第10回:米国特許法の歴史~明細書及びクレーム-記載要件の規定の沿革~

著者:小野 康英(米国弁護士・米国弁理士(限定承認)、日本国弁理士)

1790年7月31日に付与された米国特許第1号の特許証(Letters Patent)(全文)

今回は米国特許法における明細書及びクレームの記載要件の規定の沿革を概観する。

1.1790年特許法(Patent Act of 1790)

米国議会(United States Congress)は、米国憲法(The United States Constitution)のいわゆる特許条項(Patent Clause)(第1章第8条第8項)に基づき、発明者に対してその発明者の発見に対する排他権を一定期間に限り認めることにより、科学及び有用な技術の発展を促進する目的で([t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to … Inventors the exclusive Right to their … Discoveries)、1790年特許法を制定した。これが米国初の特許法である。

1790年特許法は、特許付与の審査権限を、国務長官(Secretary of State)、司法長官(Attorney General)及び軍事長官(Secretary of War)から構成される特許合議体(Patent Board)に付与した。同法は、特許合議体を構成する長官の2名以上が、出願に係る発明又は発見(the invention or discovery)を十分に有用かつ重要である(sufficiently useful and important)と判断した場合に、米国政府の名において特許状(letters patent)を発行すべき旨を規定した(注1)

Patent Act of 1790, Ch. 7, 1 Stat. 110 (April 10, 1790), Sec. 1
“[U]pon the petition of any person or persons to the Secretary of State, the Secretary for the department of war, and the Attorney General of the United States, setting forth, that he, she, or they, hath or have invented or discovered any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement therein not before known or used, and praying that a patent may be granted therefor, it shall and may be lawful to and for the Secretary of State, the Secretary for the department of war, and the Attorney General, or any two of them, if they shall deem the invention or discovery sufficiently useful and important, to cause letters patent to be made out in the name of the United States, to bear teste by the President of the United States, reciting the allegations and suggestions of the said petition, and describing the said invention or discovery, clearly, truly and fully, and thereupon granting to such petitioner or petitioners, his, her or their heirs, administrators or assigns for any term not exceeding fourteen years, the sole and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using and vending to others to be used, the said invention or discovery;”. (emphases added)

なお、初代特許合議体の構成員は、それぞれ当時、国務長官であったトーマス・ジェファーソン(Thomas Jefferson)、司法長官であったエドムンド・ランドルフ(Edmund Randolph)及び軍事長官であったヘンリー・ノックス(Henry Knox)であった(注2)

1790年特許法は、特許を受ける者(grantee[] of each patent)に対し、特許を認める代償として、発明又は発見に関する「先行技術との区別」及び「実施可能性」の記述(description)を含む明細書(specification)の提出を求めた。また、1790年特許法は、発明の性質が許す場合には、発明に係る物の見本(model)の提出をも求めた。

Patent Act of 1790, Ch. 7, 1 Stat. 110 (April 10, 1790), Sec. 2
[T]he grantee[] of each patent shall, at the time of granting the same, deliver to the Secretary of State a specification in writing, containing a description, accompanied with drafts or models, and explanations and models (if the nature of the invention or discovery will admit of a model) of the thing or things, by him or them invented or discovered, and described as aforesaid, in the said patents; which specification shall be so particular, and said models so exact, as not only to distinguish the invention or discovery from other things before known and used, but also to enable a workman or other person skilled in the art or manufacture[] to make, construct, or use the same, to the end that the public may have the full benefit thereof, after the expiration of the patent term[]. (emphases added)

1790年特許法は、明細書において、特許による保護を求める範囲を規定する記載事項、すなわち、現行法のクレームに相当する記載事項を想定していなかった。

2.1793年特許法(Patent Act of 1793)

1793年特許法は、1790年特許法における実体審査の要件(”if they shall deem the invention or discovery sufficiently useful and important”)を削除することで、無審査制度を導入した。

