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Letter to Secretary Wallace Requesting a Study of the Patent Laws.

April 26, 1945

[Released April 26, 1945. Dated April 20, 1945]

My dear Mr. Secretary:

Much has lately been said and written to suggest that the patent statutes do not in all respects serve the constitutional purpose to promote the progress of science and useful arts, and that patents have been misused to support unlawful monopolies in contravention of the purposes of the anti-trust laws.

I believe the Congress would welcome such assistance as the executive branch of the government might be able to give in presenting the results of a full and objective study of the operation and effectiveness of the patent laws and their relation to the purposes of the anti-trust laws and to the post-war economy, together with specific proposals for such legislation as may seem to be appropriate. Thus far the several departments of the government have made no concerted effort to formulate a policy upon this subject.

Will you please undertake such study and submit to me your report and recommendations respecting the legislative proposals you think I should lay before the Congress. In so doing will you please consult with the Attorney General, the Director of Economic Stabilization, the Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and the Chairman of the National Patent Planning Commission.

Very sincerely yours,


Note: On April 26, 1945, a Department of Commerce release announced that Secretary Wallace had invited the officials listed in the President's letter to serve as a committee to make a full and objective study of the patent system, and that the Director of Economic Stabilization had consented to serve as chairman. The study, completed in 1947, was first published in 1960, with minor revisions, as Study No. 26 of the Subcommittee on Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (Government Printing Office, 1960).

Harry S Truman, Letter to Secretary Wallace Requesting a Study of the Patent Laws. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231385

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