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said, “You received title to your patents from the Marlin Arms and that is an assigned claim against the Government and you cannot collect under that."
“Well,” I said, “Colonel, I assigned the patents to the Marlin Arms at the request of the Ordnance Department before the war was declared. So I was merely carrying out the request of the War Department and cooperating, and now you are going to use that against me, and you are using the statute of limitations."
He said, “Barlow, it is my business in here to beat you.” And he said, “We are using anything we can to beat you.”
I said, "How about the morals?”:
Now, gentlemen, I think you can understand that is true, when we know that the man afterward was convicted of being dishonest. My real trouble with him was that I would not employ lawyers who he recommended I should have.
So, I told the colonel, “Well, I'll have to go to Congress to get permission to sue.'
He said, “You cannot get that, because all we need is one Member of Congress to vote against your private bill, which is a personal measure. It has to pass both Houses unanimously or you cannot get by."
Now, then, gentlemen, this bill here says that payments may be determined by the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy. It is not the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy, but the McMullens or somebody of that kind who decide that. They are the ones who do it and this fellow got caught at his racket. It will not be the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy who decides they must sign on the dotted line put before them by somebody else in the departments.
So, I came to Congress, gentlemen, and it took me 272 years to get a bill through to sue the Government. Sometimes I have to get pretty persistent down here on the Hill, but I have been able to protect my legal rights, and in the end I came out of both Houses of Congress with them unanimously voting that I could sue the Government, although all of the power of the War Department was thrown against me to stop me.
Colonel McMullen took a statement for the War Department down to the House War Claims Committee. I heard Mr. Sweet, Member of the House, turn around and call him a liar to his face. He said, “This whole thing that you have sent down here is a lie.”
McMullen said he did not know all of the facts.
You are trying to destroy this man."
The result was that there was so much hostility developed about the thing that I was in conference with the leaders, Mr. Tilson, and Mr. Garner, the majority and minority leaders, you know. I knew Mr. Tilson real well. That was about 1925. He brought Mr. Garner to his office and told him about it, and I was told that if I would just keep quiet they would get the bill through the House. They said it would probably take some cooperation and pretty nice maneuvering. So, I did get finally by in spite of the War Department's opposition. That was in 1927. And, that was a long time, gentlemen, and even then I had already spent years trying to get paid for my wartime patents. I think I was in court for 11 long years after that. I got two unanimous court decisions against the War Department, and they used every single legal trick that they could pull to stop me rhere. I even had evidence that they brought in, impounded by the court, it was faked evidence. The court saw it, and I asked this evidence impounded for future reference. I could have pulled that from the records and brought it up here, which showed that they were trying to destroy me and deceive the court.
They were vicious. They did everything they could honest and dishonest to beat me.
I came out of the case victorious, with a decision from the Court of Claims for the royalty, principal, and interest, and, gentlemen, I will show you how I finally got out on that point.
The court first gave me a decision on patents validity and ordered the War Department to make an accounting.
After the War Department got to a point where they were beyond 600,000 bombs in the count, they said to my attorneys, “How much does Barlow want?"
They said, “Well, he tried to settle with you and you would not do it. Now you want to know what he wants. Why don't you make a proposition ?”
They said, “See if he wants to quit at this figure.”
So, my attorneys came to me and I said, “If they will get off of my neck I will call it a day. I will quit right now.
That was for the royalty, principal, and interest, and, gentlemen, the War Department signed a stipulation with me agreeing to quit at those figures.
And, the stipulation was taken over to the Court of Claims. Six or 7 months later—they delayed it as long as they could in order to stop the accounting, and when that was all stopped, then they came to the Court of Claims and tried to renege on the whole thing. I said, “All right, the interest now amounts to over $554,000.” It sounds like a lot of money, but I would not go through this kind of suit again and would not take the hazards that I took on my life for all the money in the Treasury. Now, the other fellows can risk their necks, I'll go fishing and be safe anyway.