Patent Act of 1793, Ch. 11, 1 Stat. 318-323 (February 21, 1793), Sec. 1
“[W]hen any person or persons, being a citizen or citizens of the United States, shall allege that he or they have invented any new and useful art, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement on any art, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, not known or used before the application, and shall present a petition to the Secretary of State, signifying a desire of obtaining an exclusive property in the same, and praying that a patent may be granted therefor, it shall and may be lawful for the said Secretary of State, to cause letters patent to be made out in the name of the United States[.]” (emphases added)

Pasquale J. Federico氏は、この制度改正の理由として、1790年特許法における特許の審査が米国政府の要人に過大な負担をかけたことを挙げている(注3)

一方、1793年特許法は、明細書の記載要件について、1790年特許法の形式的事項を変更したが、実体的内容を維持したと考えられる。

Patent Act of 1793, Ch. 11, 1 Stat. 318-323 (February 21, 1793), Sec. 3
“[E]very inventor, before he can receive a patent, … shall deliver a written description of his invention, and of the manner of using, or process of compounding the same, in such full, clear and exact terms, as to distinguish the same from all other things before known, and to enable any person skilled in the art or science, of which it is a branch, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make, compound, and use the same. And in the case of any machine, he shall fully explain the principle, and the several modes in which he has contemplated the application of that principle or character, by which it may be distinguished from other inventions; and he shall accompany the whole with drawings and written references, where the nature of the case admits of drawings, or with specimens of the ingredients, and of the composition of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment, where the invention is of a composition of matter; which description, signed by himself and attested by two witnesses, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State[.]” (emphasis added)

この1793年特許法3条は、”best mode”という用語こそ用いていないものの、”in the case of any machine, he shall fully explain the principle, and the several modes in which he has contemplated the application of that principle or character, by which it may be distinguished from other inventions”により、最良実施形態要件(Best Mode Requirement)の原型ともいえる要件を提示しているとも考えられる。なお、さらに遡って、1790年特許法1条の”describing the said invention or discovery, clearly, truly and fully”をその原型とみることができるかもしれない。

米国最高裁は、Evans事件(1822年)において、1793年特許法の解釈として、明細書の2つの要件を明らかにした。1つは、発明の生産、使用等を当業者に可能とする程度の記載を求める実施可能要件(Enablement Requirement)である。もう一つは、発明者による発明の保持(possession)を公衆に公示する記載を求める記述要件(Written Description Requirement)である。これら2つの要件に、現行特許法(35 U.S.C.)における明細書の記載要件(112(a))の原型をみることができる。

Evans v. Eaton, 20 U.S. 356 (1822)
The specification, then, has two objects; one is to make known the manner of constructing the machine (if the invention is of a machine) so as to enable artizans to make and use it, and thus to give the public the full benefit of the discovery after the expiration of the patent. … The other object of the specification is, to put the public in possession of what the party claims as his own invention, so as to ascertain if he claim any thing that is in common use, or is already known, and to guard against prejudice or injury fro the use of an invention which the party may otherwise innocently suppose not to be patented.” (emphases added)

3.1836年特許法(Patent Act of 1836)

1793年特許法の無審査制度は、40年以上の運用の結果、米国議会の中から「おびただしい数の無価値でかつ無効な特許が認められている([a] considerable portion of some of the patents granted are worthless and void)」及び「多大な訴訟が提起され、それは憂慮すべき程度に達しており、裁判所にとって厄介であり、当事者にとって被害甚大であり、社会にとって有害である(great number of law suits arise, which are daily increasing in an alarming degree, onerous to the courts, ruinous to the parties, and injurious to society)」という声が出る程に不評だった(注4)

これに対処するべく、1836年特許法は、米国特許商標庁(USPTO: United States Patent and Trademark Office)の起源である特許庁(Patent Office)を設立した(注5)

Patent Act of 1836, Ch. 357, 5 Stat. 117 (July 4, 1836), Sec. 1.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established and attached to the Department of State, an office to be denominated the Patent Office; the chief officer of which shall be called the Commissioner of Patents, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose duty it shall be, under the direction of the Secretary of State, to superintend, execute, and perform, all such acts and things touching and respecting the granting and issuing of patents for new and useful discoveries, inventions, and improvements, as are herein provided for, or shall hereafter be, by law, directed to be done and performed, and shall have the charge and custody of all the books, records, papers, models, machines, and all other things belonging to said office. And said Commissioner shall receive the same compensation as is allowed by law to the Commissioner of the Indian Department, and shall be entitled to send and receive letters and packages by mail, relating to the business of the office, free of postage.

