patent lawyer, patent solicitor, or patent counsellor unless he is legally admitted to practice law in a State or Terrotory of the United States or its dependencies, or in the District of Columbia, or in the Panama Canal Zone. It was brought out in the hearings that the great majority of young men entering the practice before the Patent Office are members of the bar; but it was the sense of the committee that this provision should not be made retroactive or in any manner disturb the present large percentage of reputable registered practitioners before the Patent Office who are not members of the bar.
The entire purpose of this bill is to protect inventors from unfair practices of unscrupulous individuals and to reach those who fail to comply with the regulations in force in the Patent Office and who can not be reached by the commissioner. It works no hardship on the reputable and honest practitioner and is generally indorsed by them as tending to safeguard them in their practice as well as those who intrust their business to them.
It is believed by the committee that the bill, as amended, should be promptly passed.
Mr. Thomas of Oklahoma, from the Committee on Indian Affairs,
submitted the following
(To accompany H. R. 9939)
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 9939) authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease any or all of the remaining tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations for oil and gas purposes, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with a recommendation that the bill do pass without amendment.
The facts are fully set forth in the report of the House Committee on Indian Affairs (H. Rept. No. 1133, 71st Cong., 2d sess.) which is appended hereto and made a part of this report:
House Report No. 1133, Seventy-first Congress, second session The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 9939) authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease any or all of the remaining tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations for oil and gas purposes, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass with the following amendment: Insert the words "in his discretion" after the word “authorized," lines 3 and
It is believed by the committee that if a law be enacted authorizing oil and gas leases to be made covering the tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations that a considerable source of income would result therefrom. At present there is but a small balance in the tribal funds of these two nations, and practically no income is derived from their lands.
The following favorable report from the Secretary of the Interior, who transmits a memorandum from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, goes into greater detail regarding the merits of H. R. 9939:
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, April 7, 1930.
House of Representatives.
4 of page 1.
Nations for oil and gas purposes, there is transmitted herewith a memorandum
Ray LYMAN WILBUR, Secretary.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Washington. A pril 3, 1930. Memorandum for the Secretary.
Reference is made to the request of the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, for a report on H. R. 9939, which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease the remaining tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasa Tribes of Indians of Oklahoma for oil gas and mining purposes under such terms, conditions, and regulations as he may prescribe.
Under the present law the Secretary of the Interior may approve oil and gas mining leases of tribal Indian lands of all tribes over which the Interior Depart. ment has jurisdiction except the Five Civilized Tribes, which include the Choctaws and Chickasaws. The report of the official in charge of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1929, shows that there are approxi. mately 104,000 acres of reserved tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes.
Under the recent resurvey of the boundary along Red River, between the States of Oklahoma and Texas, a number of tracts of land which were formerly considered as lying within the State of Texas have been found to belong to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes of Oklahoma; and these tracts particularly are considered as having potential oil value. Should oil in commercial quantities be found thereunder, it would prove the source of a valuable income for these tribes and the accumulation of a fund in which all of the enrolled Indians would share equally, regardless of their individual allotments.
At the present time the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have only a small balance in their tribal fund. The balance of the Chickasaw Nation is only $9,559.15, and has practically all been hypothecated. The Choctaws have a balance of $195,967.42. Of this sum $32,970.55 has been hypothecated, leaving a remainder to the credit of the tribe, unhypothecated, of $162,996.86.
Under the terms of H. R. 9939 the leasing of the tribal lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians will not interfere with the disposal of lands by sale in accordance with law should satisfactory offers for the purchase of any tracts be received. These lands have not been attractive on the market for a number of years, and on some tracts which have been offered for sale a number of times no acceptable bids have been received. If a law be enacted authorizing oil and gas leases to be made covering the lands without interference with the future sale thereof, should opportunity come for disposal of the lands, they may, if leased, be turned into a source of quite a substantial income for these tribes.
Under the present oil-conservation policy the department is not offering tribal lands of Indians on other reservations where there is existing law permitting leases, except where required by mandatory provision of law as on the Osage Reservation, or where a lease is necessary to be made in order to protect the interests of the tribe against the drainage of oil from their lands through producing wells on adjacent tracts. It is appropriate to state here that should oil be discovered on privately owned lands adjacent to the lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes, under present law we could not lease the lands of these Indians although they were being drained. Under present law we are required to offer these tribal lands for sale, although, as above stated, the market for some time has not been good.
I would suggest that the bill be amended by inserting the words “in his discretion” after the word “authorized", lines 3 and 4 of page 1, so as to make it clear that the approval of oil and gas leases is entirely discretionary with the Secretary of the Interior, and that there is no mandatory requirement laid upon the department in the matter; this in view of the present conservation policy relative to leasing additional tribal lands and the lands of the public domain for the further exploration of the oil and gas deposits. If so amended I would offer no objection to the enactment of the bill.
C. J. Rhoads, Commissioner.