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FEDERAL PATENT RIGHTS ARE TESTED Employes, Alleged to Have Capitalized on Duties, Are Sued. The rights of the United States In Inventions of Federal employes, which In the past appear to have been only vaguely defined, are stressed in three separate suits filed yesterday by the Department of Justice against Percival D. LoWell and Francis W. Dunmore to recover patents covering apparatus for the operation of radio receiving sets by ordinary house current. The Government claims this inven tion, which during the past two years has practically revolutionized the radio Industry, driving battery sets from the market, was worked out by the two men in the course of their official duties as employes of the radio laboratory of the Bureau of Standards. Dunmore still is employed there as an associate physicist. Lowell was an associate physicist of the Bureau of Standards in 1922 when his technical paper, “An Electron Tube Amplifier using 60-cycle Alternating Current to Supply Power for the Filaments and Plates,” which contained the essential idea of the invention, was published as an official bureau publication and presumably as a report on a bureau research project. Dunmore Delegated to Task. Through United States Attorney Leo A. Rover and Assistant Attorneys Gen eral Charles B Rugg and Alexander Holtzoss. the District Supreme Court is told in the suits against Dunmore that he was delegated to make certain in vestigations into the problem of de veloping a radio relay, a loud speaker to operate on alternating house current end a receiving set to operate without batteries. After he had perfected the radio relay, it is stated, he obtained letters patent and sold the rights as they relate to the radio broadcasting to the Dubilier Condenser Corporation of Delaware and the rights relating to the printing telegraph apparatus to the Morkrum Co. of Maine. These con cerns also are defendants in suits. With scores of patentable inventions being produced by scientific employes of the Government, the case becomes «f paramount importance. The validity of the Lowell and Dun more patents was recently sustained in actions brought by the two against the Radio Corporation of America. Under the act of April 30, 1928, "the Commissioner of Patents is authorized to grant to any officer, enlisted man or employe of the Government, except officers and employes of the Patent Office, a patent for any invention with out payment of any fee when the head of the department or independent Bureau certifies such invention is used or liable to be used in the public in terest: Provided, that the applicant in his application shall state that the in vention described therein may be manu factured and used by the Government for Government purposes without the payment to him of any royalty thereon, which stipulation shall be included in the patent.” An act of June 25, 1910, gives the owners of inventions the right to sue the Government for infringement, “pro vided that benefits of this act shall not injure to any patentee who, when he makes such claim, is in the employment or service of the Govern ment of the United States, nor shall this act apply to any device discovered or invented by such employes during the time of his employment or service.” The Bureau of Standards has a gen *ral policy, known to all employes, which was approved by the director November 2, 1922, which follows in part: "The free use of the results of the ! bureau’s activities must not be re stricted by copyright or by patent. The output of the bureau (within its func tions) belongs to the people of the United States and, of course, to all Government agencies established by the public. This output comprises all I results of the bureau’s researches, whether in the form of new knowledge or new processes, materials or devices. A copyright is out of the question, since the bureau Is glad to have its work reprinted as widely as possible. The only Justification for a patent by a member of the bureau staff is to pre vent private individuals from patenting and restricting the free use of the re sults of the bureau's work by the public. All such patents, therefore, should natu rally be dedicated for free unrestricted use by the public. "The bureau could not honorably re tain In its service employes who would fall to accord to the public the full right to the free use of all results of the bureau’s work (other than work re stricted to Government use). "From all points of view, the output of the bureau belongs to the people, for they own and maintain the establish ment, including its buildings, equip ment and facilities, and they pay for the personal (including inventive) service of the staff.” Policy Not Strained. But although the statement Is not implicit In the policy, it was explained at the bureau, the restriction generally has been held to refer only to inven tions and copyrightable articles the ideas for which would naturally be assumed to arise from the employe’s actual duties, for which he received his salary, and there is no attempt to •Oaw\^ the AVIENUE at NINTH* Bill! aSSi&Us E - | Style! —and fine quality materials distinguish our featured SUPER VALUE SUITS - s 3B°° TThERE is no finer clothing available at the price.... We are showing all the most wanted Spring patterns, such as neat stripes, small checks, invisible plaids; also plain Silver Greys and Plain Blues—in fine unfin ished worsteds, tweeds and cheviots. All With Tivo Pairs of Trousers ❖ The Avenue at Ninth STORE ' i " ' \ ' 11 l THE EVENING STAR, WASHINGTON, D. C., FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 1930. strain this Interpretation. Thus, an employe of the radio laboratory would be within his rights In patenting as his private property a device applicable to the mechanism of Internal combustion engines not involving a radio principle, even If the Idea might conceivably have arisen from his associations at the bureau. Or a clerical employe probably would be entitled to patent anything For some time, It was learned, there has been agitation among scientific sfsf employes of the Government for as clearer statement of their rights and restrictions. School League Dance. BARCROFT, Va., April 25 (Spe-' clal). —A dance for the benefit of the Barcroft School and Civic League will be held tonight in the community house here. Good music Is promised. Thomas E. West, chairman of the league's en tertainment committee, is in charge. 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