1836年特許法は、その上で、特許庁長官(Commissioner of Patents)(又は長官に指名された審査官)が、特許出願の実体審査を行い、その発明又は発見(the invention or discovery)を十分に有用かつ重要である(sufficiently useful and important)と判断した場合に、特許(patent)を発行すべき旨を規定した。すなわち、米国議会は、1793年特許法で一度は廃止した審査制度を1836年特許法で復活させたのである。

Patent Act of 1836, Ch. 357, 5 Stat. 117 (July 4, 1836), Sec. 7.
“[O]n the filing of any such application, description, and specification, and the payment of the duty hereinafter provided, the Commissioner shall make or cause to be made, an examination of the alleged new invention or discovery; and if, on any such examination, it shall not appear to the Commissioner that the same had been invented or discovered by any other person in this country prior to the alleged invention or discovery thereof by the applicant, or that it had been patented or described in any printed publication in this or any foreign country, or had been in public use or on sale with the applicant’s consent or allowance prior to the application, if the Commissioner shall deem it to be sufficiently useful and important, it shall be his duty to issue a patent therefor. But whenever, on such examination, it shall appear to the Commissioner that the applicant was not the original and first inventor or discoverer thereof, or that any part of that which is claimed as new had before been invented or discovered, or patented, or described in any printed publication in this or any foreign country, as aforesaid, or that the description is defective and insufficient, he shall notify the applicant thereof, giving him, briefly, such information and references as may be useful in judging of the propriety of renewing his application, or of altering his specification to embrace only that part of the invention or discovery which is new.” (emphases added)

なお、1790年特許法は「特許状を発行する(させる)」と規定していたが(”to cause letters patent to be made out in the name of the United States”)、1836年特許法ではそれが「特許を発行する」と変更された(”issue a patent”)。

さらに、1836年特許法は、上で紹介したEvans事件(1822年)を踏まえて、明細書の記載要件として、「発明者が自己の発明又は発見として主張する部分、改善又は組合せを特定する(particularly specify and point out the part, improvement, or combination, which he claims as his own invention or discovery)」との要件を課すことを明確にした。

Patent Act of 1836, Ch. 357, 5 Stat. 117 (July 4, 1836), Sec. 6.
“[B]efore any inventor shall receive a patent for any such new invention or discovery [(as any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement on any art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter)], he shall deliver a written description of his invention or discovery, and of the manner and process of making, constructing, using, and compounding the same, in such full, clear, and exact terms, avoiding unnecessary prolixity, as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which it appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make, construct, compound, and use the same; and in case of any machine, he shall fully explain the principle and the several modes in which he has contemplated the application of that principle or character by which it may be distinguished from other inventions; and shall particularly specify and point out the part, improvement, or combination, which he claims as his own invention or discovery. …” (emphases added)

本規定は、現行特許法におけるクレームの明確性要件(112(b))の原型を規定するようにみえ、これにより、明細書の一部としてのクレームという記載事項が認知されるようになった。ただし、1836年特許法6条は、クレームを必須記載事項とするものではないと解されている。

Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996)
Claim practice did not achieve statutory recognition until the passage of the Act of July 4, 1836, ch. 357, § 6, 5 Stat. 119, and inclusion of a claim did not become a statutory requirement until 1870, Act of July 8, 1870, ch. 230, § 26, 16 Stat. 201; see 1 A. Deller, Patent Claims § 4, p. 9 (2d ed.1971). Although, as one historian has observed, as early as 1850 “judges were … beginning to express more frequently the idea that in seeking to ascertain the invention ‘claimed’ in a patent the inquiry should be limited to interpreting the summary, or ‘claim,’[] “[t]he idea that the claim is just as important if not more important than the description and drawings did not develop until the Act of 1870 or thereabouts.” Deller, supra, § 4, at 9.” (emphasis added)

4.1870年特許法(Patent Act of 1870)

