Scientific American, Vol. 17, No. 26 December 28, 1867

Part 4 out of 4

perform in the compound:" or, as it is elsewhere expressed, such a
mixture should not receive the sanction of this department "unless
perhaps a satisfactory rationale should be given for the use of each of
the ingredients in the proportions named."

If the medical faculty were always satisfied themselves as to the
operation of the various remedies they employ, there might be more
reason in the objection. But it is well known that different schools
disagree widely on this subject, and there are remedies employed with
success the effect of which the most intelligent are unable to account
for. So long as there is a single one of this character to be found, and
while the operations of the vital functions are so concealed from us
that we are unable fully to comprehend the process by which any specific
operates, so long it is impossible to prescribe as a conditon of
patentability, a full explanation of the mode in which any one acts that
is brought forward. It would be still less justifiable to require such
an explanation as would content any particular class of medical men.
Every year new therapeutics are introduced into practice, and not
unfrequently some whose beneficial results are not understood. And as
long as one such may be found, it is not just to make it a condition of
its being protected by a patent, that the discoverer should bring the
scientific world to agree with him in his theory respecting it, nor even
that he should have one.

The man who stumbles upon a new and useful article is just as much
entitled to the exclusive use of it as if he had elaborated it by the
most profound and painful study. It is true that there is danger upon
this principle of countenancing mere nostrums, and giving them undue
prestige This can only be guarded against by the exercise of great
caution and requiring convincing proof of utility. Such his been
furnished in this case, in abundance.

The application cannot be rejected except upon such grounds as would
insure the rejection of nearly all medicines whatever. Nor is the Office
responsible for the false importance which the public may attach to its
proceedings, so long is they are confined to its legitimate province.
Its duties certainly must not be neglected, and meritorious petitions
refused, in order to obviate such misapprehensions.

The decision of the Primary Examiner is reversed.

[Transcribers note: full index of volume XVII. left out]


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