File No. 811.542/102

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain ( Willard )

No. 837

Sir: Referring to your despatch No. 1032 dated January 1, 1918, transmitting a memorandum of December 4, 1917, from the Spanish [Page 333] Embassy at Berlin,1 regarding the inquiry made by the German Government as to whether the legalization by Spanish diplomatic or consular representatives of documents pertaining to patent applications in the United States of German subjects is considered sufficient by the Patent Office, the Department has now received a reply from the Commissioner of Patents.

The Commissioner states that section 4892 of the Revised Statutes of the United States requires that an applicant for patent shall make oath that he verily believes himself to be the original and first inventor or discoverer of the art, machine, manufacture, composition or improvement for which he solicits a patent, and that this section also provides that when the applicant resides in a foreign country the oath may be taken before any minister, chargé d’affaires, consul or commercial agent holding commission under the Government of the United States, or before any notary public, judge, or magistrate having an official seal and authorized to administer oaths, whose authority shall be proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States.

He further states that section 10(a) of the Trading with the Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, provides that an enemy or ally of an enemy may file and prosecute an application for a patent or for the registration of a trade-mark, print, or label, and therefore he requested the Attorney General to inform him whether in view of the provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act he should consider that an applicant for a patent who was an enemy or ally of an enemy as defined in that act, had sufficiently complied with the provisions of section 4892 of the Revised Statutes of the United States when it appeared (1) that the oath which he had taken in an enemy country was administered by a Spanish diplomatic or consular officer or (2) that the authority of the officer who had administered the oath was proved by the certificate of a Spanish diplomatic or consular officer. The Attorney General replied that in neither instance had the applicant for a patent complied with the provisions of section 4892 and held that the Trading with the Enemy Act did not in any way modify the requirements of that section.

The Commissioner of Patents adds that while he has accepted applications for patent filed by German subjects in which the oaths were taken before a Spanish diplomatic or consular officer, or in which the authority of the official before whom the oath was taken was certified to by such an officer, for the purpose of examination, he has required that a new oath in conformity with the statute be filed before a patent can be issued.

You may transmit the substance of the foregoing to the Spanish Foreign Office with the request that it be transmitted to the Spanish [Page 334] Embassy in Berlin in response to its memorandum of December 4, 1914 [1917].

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Alvey A. Adee
  1. Not printed.