1870年特許法は、明細書に記述要件及び実施可能要件を課す枠組みを維持した。

また、同法は、初めて”best mode”の語を用いて最良実施形態要件を規定した。

さらに、1836年特許法以降に認知されるようになったクレームは、1870年特許法により必須記載事項となった。

Patent Act of 1870, Ch. 230, 16 Stat. 198-217 (July 8, 1870), Sec. 26.
“[B]efore any inventor or discoverer shall receive a patent for his invention or discovery, he shall make application therefor, in writing, to the commissioner, and shall file in the patent office a written description of the same, and of the manner and process of making, constructing, compounding, and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which it appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make, construct, compound, and use the same; and in case of a machine, he shall explain the principle thereof, and the best mode in which he has contemplated applying that principle so as to distinguish it from other inventions; and he shall particularly point out and distinctly claim the part, improvement, or combination which he claims as his invention or discovery; and said specification and claim shall be signed by the inventor and attested by two witnesses.” (emphases added)

5.1952年特許法(Patent Act of 1952)

現行特許法制定当時(1952年当時)、明細書及びクレームの記載要件は以下のとおり規定された。

Patent Act of 1952 (35 U.S.C.), Public Law 593, 66 Stat. 792 (July 19, 1952), Sec. 112 Specification
“The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention.

The specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention.

An element in a claim for a combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function without the recital of structure, material, or acts in support thereof, and such claim shall be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof.”

1952年特許法は、明細書の記載要件について、1870年特許法における枠組みを維持した。

一方、1952年特許法は、クレームの記載要件について、112 ¶ 2及び¶ 3の2つを設けた。

112 ¶ 2はクレームの明確性要件を規定する。112 ¶ 2は、基本的に、それよりも前の明細書の記載要件の規定を承継する内容となっているが、112 ¶ 1から分離して規定されることにより、クレームの重要性が強調されている点、及び、クレームの数が複数あることを前提とする”one or more claims”との記載が加わっている点で、それよりも前の規定と異なっている(注6)

112 ¶ 3は機能表現クレーム(MPF claim: Means-Plus-Function Claim)(構造、材料又は行為を規定する代わりに、特定の機能を実行する手段又は工程の形で表現された構成要素を含むクレーム)についての規定である。112 ¶ 3は、機能表現クレームを常に無効と判示したHalliburton Oil Well Cementing Co. v. Walker, 329 U.S. 1 (1946)を立法的に覆す趣旨で新設された規定である。その沿革は、「第5回:米国特許法の基本~MPEPの法規範性(その2)~」にて紹介した。

さらに、従属クレームについての規定が1965年に追加され(Public Law 89-83, sec. 9, 79 Stat. 261 (July 24, 1965))、多重従属クレームについての規定が1975年に追加された(Public Law 94-131, sec. 7, 89 Stat. 691 (November 14, 1975)(注7)

さらに、リーヒ・スミス米国発明法(Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (Sept.16, 2011))により、112条内の項番号が変更された(注8)

以上の沿革を経て、現行特許法(35 U.S.C.)は、明細書及びクレームの記載要件を以下のとおり規定する。

35 U.S.C. 112 Specification.
“(a) IN GENERAL.—The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of carrying out the invention.
(b) CONCLUSION.—The specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention.
(c) FORM.—A claim may be written in independent or, if the nature of the case admits, in dependent or multiple dependent form.
(d) REFERENCE IN DEPENDENT FORMS.—Subject to subsection (e), a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.
(e) REFERENCE IN MULTIPLE DEPENDENT FORM.—A claim in multiple dependent form shall contain a reference, in the alternative only, to more than one claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.
(f) ELEMENT IN CLAIM FOR A COMBINATION.—An element in a claim for a combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function without the recital of structure, material, or acts in support thereof, and such claim shall be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof.”