Now, in connection with that work you go down and examine these explosives, down in the shell holes, where they have not gone off, dig them up, saw them in two, with the Army officers in an armored observation tower a mile away watching to see what happens, and you come out of there with your clothes wringing wet with sweat, the result of sheer fright and mental strain. You are exhausted for 3 or 4 days, and I will never do it again. I would not do it again for all of the money in the Treasury.
The court wiped out the interest on my contracts but held the interest on the damages. They allowed me $100,000 interest and just a little under $600,000 principal.
The War Department objected to that. The court put it through. The bill was reported to the Congress of the United States.
The Department of Justice objected to the interest. I told the congressional members here, I said, "All right; let the interest go." The War Department then came before the House committee and objected to the principal being paid to me, even on their own proposition.
And, myself, and not my lawyers, called the attention of the committee to the fact that they were then trying to renege on their own agreement after I had whipped them in the court and here was their stipulations, where they agreed to the figure to be paid and then that committee turned on the War Department representative and we spent the rest of the day there, 8 hours and a half, and I came out with a unanimous decision of the committee again that the Court of Claims was justified in its findings on the reaudit and its report to the Congress.
Now, I had to go through the Senate again. I got a unanimous decision there. One member could have stopped it. In the House it was up for unanimous vote. Three members did stop it, and I went back and got another unanimous decision through the committee to report my bill out again, and again following that, I got my bill through the House and it went to the President and was signed.
The Comptroller General immediately cleared me in about 5 days. It was a job which would ordinarily take 3 weeks. He did that because the Comptroller General's office said that they could see blackmail there, and wanted to keep clear of that thing, immediately.
After I was cleared by the Comptroller General, suit was filed by a shyster lawyer named John F. Clark and to whom I had paid $12,000 and what I considered an extortion fee in 1923, or a year before, to get off of my neck with his legal rackets. I have his complete release. He called on the Treasury Department and at the advice of the Attorney General they ordered that my money be held there, the Treasury Department stake holder between this shyster lawyer and myself. I asked about bonds, putting up a surety bond to protect me. The Attorney General said no bonds, surety bonds, and no injunction would be necessary on the part of Clark. They told my attorneys that had to be done in order to hold money. They said, “We will just hold it here until all claims against him are settled.”
That, gentlemen, was about 11 months ago.
Finally, one day, with a real quick and unexpected legal move on our part we were able to get hold of $300,000 of my money, but the other $300,000 is still held, and I do not believe that the Attorney General is legal in his ruling when he says that property of mine can be held up by a third party, like the Government, without a surety bond for my protection, and without an injunction on the part of the claimant against me, and I believe no lawyer in the United States will sustain him.
Now, if the Attorney General is sustained in that ruling, then, gentlemen, with all of the power of the President, the Congress, and the Court of Claims behind me I still will have no protection against anyone who may make a fake claim against me and from now until kingdom come such racketeers may in one way or another hold up my money without a surety bond, without an injunction, and in due time, the entire fund, if I do not get it, will be eaten up by attorneys fees.
It has put me in debt over a quarter of a million dollars during the last twenty-some years to defend myself on my patent rights against
the Government. I have paid creditors over $100,000 on top of that, and on top of that the Internal Revenue Division moves in now to hold the $300,000 that is there, because they are challenging my income return of 1940, and I was ordered in just 10 weeks after I made my filing to bring in all of my records for examination. They thought that we might be delayed somewhat, but we rushed over here. I told my attorneys, "Let us go; let us have an examination. I know what the game is.”
And, gentleman, they had not even pulled my return out of the files and I had to furnish them with a copy. They did not even know a thing about my return or what it looked like. They had not looked at it. It took them almost a week to locate it, and look it up.
So, if you think, gentlemen, that this bill here is going to make it any better for us engineers in going to the Court of Claims, or any different from the experience I have had with the War Department and the other departments, or that it means something good for the national-defense program, I want to say that it does not mean a thing to me but trouble. I am going to wash my hands of all new military developments, because of this bill, gentlemen. I cannot live long enough to win litigation from the Government, even if I have all of the legal rights in my favor.
