Compromise Patent Policy Proposed - C&EN Global Enterprise (ACS


Nov 6, 2010 - Under his bill, S. 1290, contractors in most cases would take title to the patent; the Government would get a royalty-free license to us...
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GOVERNMENT

Compromise Patent Policy Proposed Industry would get title in most cases to patents resulting from government R&D contracts A compromise solution to the problem of what to do with patents on inventions conceived under government research and development contracts is proposed by Sen. John L. McClellan (D.-Ark.). Under his bill, S. 1290, contractors in most cases would take title to the patent; the Government would get a royalty-free license to use the invention. However, under certain circumstances the Government would be required to take title to the patent. The big upsurge in government spending for research and development during the past decade has stirred controversy over ownership of inventions resulting from government R&D contracts. Industry representatives claim that patents on these inventions should go to the contractors because the Government gets full benefit from a research and development contract when it gets to use inventions resulting from the contract. On the other hand, many Congressmen and others contend that the Government should keep title to these patents for the public benefit because the inventions resulted from spending public funds. Sen. McClellan says his bill "provides a reasonable middle ground between the views of those who favor almost total ownership of patent rights by the Government and those who would almost totally exclude the Government from such ownership." Patent Policy. S. 1290 provides that the question of ownership of patent rights would be decided individually for each invention. This would rule out contracts, such as those usually written by the Department of Defense, in which patent rights are assigned to the contractor at the time the contract is signed. Says Sen. McClellan, "I am of the view that no informed judgment can be made as to the disposition of patent rights at the time the contract is negotiated and that such determination should be deferred until the inventions are actually disclosed." The Justice Department also favors this approach. 30

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S. 1290 would set up a uniform but flexible patent policy for all government agencies. Following criteria to be laid down by Congress, each agency head would establish rules which would apply the general principles of S. 1290. Outlook. Sen. McClellan is not sure whether he will hold hearings on the bill. In view of the number of investigations of the problem in past Congresses, he thinks more hearings may not be needed. However, the Senate Subcommittee on Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights is anxious to get comments from industry and others on the patent proposal. Should the committee approve the bill it may run into trouble on the Senate floor. Sen. Wayne Morse (D.Ore.) has pledged an all-out fight on any attempt to give away government patent rights (C&EN, March 25, page 26).

BRIEFS Sen. John L. McClellan (D.-Ark.) " . . . a reasonable middle ground . . ." Under S. 1290, the contractor would take title to inventions resulting from a research and development contract with a government agency. In return the Government would get an irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive license to use the invention. However, the agency could force the patent holder to license others if it could show that the owner of the patent had not made substantial efforts to exploit the invention. The Government would take title to the invention under these circumstances: • The invention would be useful for promoting public health, safety, or security or the contract was intended to produce end items to promote public health, safety, or security. • The Government had been the principal developer of the field or had provided substantially all of the funds required for research in the field. • The invention depended on prior work of others supported by government funds. • The invention may be useful in the production or utilization of special nuclear material or atomic energy. In these cases the Government may waive its patent rights if it is in the public interest to do this.

A commission to revise the antitrust laws would be created by a bill sponsored by Sen. Jacob Javits (R.-N.Y.). S. 1255 would create a 12-man bipartisan commission to make a comprehensive review of all the antitrust laws and make recommendations to Congress on how to bring them up to date. According to Sen. Javits, outmoded antitrust laws are having an adverse effect on economic growth.

Department of Agriculture has set up a new laboratory to study the effects of growth-regulating compounds and hormones on plants. Headed by plant physiologist, Dr. John W. Mitchell, the new pioneering research unit is located at Beltsville, Md.

Two bills to regulate the use of pesticides have been introduced by Sen. Maurine Neuberger (D.-Ore.). S. 1250 would require advance consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife services before a federally-sponsored mass spray program could be started. S. 1251 would require the Secretary of Interior to make studies to determine how specific pesticides may be used to prevent harm to fish and wildlife. The Secretary of Agriculture would see to it that the information appears on pesticide labels.

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C&EN

APRIL

in March, says the Federal Reserve Board. Iron and steel climbed from 102 in February to 110 last month (seasonally adjusted). A further rise in April is indicated. Primary metals production is showing a very strong recovery from a low (about 99) unchanged since August 1962 to 110 in March. Textiles production also moved forward after about five months of little variation. The steady level of 115% of the 1957-59 average at which textiles production had stood since last October took a two-point upward swing in March. Utilities (gas and electric) dropped back very slightly in March after a steady rise that had been maintained since August last year. But compared with March 1962, when utilities index stood at 128.8% of the 1957-59 average (seasonally adjusted), the recent March figure of 137 indicates strong growth. Retail sales, after revision upward from February, rose 1 % further in March, says the Federal Reserve Board, to a record total 2 % above the November-January plateau, and 7 % above a year earlier.

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March brought a rise in industrial production. The Federal Reserve Board's business index rose a point to 120% of the 1957-59 average. This was the first significant jump in the index of industrial production after several months of hardly any change. Further, the March figure was three points higher than the 117 index for March 1962. Output of consumer goods, already at a record high in February (122.6), moved up further (to 123), and output of major categories of business equipment remained at advanced levels. Production of industrial materials, which had been low in relation to output of final products, increased substantially to a new high (117 in January and February to 119 in March, seasonally adjusted). Auto assemblies, at 139% of the 1957-59 average, held at the high rate prevailing since mid-1962. Increases in output were widespread among materials. Gains were generally greater for durable than for nondurable materials. Increased inventory demands (to hedge against a possible work stoppage) pushed output of iron and steel up sharply

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PRODUCTION Source: Federal Reserve Board

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SALES AND INVENTORIES Chemicals and Allied Products

1963 1962

Billions of Dollars - Seasonally Adjusted 5.0

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