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Executive Order 11215—Establishing the President's Commission on the Patent System

April 08, 1965

WHEREAS the patent system established under the Constitution of the United States has contributed materially to the development of this country by furthering increased productivity, economic growth, and an enhanced standard of living and has strengthened the competitiveness of our products in world markets; and

WHEREAS we have experienced vast technological advances, particularly in recent decades, and industrial development continues to depend increasingly upon scientific and inventive endeavors; and

WHEREAS other industrial nations may be expected to exert vigorous efforts to obtain the greatest economic and social benefit from inventive activity; and

WHEREAS we and other nations are concerned with improving systems for the protection of industrial property to promote the beneficial exchange of products and services across national boundaries; and

WHEREAS the extensive international economic interests of the United States require that this Government take a leading role in international cooperation for the protection of industrial property; and

WHEREAS the patent system of the United States has developed a continuing backlog of patent applications and the cost of processing such applications increases constantly; and

WHEREAS the general character of our patent system has undergone no substantial change since 1836; and

WHEREAS it is now necessary to evaluate our patent system and to identify possible improvements in it:

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Commission established, (a) There is hereby established the President's Commission on the Patent System, hereinafter referred to as the Commission. The President shall designate the Chairman of the Commission from among its members.

(b) The Commission shall be composed of the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the Director of the National Science Foundation, or their respective designees, and not to exceed ten other members appointed by the President from the public at large.

(c) The Secretary of State and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology, or their designees, may sit with the Commission as observers.

Sec. 2. Functions of the Commission. The Commission shall recommend to the President steps to ensure that the patent system will be more effective in serving the public interest in view of the complex and rapidly changing technology of our time. Specifically, it snail direct its efforts toward (1) ascertaining the degree to which our patent system currently serves our national needs and international goals, (2) identifying any aspects of the system which may need change, (3) devising possible improvements in the system, and (4) recommending any legislation deemed essential to strengthen the United States patent system. In carrying out its evaluation, and in achieving these objectives, the Commission shall make an independent study of the existing patent system of the United States including its relationship to international and foreign patent systems, inventive activity and the administration of the system.

Sec. 3. Administrative arrangements. (a) Each member of the Commission who does not concurrently hold other compensated office or employment under the United States shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed in accordance with the standards and procedures of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended, or such other laws or procedures as may be applicable, and may also receive travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 73b-2) for persons in the Government service employed intermittently.

(b) The Department of Commerce is hereby designated as the agency which principally shall provide the Commission with necessary administrative facilities and services, including such advice as may be necessary to aid the Commission in the performance of its functions hereunder.

(c) Each Federal department or agency the head of which is referred to in Section 1(b) of this order shall, as may be necessary, furnish assistance to the Commission to accomplish the purposes of this order, in accordance with the provisions of Section 214 of the Act of May 3, 1945 (59 Stat. 134; 31 U.S.C. 691). Such assistance may include the detailing of employees to the Commission, one of whom may serve as its Executive Secretary, to perform such functions consistent with the purposes of this order as the Commission may assign to them.

(d) Each Federal department or agency shall, consonant with law and within the limits of available funds, cooperate with the Commission in carrying out its functions under this order. Such cooperation shall include, as may be appropriate, (1) furnishing relevant available information, (2) preparing reports or studies pursuant to requests by the Chairman, and (3) advising the Commission on its work pursuant to requests by the Chairman.

(e) The Commission shall have access to the records of the Patent Office and to other records of the Department of Commerce relating to patents, insofar as is not inconsistent with law.

Sec. 4. Reports; termination of Commission, (a) The Commission shall transmit to the President a preliminary report within one year after the date of this order and such interim reports as it shall deem appropriate. It shall submit its final report and recommendations to the President not later than 18 months after the date of this order.

(b) The Commission shall terminate not later than thirty days after date of transmittal of its final report to the President.

Sec. 5. Revocation. Executive Order No. 8977 of December 12, 1941, entitled "Establishing the National Patent Planning Commission," is hereby revoked.


The White House,

April 8, 1965.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Executive Order 11215—Establishing the President's Commission on the Patent System Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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