【参考訳】
(a)総論—[(1)]明細書は、発明の記述を含まなければならない。[(2)]また、明細書は、その発明の属する技術分野又はこれに最も密接に関連する技術分野の当業者がその発明を生産及び使用できる程度に十分で、明瞭で、簡潔でかつ正確な用語を用いた、その発明の生産及び使用の態様並びにプロセスの記述を含まなければならない。[(3)]さらに、明細書は、その発明者又は共同発明者が考える、その発明の実施に最良の実施形態を説明しなければならない。
(b)完結—明細書は、発明者又は共同発明者が自己の発明と考える主題を具体的に特定し、かつ、明瞭に請求する1以上のクレームで完結しなければならない。
(c)形式-クレームは、独立形式で、又は、発明の性質が許す場合には、従属形式若しくは多重従属形式で、記載することができる。
(d)従属形式による参照-第(e)項に従うことを条件として、従属形式のクレームは、先行クレームを引用し、かつ、クレームされた主題をさらに限定しなければならない。従属形式のクレームは、これが引用する先行クレームの全ての限定を含むものと解釈される。
(e)多重従属形式による参照-多重従属形式のクレームは、択一的に、先行する2以上のクレームを引用し、かつ、クレームされた主題をさらに限定しなければならない。多重従属形式のクレームは、他の多重従属形式のクレームの基礎(被引用クレーム)となることができない。多重従属形式のクレームは、これが引用する全ての先行クレームの全ての限定を含むものと解釈される。
(f)組合せに係るクレームの構成要素―組合せに係るクレームの構成要素は、その構造、材料又は行為を規定することなく、特定の機能を実行する手段又は工程の形に表現することができる。そのクレームは、明細書に記載された対応する構造、材料又は行為、及びその均等物を権利範囲に含むと解釈する。

少し補足をすると、112条(a)第1文(”The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same”)については、過去、連邦巡回区控訴裁(Fed. Cir.: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit)において、以下の2つの見解が厳しく対立していた。

(見解1)”in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art … to make and use the same”は”making and using”を修飾すると解して、第1文は2つの独立した要件、すなわち、記述要件(description requirement)及び実施可能要件(enablement requirement)を規定する

(見解2)”in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art … to make and use the same”は”shall contain”を修飾すると解して、第1文は実施可能要件(enablement requirement)という1つの要件を規定する

連邦巡回区控訴裁大法廷は、9対2で、(見解1)を採用した(Ariad事件(2010年))。112条(a)第1文はこの判例の理解がなければ、日本語への翻訳が難しいと考えられる。

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Co., 598 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc), opinion for the court by Circuit Judge Lourie
“We[] read the statute to give effect to its language that the specification “shall contain a written description of the invention” and hold that § 112, first paragraph, contains two separate description requirements: a “written description [i] of the invention, and [ii] of the manner and process of making and using [the invention”]. 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 1 (emphasis added).”

“[W]e see nothing in the statute’s language or grammar that unambiguously dictates that the adequacy of the “written description of the invention” must be determined solely by whether that description identifies the invention so as to enable one of skill in the art to make and use it. The prepositional phrase “in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art … to make and use the same” modifies only “the written description … of the manner and process of making and using [the invention],” []without violating the rules of grammar. That the adequacy of the description of the manner and process of making and using the invention is judged by whether that description enables one skilled in the art to make and use the same follows from the parallelism of the language.”

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Co., 598 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc), dissenting-in-part-and-concurring-in-part opinion by Circuit Judge Rader.
“First and foremost, the separate written description requirement that the court petrifies today has no statutory support. As noted, § 112, first paragraph, reads as follows: …

This language, while cumbersome, is unambiguous. It says that the written descriptions of the invention and of the manner and process of making and using the invention are both judged by whether they are in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable a person skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The reason for a description doctrine is clear: to ensure that the inventor fully discloses the invention in exchange for an exclusive right. The test for the adequacy of the specification that describes the invention is also clear: Is the description sufficient to enable a person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the claimed invention? Nowhere does the paragraph require that the inventor satisfy some quixotic possession requirement.”

