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However, in the event the committee determines that such legislation is desirable, the officials of the Patent Office and other officials of the Department are available to your committee to work out the details of the bill or to help in any other way.
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,
Hon. JOSEPH R. BRYSON,
Chairman, Subcommittee No. 3, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C.
DEAR MR. BRYSON: Reference is made to you request of April 18, 1951, for our comments on H. R. 323, to provide for extension of terms of patents where the use, exploitation, or promotion thereof was prevented, impaired, or delayed by causes due to war, national emergency, or other causes.
It is recommended that subsection 1 (a) be amended by striking the semicolon at the end of line 8 on the first page, and adding the words: "where it shall be determined in accord with this act that such action was taken primarily for the benefit of the United States;".
The Federal Supply Service of this Administration encounters situations where patentees, for their own benefit, waive patent rights with respect to sales to the Government. This is done because the Federal Specifications Board, as a matter of policy, avoids specifications which describe patented items. Only when a patented item is the only commodity providing satisfactory performance, and only when the patentee waives his patent right with respect to sales to the Government, is a Federal specification prepared to cover such a commodity. It is not considered in keeping with the spirit of this legislation, nor is it equitable or desirable, to extend the term of patents when a waiver has been voluntarily executed for the sole purpose of qualifying for Government business. It is believed that the amendment suggested above will accomplish the purpose without requiring unwarranted extensions of patent terms.
It appears that provision should be made for deferring the effective date of any extension in order that inventions may be brought fully into production for national defense any time they may be needed. It is possible that an extension of a patent might be granted in 1951, to take effect in 1955, when the normal term of the patent would end. Since it is impossible to foresee the existence, vel non, of a national emergency in 1955, the extension might come into effect during a national emergency, thus restricting the Government's access to the patent for purposes of national defense. It would seem advisable to authorize the Commissioner at any time during an extension to defer the extended rights when the national interest so requires during the existence of a national emergency declared by the President. It is, therefore, recommended that section 5 of the bill be amended by inserting a new subsection (d) on page 5, as follows:
"Should the President declare the existence of a national emergency during the term of any patent as extended under this act, the Commissioner of Patents is authorized to find that the public interest requires that the patent be available for public use by the United States. Upon such finding the United States shall have access to patents affected as freely as if the original patent term had not been extended. The said Commissioner is thereupon authorized further to extend the term of such patent during the said national emergency, or for such lesser period as shall be determined by the Commissioner upon the cessation of the public need for said patent." Subject to the foregoing amendments, the legislation appears to be soundly conceived and this Administration has no objection to its enactment.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection to the submission of this report; however, the Bureau has stated that enactment of this legislation would not be in accord with the program of the President.
JESS LARSON, Administrator.