871.542 Universal Oil Products Co./5
The Minister in Rumania (Harrison) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 10.]
Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 34 of March 3, 1936,11 with regard to the steps taken by the Legation to protect the interests of the Universal Oil Products Company in connection with the Rumanian patents of the Dubbs petroleum cracking process, I have the honor to report the following developments in the case since the submission of my despatch No. 56 of February 22 last.
Subsequent to the delivery of the Aide-Mémoire, as reported in my despatch No. 56 last referred to above, I mentioned the matter again to Mr. Savel Radulescu in the course of my call at the Ministry of Foreign [Page 433]Affairs on February 25. Mr. Radulescu stated that he was glad that I had brought the matter again to his attention. He said that he had referred my Aide-Mémoire to his legal advisers for an opinion as to whether the matter was one to be considered by the Foreign Office rather than the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. He assured me that he would urge that the matter be expedited. I explained that I had been informed that the case had been referred to the Supreme Council of Lawyers by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for an advisory opinion and that I hoped that the provisions of Article 5 of the Washington Convention would not be overlooked and that he would find it possible to bring this point to the attention of the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Subsequently, after his return to Bucharest following the Easter holidays, I dined with the Minister of Industry and Commerce and took the opportunity to refer to my interest in the case and inquired whether he had received a copy of the Aide-Mémoire I had left with Mr. Radulescu. Mr. Costinescu replied that he had received nothing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked me to send him a copy of the Aide-Mémoire. This I did on April 2. A copy of my personal note to the Minister is enclosed herewith.12
Mr. Ion Edeleanu, the local representative of the company, was kept informed of these developments and during this time he appeared to be hopeful that the findings of the Supreme Council of Lawyers, to whom the case had been referred for an advisory opinion, would be favorable.
This was the situation when on May 6 there appeared in the Monitorul Oficial No. 102 of May 5, page 3880, brief notice of the issuance of Royal Decree No. 1052 of May 4, 1936, “annulling” all four patents held by the company.
Thereupon, I telephoned to Mr. Edeleanu and learned that a decision had not been expected and that the decree had been a surprise. Later, the same day, Mr. Edeleanu informed me that he had ascertained confidentially that the advisory opinion of the Supreme Council of Lawyers had not in so many words recommended annulment; that it had, in fact, pointed out that the provisions of the Washington Convention were controlling; and that in the event that the Minister of Industry and Commerce should find that the evidence submitted by the company was not sufficient to overcome the accusation of failure to “exploit” the patents within the period specified in the law, then the Minister was empowered to annul the patents.
Mr. Edeleanu explained that he had had an opportunity to examine the dossier in the Patent Office, to which it had been returned for filing and where it is open to inspection upon request. But that even [Page 434]while he was examining the dossier, instructions were received by the Director of the Patent Office to remove from the file the advisory opinion of the Supreme Council of Lawyers on which the Minister of Industry and Commerce had written instructions for the preparation of the Decree of Annulment. Hence, at the present time the file does not include any “referat” of the Patent Office or other section of the Ministry, which should be based on the advisory opinion and set forth the considered grounds on which the decree of annulment was to issue. The advisory opinion appears to have been used in lieu of a “referat” and, as it has been withdrawn, the interested parties are without precise information as to exact grounds on which the annulment was based. The text of the Royal Decree, of which a translation is enclosed,13 merely refers to Articles 9 and 10 of the Law and fails to specify which of the provisions of Article 9 have not been complied with.
On May 8, Mr. Edeleanu, accompanied by Mr. Segui,14 head of the company’s legal department, resident in Washington, D. C, called upon me and informed me that the company’s local legal advisers were considering filing action against the Ministry in the Court of Appeals with a view to the annulment of the Royal Decree and reinstatement of the patents in question. They were also considering the desirability of bringing a separate action before the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court), which might be found necessary in order to protect themselves against the possibility that the Court of Appeals should decline to accept jurisdiction on the grounds that the Ministry had acted as a juridical body and not as an administrative body.
The case stands thus at the present time.