なお、現行特許法は、明細書の記載要件として最良実施形態要件を引き続き課しているが、AIAに基づく特許法改正により、最良実施形態要件は無効理由から除外された。

35 U.S.C. 282 Presumption of validity; defenses.
“(a) IN GENERAL.—A patent shall be presumed valid. Each claim of a patent (whether in independent, dependent, or multiple dependent form) shall be presumed valid independently of the validity of other claims; dependent or multiple dependent claims shall be presumed valid even though dependent upon an invalid claim. The burden of establishing invalidity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity.
(b) DEFENSES.—The following shall be defenses in any action involving the validity or infringement of a patent and shall be pleaded:
(1) Noninfringement, absence of liability for infringement, or unenforceability.
(2) Invalidity of the patent or any claim in suit on any ground specified in part II as a condition for patentability.
(3) Invalidity of the patent or any claim in suit for failure to comply with—
(A) any requirement of section 112 , except that the failure to disclose the best mode shall not be a basis on which any claim of a patent may be canceled or held invalid or otherwise unenforceable; or
(B) any requirement of section 251 .
(4) Any other fact or act made a defense by this title.” (emphasis added)

米国特許審査基準(MPEP: Manual of Patent Examining Procedure)は、審査では引き続き最良実施形態要件を審査するとしているが、審査官は、主観的要件を審査するための情報をもっておらず、最良実施形態要件は、通常、審査されないと考えられる(注9)

以上の米国特許法における明細書及びクレームの記載要件の規定の沿革を踏まえて、次回、現行特許法(35 U.S.C.)におけるクレームの法的位置づけを検討する。

【注釈】

(注1)1790年特許法下で発行された米国特許第1号は、炭酸カリウム(potassium carbonate)の製造装置及び製造方法に関し、Samuel Hopkins氏に対して1790年7月31日に付与された。本特許の特許証(原本は手書き)には、当時の大統領(George Washington)及び司法長官(Edmund Randolph)の署名が付されている。本特許証の全文は以下のとおりである。
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X000001
July 31, 1790

The United States
To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting.

Whereas Samuel Hopkins of the City of Philadelphia and State of Pennsylvania hath discovered an Improvement, not known or used before, such Discovery, in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process; that is to say, in the making of Pearl ash 1st. by burning the raw Ashes in a Furnace, 2d. by dissolving and boiling them when so burnt in Water, 3rd. by drawing off and settling the Ley, and 4th. by boiling the Ley into Salts which then are the true Pearl ash; and also in the making of Pot ash by fluxing the Pearl ash so made as aforesaid; which Operation of burning the raw Ashes in a Furnace, preparatory to their Dissolution and boiling in Water, is new, leaves little Residuum; and produces a much greater Quantity of Salt: These are therefore in pursuance of the Act, entitled “An Act to promote the Progress of useful Arts”, to grant to the said Samuel Hopkins, his Heirs, Administrators and Assigns, for the Term of fourteen Years, the sole and exclusive Right and Liberty of using, and vending to others the said Discovery, of burning the raw Ashes previous to their being dissolved and boiled in Water, according to the true Intent and Meaning, of the Act aforesaid. In Testimony whereof I have caused these Letters to be made patent, and the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed. Given under my Hand at the City of New York this thirty first Day of July in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & Ninety.

G. Washington

City of New York July 31st. 1790.
I do hereby testify that the foregoing Letters Patent were delivered to me in pursuance of the Act, entitled “An Act to promote the Progress of useful Arts”; that I have examined the same, and find them conformable to the said Act.

Edm. Randolph Attorney General for the United States.

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ちなみに、それから約228年後の2018年6月19日に、米国特許第10,000,000号が発行された。本特許は、周波数変調レーザーを用いた検出及び測距(frequency-modulated laser detection and ranging)に関する。本特許の公報フロントページは以下のとおりである。本特許にはクレームが20ある(独立クレーム3、従属クレーム17)。

