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85 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y 33 (2003)
Operation of the Patent Act of 1790

handle is hein.journals/jpatos85 and id is 1041 raw text is: Operation of the Patent Act of 1790*.
P. J. Federico-
T he first patent act passed by the Federal government of this country
was enacted April 10, 1790, a little over one year after the
organization of the new government.' The law was fairly short and
comparatively simple. The subject matter for a patent was specified as
any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any
improvement therein not before known or used. The inventor, he, she
or they presented a petition to the Secretary of State, the Secretary for
the Department of War, and the Attorney-General of the United States,
who were empowered to grant the patent in the name of the United
States, if they shall deem the invention or discovery sufficiently useful
and important. The inventor was required to file a specification in
writing, a drawing, and a model if possible. These had to be so particular
and so exact that the invention could be distinguished from other things
before known and used, and that persons skilled in the art could make,
construct or use the invention. No oath was required.
Infringement was punished by damages to be assessed by a jury,
and by forfeiture of the infringing devices to the patentee. Patents
could be repealed within one year by the judgment of a district court,
on the complaint of any person, who, however, paid all costs in the
event he lost.
The fees were nominal; filing fees of fifty cents plus ten cents per
hundred words of specification, two dollars for making out the patent,
one dollar for affixing the Great Seal and twenty cents for endorsement
and all other services, made the cost of a patent amount to about four or
five dollars.
SReprinted from 18 JPOS 237 (April 1936).
* Also appearing in 72 JPTOS 373 (May 1990) (Bicentennial Issue).
** Editor of the JPOS from August 1935 to September 1941.
1 The full text of this act, together with the proceedings in Congress leading to its adoption, are given
in The First Patent Act, 14 J.P.O.S 237-252, April, 1932.

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