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over and for my benefit. We should have those kind of men in the War Department today.
During the war, and after the war was declared, the Trading with the Enemy Act was passed, and that put the Secrecy Act on not only me, but my attorneys, and the companies which had my patent contracts, the Marlin-Rockwell Co.
None of us could discuss my inventions with anyone without the written permission of the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, or the President. If we talked without such permission, we violated the law. All of us were subject to that, and if we discussed the inventions out of secret, we were subject to 10 years in the penitentiary and a $10,000 fine, or both, unless we had those Government written orders.
That also subjected us to complete loss of our property rights in the Patents. That is the law today.
Now, that bill was passed July 25, 1910, with limitations, of course, and modified or amended on July 1, 1918, to the strict routine that I have just told you.
All during the war I was called in by the Ordnance Department to discuss manufacturing. At one time they took me to the Liberty Bank in New York, one of the subsidiaries of the Morgan banks, and there in a room was a table much longer than this one where there were about 45 different representatives or different manufacturers, who might make bomb parts. I sat at the head of the table with one of the Morgan bankers, and outlined the particular piece, like the Dohler Diecasting which could be made by the Dohler Diecasting Co. They could make the die castings, and the Hale & Kilburn concern could make the light sheet parts, and I outlined to these representatives of these separate companies, who could best make the individual parts of the bombs and bring them all together to a central plant for assembly.
In that case I was not violating the secrecy orders, because I was working generally under the Government authority and with this Morgan bank man who also was a Government agent, and I was following his instructions, with the permission of the Chief of Ordnance.
I came down here to other conferences of that type in the War Department, but when I went out to Cleveland to assist the Glenn L. Martin Co. in putting bomb racks on their planes to fit the Barlow bombs, I never dreamed that when I went into this suit years later, the Government was going to attempt to take my patent rights away from me, because I was assisting that company in fitting the bomb racks of those planes to carry Barlow bombs.
Nevertheless the Government brought that up as a defense in the Court of Claims and tried to completely wipe me out because I went to the Glenn L. Martin Co. and actually did assist in fitting those racks on those planes, but the Court of Claims would not listen to it.
I was even asked by the Government attorneys if I had discussed this matter with my mother; I was asked that by a Government attorney in the Court of Claims. I was asked how many men I had in my laboratory at Liberty Field, which was my own private flying field, connected with the Marlin Arms Co. I said I had about 40 on the staff. I was asked if I discussed the patents and inventions with any of those men in my own shops during the war.
I said, “Well, yes.” Then I made the statement, "I could not win
, the damn war all by myself," and the commissioner in charge of the hearings, the trial judge, Judge Gordon, or Commissioner Gordon said, “The witness is right.” He said that we had to have our engineers and other cooperating during the World War in order to get this equipment. He said that that line of questioning could not be accepted in his court.
That gives you an idea as to what you are up against when you try to collect on patents from the Government.
Now, the Government of the United States has every possible invention right that it can wish and has that right under the present law. It can pin me down to secrecy and I cannot even go to a manufacturer. Even at this time we may be manufacturing my articles under patents which have been granted, but not made public; all of my patents during the World War were made special and secret by orders and by requests of the Secretary of War to the Commissioner of Patents.
I could introduce into the Patent Office the application on Glmite, which I have not done, because I just do not dare to. They could immediately declare that a secret application, and I would be bound to secrecy and the War Department would probably claim it as its invention. I could not go to a single man or a single person and ask for a dollar to develop it without breaking the law. I could not employ a single man to carry on my experimental work with me and tell him what I was doing. I could not make a single move of any kind which included another living person, or I would forfeit all of my patent rights right there. That is the law today.
Now, the present acts or law permits the Government to take over any patent rights of an individual it wants in order to manufacture for the Government, but the Government can't take the patent and sell it as this bill provides.