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(注2)現在の米国特許商標庁のAlexandria本部(Alexandria campus)(バージニア州所在)にある建物のうちの3つは、この3者の名にちなんで命名された。ちなみに、Remsen Building及びMadison Buildingは、それぞれ、Henry Remsen, Jr.及びJames Madisonにちなんで命名された。Henry Remsen, Jr.は初代特許合議体の主席書記官(chief clerk of the first patent board)であった。また、James Madisonは、第4代米国大統領(fourth President of the United States)として有名であるが、特許との関係では、米国建国時に、連邦制度を推進するフェデラリスト(連邦制度推進派)として多数の啓蒙論文を執筆し、その中で、著作物と並んで発明を連邦制度で保護すべきことを提唱した人物である。Federalist Paper No. 43 (“The utility of this power will scarcely be questioned. The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors.”). その提唱が、米国憲法第1章第8条第8項特許条項の創設へとつながり、これが米国特許法の基礎となっているという意味において、James Madisonは米国特許法の父と呼ぶことのできる人物である。

出典:https://www.uspto.gov/image/campus_map.jpg

なお、かつては、特許出願についての審査官との直接の意思疎通の手段である対面インタビュー(personal interview)の目的でこれらの建物のいずれかに入館する機会のあった特許実務家も多かったと思われる。一方、近年は、審査官の在宅勤務(hoteling or telework)が普及したこともあり、審査官との直接の意思疎通の手段は電話インタビュー(telephone interview)が大勢となり、実務上、米国特許商標庁へ出張することは稀となりつつある。
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(注3) Pasquale J. Federico, The Patent Act of 1793, 18 J. Pat. Off. Soc’y 77 (1936) (SPECIAL ISSUE).
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(注4)これらの発言を含む報告書はRuggles 上院議員により米国議会に提出された。P.J. Frederico, supra note 53.
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(注5)
無審査主義を採用した1793年特許法が効力を有する中、1836年特許法の特許庁の前身として機能する特許責任者(Superintendent of Patents)が既に任命されていた。ただし、1793年特許法は無審査主義を採用していたので、この特許責任者が、特許出願の実体審査を行っていた又は行わせていたのではない。

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FindLaw – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

History and Development

Congress established the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue patents on behalf of the government. The Patent Office as a distinct bureau dates from the year 1802, when a separate official in the Department of State who became known as “Superintendent of Patents” was placed in charge of patents. The revision of the patent laws, enacted in 1836, reorganized the Patent Office and designated the official in charge as Commissioner of Patents. The Patent Office remained in the Department of State until 1849 when it was transferred to the Department of Interior. In 1925 it was transferred to the Department of Commerce where it is today. The name of the Patent Office was changed to the Patent and Trademark Office in 1975 and changed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2000.

https://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/the-u-s-patent-and-trademark-office.html
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記録によると、初代の特許責任者はWilliam Thornton (1802-1828)とされている。Thornton氏及び後任者の経歴については、以下のURLを参照のこと。

https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/past-uspto-leaders

ちなみに、米国特許商標庁(United States Patent and Trademark Office)という名の組織が誕生したのは、2000年のことである。

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(注6) Pasquale J. Federico, Commentary on the New Patent Act, reprinted in 75 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y 161 (1993).
“Specification (section 112). The provisions of former R.S. 4888 relating to the specification are set out in section 112, except that the sentence relating to plant patents has been transferred to section 162 and the requirement that the specification be signed has been omitted in view of the general requirement for a signature to the application in section 111. Also changes in arrangement and in language have been made.

The specification must contain “a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same.” This language is the same as in the old statute[] with only some slight reduction in wording. The clause in the old statute relating to machine patents and requiring the best mode in such cases has been omitted as unnecessary and a clause has been added requiring that the specification “shall set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out this invention.” Although not the same, this requirement is partly derived from and replaces the first defense specified in old R.S. 4920 (see under section 282) as well as being a revision and extension of the old clause which related only to machines. This requirement, it should be noted, is not absolute, since it only requires disclosure of the best mode contemplated by the inventor, presumably at the time of filing the application.

In the old statute the requirement for a claim pointing out what the applicant regarded as his invention appeared as a clause in the same sentence relating to the description, which led to some confounding of the nature of the two requirements in a few decisions.[] In the new statute the clause relating to the claim has been made a separate paragraph to emphasize the distinction between the description and the claim, and the language has been modified.[] The possible existence of more than one claim in a patent is recognized in the new language.

