to Mr. Evarts.
Peking, December 29, 1880. (Received March 8, 1881.)
Sir: I have read with interest the suggestion of Mr. Consul Stahel, inclosed in your instruction No. 45, of October 4 last, that an attempt be made to secure by treaties with Japan and China protection in those countries by patent rights for American inventors. Though the commission plenipotentiary, for whose especial benefit the valuable inclosure is sent, has completed its work, I have given the subject consideration.
At present it is no doubt more easy and more important to secure the needed protection in Japan than in China.
After diligent inquiry I do not learn that the Chinese have any law or usage resembling our patent laws. It would, therefore, probably require considerable time and labor to secure a stipulation to protect foreign inventors. But moreover, very few of the Chinese, very few even of the officials, look with favor upon the introduction of labor-saving machines or foreign inventions of any kind. The foreigners resident at the ports may bring them in to a limited extent. But I fear that, for some time to come, the Chinese will not make sufficient use of our inventions to work much harm to our citizens. I wish the danger were [Page 223] greater. Still it is well to hold the subject under consideration in case of future revisions of treaties.
I have, &c.,