I suspect that this bill as drawn has hidden in it somewhere an attempt to carry out much of the practices which were carried out during the World War under the Secret Act, but which did not go far enough then to suit some, because they would have liked to keep United States patent rights, or at least stop a company, after the war, from going ahead with the things that were rightfully its own.
Now, I can see that if I went ahead again at this time as I did in the last war-I developed a great many things used by this Government; many, many millions of dollars were spent building the devices which I created—the synchronized aircraft gun. I built the first one in this country. I got my company into that business, and they succeeded in building 38,000 of those synchronized guns during the war, and into use. The United States Government did not produce a gun of its own design during the entire time of the war which they could get manufactured in time to get it into the war, and the only one that was produced or was in production, of their design, was the one which they came to us to make for them when everybody else in the United States had failed. But the gun we designed, and which we patented, the War Department took our designs and turned them over to the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. We could not squawk. We could not say a word. Secrecy stopped us. We were the ones who knew how to make that thing. The Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. did not and they never could get one to work from their production stock until after much trouble. We knew what it was all about. They did not. We were the people who were competent to do the work. We designed and created the thing. The other fellow waited for us to make it work and then just grabbed the business.
The Marlin Co. got no royalties for that. The bombs which the Marlin Co. financed me in producing—the original ones—had the same story. Most of the bomb contracts were turned over to other corporations who had not put up a dime for their development. The Marlin Arms Corporation could not collect after the World War, because their patents had not been published and the War Department and industry said, “You did not publish your patents. The company says, "Well, we could not. We were stopped by a secrecy order. We would have gone to the penitentiary if we had.”
"Well, that leaves us out," said the other fellows.
We went back to the War Department, and they said, “Well, you did not publish your patents.”
They said, “How can you collect on somebody else's production.” We said, "Because they are our patents."
“Well, that is another department of the Government," said the War Department.
Now, mind you, new faces had come on the scene since the original contracts were entered into with the Government, men who do not know anything about them. We had a new crowd in the War Department.
A lot of men came in from industry, were commissioned into the military service, and their companies got our inventions and the Marlin Co. simply failed to collect a dime of those royalties established under the two contracts with the War Department.
They owed me, under my.contract, $50,000 a year minimum.
The United States Government clamped down on the Marlin Co., however, for overpayment as they claimed on guns, they clamped a stop order against them from receiving royalties, with the result that they could do nothing but go into receivership, and they were in receivership for a number of years, and the receiver would not release any of
my patents back to me-called for under my contract with the company in any year in which they failed to pay the $50,000.
I am showing you how the wheels of the Government worked in my patent case, gentlemen. The President writes, and he is quite sincere. He wrote this
, the other night or the other day to the chairman of this committee:
I call your attention to this fact, while the Government should be in a position to obtain this essential equipment and property, it is wholly willing to pay just and fair compensation for it.
Well now, the President believes that, and Mr. Patterson, of the War Department, here the other day made a statement like that, I noticed it in the record. He believes it, but he should look up the War Department history on patent rights. He would learn something.
But I know, as exhibit A, after 25 years that the Government of the United States, which is a very abstract thing, which comes down to an individual somewhere in the Department, and the individuals down in the departments, most of them are honest and fine but there are just enough in there who say, “Well, we do not want to pay for
a patent like this, and will not pay for it because we can beat the inventor," and they do.
They have all of the authority of the Government behind them. Finally when you want to go to court under this provision which you have here in this bill, if you cannot agree with them, why you can go to Court, to the Court of Claims under section 145.
Well, I do not see where a man should be required to go to the Court of Claims on a dispute with the Government with reference to the Government taking property. I think that it should be adjudicated very soon; not after years of delays. Why should he have to go to the Court of Claims? If you have to go to the Court of Claims with all of the cases that will result from this bill, you would have a court of claims housed in a building larger than the District of Columbia to take care of the claims after the war, it will be the biggest business in the United States.