[] The last paragraph of section 112 relating to so-called functional claims is new[.] It provides that an element of a claim for a combination (and a combination may be not only a combination of mechanical elements, but also a combination of substances in a composition claim, or steps in a process claim) may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function, without the recital of structure, material or acts in support thereof[.] It is unquestionable that some measure of greater liberality in the use of functional expressions in combination claims is authorized than had been permitted by some court decisions and that decisions such as that in Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Co. v. Walker, 67 S.Ct. 6, 329 U.S. 1, 91 L. Ed. 3 (1946), are modified or rendered obsolete, but the exact limits of the enlargement remain to be determined. The language specifies “an” element, which means “any” element, and by this language, as well as by application of the general rule that the singular includes the plural, it follows that more than one of the elements of a combination claim may be expressed as different “means” plus statements of function. The language does not go so far as to permit a so-called single means claim, that is a claim which recites merely one means plus a statement of function and nothing else. Attempts to evade this by adding purely nominal elements to such a claim will undoubtedly be condemned. The paragraph ends by stating that such a claim shall be construed to cover the corresponding structure, material, or acts described in the specification and equivalents thereof[.] This relates primarily to the construction of such claims for the purpose of determining when the claim is infringed (note the use of the word “cover”), and would not appear to have much, if any, applicability in determining the patentability of such claims over the prior art, that is, the Patent Office is not authorized to allow a claim which “reads on” the prior art.” (emphases added)
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(注7) Public Law 94-131, sec. 7, 89 Stat. 691 (November 14, 1975), Sec. 7.
“The second sentence of the second paragraph of section 112 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“Sec. 112. Specification //35 USC 112.//

* * * * *

“A claim may be written in independent or, if the nature of the case admits, in dependent or multiple dependent form.

“Subject to the following paragraph, a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.

“A claim in multiple dependent form shall contain a reference, in the alternative only, to more than one claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.”.”
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(注8) Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (Sept.16, 2011), SEC. 4. INVENTOR’S OATH OR DECLARATION.
“(c) Specification- Section 112 of title 35, United States Code, is amended–
(1) in the first undesignated paragraph–
(A) by striking “The specification” and inserting “(a) In General- The specification”; and
(B) by striking “of carrying out his invention” and inserting “or joint inventor of carrying out the invention”;
(2) in the second undesignated paragraph–
(A) by striking “The specification” and inserting “(b) Conclusion- The specification”; and
(B) by striking “applicant regards as his invention” and inserting “inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention”;
(3) in the third undesignated paragraph, by striking “A claim” and inserting “(c) Form- A claim”;
(4) in the fourth undesignated paragraph, by striking “Subject to the following paragraph,” and inserting “(d) Reference in Dependent Forms- Subject to subsection (e),”;
(5) in the fifth undesignated paragraph, by striking “A claim” and inserting “(e) Reference in Multiple Dependent Form- A claim”; and
(6) in the last undesignated paragraph, by striking “An element” and inserting “(f) Element in Claim for a Combination- An element”.”
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(注9) UPSTOの公式見解は以下のとおりである。

MPEP 2165 The Best Mode Requirement [R-08.2017]
“II. IMPACT OF FAILURE TO DISCLOSE THE BEST MODE PURSUANT TO THE AIA
Section 15 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (September 16, 2011), did not eliminate the requirement in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, for a disclosure of the best mode, (see 35 U.S.C. 112(a)) but effective September 16, 2011, it amended 35 U.S.C. 282 (the provision that sets forth defenses in a patent validity or infringement proceeding) to provide that the failure to disclose the best mode shall not be a basis on which any claim of a patent may be canceled or held invalid or otherwise unenforceable. As this change is applicable only in patent validity or infringement proceedings, it does not alter current patent examining practices as set forth above for evaluation of an application for compliance with the best mode requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112.” (emphasis added)
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著者:小野 康英

米国弁護士(*)・米国弁理士(限定承認)(**)、日本国弁理士
Westerman Hattori Daniels & Adrian, LLP勤務
前職:パナソニックIPマネジメント株式会社
(*)コロンビア特別区(DC)、カリフォルニア州(CA)、ニューヨーク州(NY)
(**) 37 C.F.R. 11.9(b)

より詳しい経歴はこちら

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