« PreviousContinue »
Mr. PREYER. Mr. Moore, when you were under an invention secrecy order from 1956 to 1957, where you ever informed which agency of the Government had requested the order or why they requested the order?
Mr. MOORE. No.
Mr. MEIKLEJOHN. Mr. Chairman, if I might just clarify that a bit. At one time Dr. Moore did indicate that he felt it was the Bureau of Ordnance of the Navy Department that issued the order, but he was not clear on that, and at the present time he does not know what agency requested that the secrecy order be imposed.
Mr. ÞREYER. To this day, which is nearly 24 years later, has the Government ever explained to you why the secrecy order was issued?
Mr. MOORE. Never.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
Chronology of Events Relating to the Invention Secrecy
The following information has been drawn from the files of The Judge Advocate General, Department of the Army.
Moore invents a solid explosive
Moore tries to sell his invention to American Railroad
Moore tries to sell his invention to the military
Moore prepares patent application for his invention
Moore tries to sell his invention to the Army
Moore tries to sell his invention to United Mine
Moore files continuation-in-part of patent application
Moore files administrative claim with the Army
Army denies Moore's claim for lack of infringement
Moore files action against Government in the Court
Moore files Second Amended Complaint first
Action still pending in Court of claims
H. M. HOUGEN
Mr. PREYER. They said nothing to you along that line? Mr. MEIKLEJOHN. No, they did not. I pursued that quite a bit with Dr. Moore and he was quite adamant about the fact that he never received any reason why a secrecy order was imposed.
Mr. PREYER. Let me ask you generally, Mr. Moore, as a successful inventor you have had many ideas that have been ahead of their time. How do you think a secrecy order affects the value of an idea?
Mr. MOORE. I would say that I wanted to get it before the Government first and then the Du Pont people would have taken it, but when they found that the Government had hold of it, they refused to even talk to me about it.
Mr. PREYER. In other words, as soon as-
Mr. MEIKLEJOHN. Mr. Chairman, if I might just elaborate a little bit. The impetus for David's filing his 1955 patent application was the pending deal with the United Mine Workers and a second deal with some people from Baltimore who were going to put up a plant and produce his explosive.
Patent applications are relatively expensive matters, between $2,000 and $3,000 in today's dollars, to prosecute an application to issuance. Therefore, people do not go into them lightly. A lot of people feel that they have to have some kind of commercial application at least pending before they will file.
This, of course, does not apply to large corporations which have almost unlimited funds for filing patent applications. So, the deals David is talking about are deals that he entered into with the United Mine Workers and the people in Baltimore, and the issuance of the secrecy order had the effect of totally chilling, or in his words killing, those deals.
Mr. MOORE. Definitely.
Mr. PREYER. The statutes provides for just compensation for damages that the inventor, such as Mr. Moore, sustains during the period that the secrecy order is in effect. However, the defense agency and the Patent Office routinely classify the supporting documents explaining the reason for the secrecy order.
How can the inventor submit evidence that he suffered damages? How can the inventor establish a fair market value for an invention that has never been marketed?
I wonder, Mr. Moore, if you have any suggestions for us as to how an inventor can gather such evidence to make his case for just compensation. Also, who do you think should have the burden of proof in such claim actions?
There were a lot of questions in that. Generally, I am asking whether you have some suggestions on how you can establish a case for just compensation.
Mr. MOORE. I suggest that they should treat an inventor just as any company on the outside would treat you, but they do not.
In other words, if I go to an explosives company, which I did, they go through it, turn it over to their patent department, and see if the patent has been issued and what is against it.
The way they do it makes you know they do not care. They do not go into the detail that they should.