We should be allowed to settle without waiting years in court, but if we do go to the Court of Claims the Government says, “Did you tender your patent in writing to the Government, Mr. Barlow?” I had a tough job, gentlemen,
on my hands. It took me almost 2 years trying to figure out how I had tendered the Government my patents in writing. And, if you do not tender your patents in writing to the Government you are not able to collect, if the Government
Now, few inventors are aware of that fact. Under the present act of Congress you must tender in writing. That is the way they held it on me.
Finally, I was able to dig up one letter, although I sat in the War Department conferences, gentlemen, many times during the time we were aiding the manufacturers down in the Department. Letter after letter was written when we were discussing the bombs with them, yet the Government attorneys in the Court of Claims held that I had not tendered my inventions.
I attended conferences of many boards at Langley Field, Mineola, and Sandy Hook, where we made bomb tests, and it was shown that I had the War Department cooperation, but that was not tender, said the Government. I had sent a letter to the Secretary of War late in the war, just before the armistice, in which I offered to waive all future royalties that might become due me on future bombs because of my patents. I used the word “future” both times. I said that I was doing so, so that my future activities could not be described as mercenary, because I was being roundly attacked when I insisted on the bomb program being kept going without regard to changes in bomb design, Mr. Chairman, new bombs which had not passed the required service tests.
I came down here one time before the Senate Military Affairs Committee during the war and I said, “They have just taken out of production some 3,000,000 bombs which passed the service tests of this Government and have put into production bombs which never had a service test; bombs designed by men who have never been off of the ground," and the Senators did not believe me. I said, "If you will subpena the Chief of Ordnance you will find that he does not know it himself-I have been trying to get to him for 2 weeks to tell him.” So they subpenaed Major General Williams to come
up and be examined on questions to be compounded by Lester P. Barlow. He knew me; he knew what it meant. I told them that if they would subpena him he would send for me and I could tell him the truth. He sent for me that night, the day that he was subpenaed.
I went over the next morning at 8 o'clock. He was quite provoked. “Well,” I says, “General, your officers are doing a very illegal thing under your authority, you know." He says, "Can you run the Department better than I can?” I said,
I “Don't you know that they are taking out of production some 3,000,000 bombs and putting in production bombs that have never been service tested ?" He said, "It is impossible."
I said, “Well, you bring in the officers” whom I asked for and "I will make them admit it.”. And, he did, and they did admit it, and he stopped the production. He said then, “Barlow," is the situation now satisfactory?"
I said, "I am not satisfied."
I said, "I want the regular production to go back." I said, "Give those orders to the Ordnance Department."
Now, he did that, and the bombs were thrown out that had not been tested, and again they put the tested bombs back into production.
You can see, gentlemen, why some of the men in the Department down there learned to hate me; but I did get the program through, and behind me during all of that time was Secretary Baker, who send for me at the start of the war and whom I had known before the war was declared, and he asked me not to take a uniform or a salary from the Government. He said, "I know that you know the bomb production better than any other man." That was at the beginning of the war. Few people knew anything about bombs at that time, in 1917. I was the sole man in the United States who was really trying to do anything with bombs on a large scale. He said, “I know that there will be many new experts, but if you will keep the program going, Barlow, and keep out of the Government positions, and if you get any interference, I will move instantly to protect you.” Ånd, three times, I went to the Secretary of War, and three times he moved just that quick.
One day he walked right down to the office of the Chief of Staff, General Marsh, and with a two-line letter, inside of 15 minutes, he set the whole thing straight.
We kept the bomb production going.
Now, after the war I go back to the Court of Claims, but I cannot sue the Government. I find that not until after this receivership of the Marlin Co. is over could I get my patents released to
There was a Col. Joseph McMullen who was head of the Patent Section of the Judge Advocate General's Office and a man who you will remember was afterward convicted of accepting bribes. He was convicted of bribery. He was court martialed out of the service and convicted in the district court and sentenced to the penitentiary.
McMullen had kept me from going to court during the Marlin receivership until he contended that the statute of limitations had run against me, so that I could not sue the Government. He also