HEIRS OF DUNCAN CAMPBELL
Duncan H. Campbell, late of the city of Pawtucket, in the State of Rhode Island, was a native of Scotland and a naturalized citizen of the United States, who obtained Letters Patent US 231.954 September 7, 1880, for a sewing machine, the particular value of which was in the fact that it successfully carried and operated a waxed thread.
He also obtained on January 31, 1882, Letters Patent US 253.156 for a wax-thread sewing machine. Three-fourths interest in each of these inventions was assigned to other parties, namely, H. B. Metcalf, Frank E. Comey and Daniel McNiven, for nominal consideration, upon condition that a company or corporation should be formed to exploit said inventions and manufacture said machines, in which company or corporation said Campbell should have a certain amount of stock, should be a director and should receive continuous employment at a compensation to be agreed upon. This company was formed and to it were assigned the patents herein referred to. It entered upon the transaction of its business and for some time said Campbell was employed and enjoyed all the rights contemplated for him in the original agreement, in the meantime working other and different inventions, among them a so-called welt machine of great value. These subsequent inventions were claimed to be included in the original agreement and it was claimed by the company should be at once assigned without further consideration. This was resisted by Mr. Campbell and the committee do not find that the contention of the company is sustained by the evidence presented. Mr. Campbell resisting this demand, the relations between himself and the directors of the company became strained to such an extent that he was dropped from membership in the board of trustees and said board, without authority except its own will, arbitrarily canceled the contract of employment with said Campbell and also canceled all other contracts between them, but without restoring to said Campbell any of his former rights under said letters patent. From the best evidence obtainable Mr. Campbell was denied all participation in the affairs of the company and was notified that no transfers of stock by him would be recognized by the company. This action rendered the stock held by him of comparatively small value and from that time up to his death, in 1894, he received nothing from said company either in the way of salary, dividends on stock, or other wise, nor has his widow received anything since. Dividends have been passed or suspended, although the inventions are of great value and sources of much revenue to the company. The evidence before the committee tends to show that while the company has, perhaps, avoided strict legal liability, its treatment of the widow of said Campbell has not been such as in equity and good conscience she should be entitled to.
She is in needy circumstances and, therefore, inasmuch as your committee believe that one object of the patent laws is to protect the pecuniary interest of inventors, who are not always possessed of that business acumen which seems to characterize certain other classes of men and inasmuch as this bill involves no appropriation and works no hardship to any parties concerned and inasmuch, perhaps, as it tends to remedy the distressed condition of the widow of a worthy but unfortunate inventor, the bill will address itself to the sense of justice of anyone. Your committee would further report that in the Fifty-fourth Congress the Senate Committee on Patents favorably reported the bill and at least one favorable report on the bill was made by one of the former Committees on Patents of this House, all of which is suggested as an evidence of the merits of the bill. Your committee do therefore recommend that the following amendments be adopted and that the bill do pass:
In line 4, page 1, after the words "Annie Campbell", add the words "widow of".
In line 5, page 1, strike out all of said line, commencing with the name "Hector Campbell".
Also, strike out all of line 6.
Also, strike out all of line 7, same page, down to and including the word "assigns".
After the word "expiration" in line 17, page 1, add the following words:
Provided, That said extension of said letters patent and all the benefits of this act shall be held to apply only to the use and benefit of said Annie Campbell, widow of Duncan Campbell.