Now, the gentlemen who have preceded me have told you something about the law. I have looked at this bill which was given to me the other day by Colonel Watt. I examined it carefully and took it to my attorneys also, and the only thing that I can see under this bill in the way of patent that might be necessary is that you might take over alien-owned patents. They might be taken over by the Government, but certainly not American-owned patents. You cannot shoot a gun, fly a plane, or feed a man; you cannot do a single thing with a patent for the national defense; you have nothing but a title, an intangible thing.
And if I may make a suggestion it is that your section 2 is not the section you mean in your proviso, but section 3, because it says, "On the basis of compensation to be determined in accordance with section 2 of this act."
It is section 3. That is, section 3 is the compensation section of the act. That is probably just an oversight.
However, if the bill goes through as it is, I am quite sure that there will be no way of getting compensation under section 2. That merely provides that the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy can take action. I make the suggestion that if there is a question of a foreign- or alien-owned patent, or foreign or alien patent rights to be taken over by the United States under this act, that there should be a determination as to such patents. They should be open to public use. In other words, I think if the Government can sell the patents that you are holding out an opportunity for men in our departments who want to be dishonest to grab off a patent under the prestige of the Government and turn it over to somebody on the outside. That is what happened to mine after I was put under the Secrecy Act in 1917. They were' taken and given to people on the outside, who could not in some cases even manufacture the articles. My company got no money and I got no money for any patent rights in those cases. I am still trying to get something for those patent rights.
I do not believe that the Government should become a patent broker.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, Mr. Barlow, you are suggesting that the paragraph relating to patents there be confined to alienowned ?
Mr. BARLOW. Alien owned and foreign patents, and in that case we should remember we had a question of alien-property grabs during the World War, and there was a big scandal over it, because, as you know, a lot of property was given over to fellows who were particularly interested in that kind of property and that kind of patents. I do not believe that the Government should enter into or encourage that kind of crooked business, or that that power should be given to the Government, and that is what this bill will do, because there are a lot of people on the outside of the Government who would like to have certain patents under this confiscatory business, and they believe that this is a nice way to get somebody else's patents. There is a “nigger in the woodpile” here somewhere.
I would include in this bill a statement to the effect that no American-owned, or American patents, or United States patents, shall be considered as coming under this act, because you already have the law in reference to those in the Secrecy Act.
Senator SCHWARTZ. What law do you refer to?
Mr. BARLOW. I refer to the act of June 25, 1910, amended July 1, 1918.
Supposing that I should want to go ahead—and I do want to go ahead—but supposing I want to go ahead with the actual production of the glmite high explosive. I couldn't get a single dollar from anyone who might want to finance me. They would say, “Barlow, you simply haven't got a chance. You can't go ahead with this. You will be put under secrecy. You can't even defend yourself." They will say, “Your patents are not worth a dime. Some com,
a petitive explosive company will probably get them. We will just have lost every dime that we put in. Besides that, if we now file under the Secrecy Act and talk about our business we are going to all be subject to the penitentiary when the war is declared.”
I contend, gentlemen, that the trouble that I have had with the Government in regard to my patents and contracts with the War Department, as I have told you, has resulted in the stopping of practically every effort of mine, not voluntarily, but because I can't move, in the development of munitions for this Government in this emergency which we are now in. I can't get a dollar put into the business.
I contend that I have proven as a fact that I have detonating control of, not a new explosive, but a basically old one, 50 years old, , the most dangerous and powerful type of explosive that there is; that I have brought its development to a practicable military explosive without the loss of its power and to where it is the safest of all explosives.
I performed for 81/2 hours before the press on that occasion I worked before the cameras, doing everything that was conceivable to passed experts to explode that stuff, without getting a single explosion unless I used a special type of detonator.
My demonstrations were considered impossible. I heard the Military Affairs Committee told by the highest explosive authority of