Bruce E. Burdick
Bruce E. Burdick, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Posted about 2 years ago.

A "bad patent"is one belonging to someone else. A "good patent"is one you own.Thomas Jefferson thought all patents were bad as being Government interference with the natural course of events. James Madison thought they promoted progress if they went to first and true inventors rather than wealthy patrons of Government. Madison's view was adopted in the Constitution.

Daniel Nathan Ballard
Daniel Nathan Ballard, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Sacramento, CA
Posted about 2 years ago.

And Thomas Jefferson, when he became Secretary of State, became the nation's first patent examiner [there was no Patent Office in those early days]. You can read Jefferson's "office action" to Eli Whitney when the latter applied to patent the cotton gin [ http://www.teachingushistory.org/lessons/JefftoWhit.htm ]

Bruce E. Burdick
Bruce E. Burdick, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Posted about 2 years ago.

Under Section 1 the 1790 Act, the examination was by a committee of three, Jefferson as SOS, Henry Knox as Sec of War, and Edmund Randolph Attorney General. Any two of them could approve the patent, but Jefferson, as SOS, was the one responsible to report the result to the President along with the Letters Patent for signature. http://burdlaw.com/references/IP/historical/Patent_Act_of_1790.pdf

Jefferson, being strongly opposed to patronage patents such as were prevalent under King George, and being the better scientist , was the most active. Still, he "allowed" a number of patents. Interesting that with Whitney he seemed to be saying the patent was conditionally allowed before he even saw the model and it is interesting to have the "patent examiner" trying to buy one of the patented devices in the Office Action. It makes it sound like he is asking for a bribe, although we know Jefferson was a man of means and was more likely just offering to buy one for his plantation.

Bruce E. Burdick
Bruce E. Burdick, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Posted about 2 years ago.

Actually, it was the AG (Randolph) who delivered the first patents to the Pres (G. Washington) for signature. The SOS kept the Patent records. So I suppose we could say Jefferson was the first "Patent Office" as well as its chief examiner.

Bruce E. Burdick
Bruce E. Burdick, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Posted about 2 years ago.

I used to practice patent law in New Haven, CT just a few blocks from Yale and have been to the Yale library and seen the actual original TJ letter, and a number of other Whitney artifacts, a number of times. Interesting stuff.

Bruce E. Burdick
Bruce E. Burdick, Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Alton, IL
Posted about 2 years ago.

Of perhaps more historical invention interest is the original Gutenberg bible from that famous printing press Yale has on permanent display at the Beinecke.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beinecke_Rare_Book_and_Manuscript_Library