A far-reaching decision upholding the right of patentees to dictate absolutely how their patented articles may be sold by retailers, and declaring legal the inventors' "monopoly" in his selling contracts, was made by the supreme court of the United States last week. The case involved alleged infringement in selling supplies for use on a patented rotary mimeograph. A notice on the machine set forth that it was sold on the restriction that it was to be used only with supplies made by the patenting company. In announcing the opinion Justice Lurton said this conclusion resulted from the proper construction of the patent statutes. The very object of this statute, he said, was to give a monopoly to the inventor, and the fact that he continues that monopoly in his contracts, disposing of his articles by charging such price as he pleases. was not illegal. If such conditions interfered with public policy, he said, Congress alone must change the patent law. Only seven justices sat in the case, Justice Day not being present and the seat of the late Justice Harlan being still unfilled. Chief Justice White and Justices Hughes and Lamar dissented. The chief justice said he did so because he hoped a dissenting opinion might serve as an antidote to a poison that might enter in the future into millions of transactions touching every phase of society, and he hoped to call attention to the fact that this was a question of construction, and that if untold evils were not to follow Congress must act. Congress is already taking action through a number of bills presented.

In considering the arbitration peace treaties between France and Great Britain the Senate eliminated bodily the third clause of article three, which made the decisions of the high commission final as to the arbitrability of differences. Government officials who followed the negotiations of the two pacts agree that participation by the United States in general arbitration of international difficulties is a dead issue so far as this session of Congress is concerned, and probably for some years to come. It is thought that President Taft will not submit the treaties in their changed form to either of the powers for possible approval.

March 23, 1912

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