Foreign Control of American Patents

July 17, 1941

Report Outline
Patent Agreements and the Defense Program
Obstructions Imposed by Foreign Patent Control
Measures to Eliminate Foreign Patent Control

Patent Agreements and the Defense Program

The administration's conscription-of-property bill, upon which an early report is expected from the Senate Military Affairs Committee, will arm the President, if it is approved by Congress, with authority to seize United States patents whose ownership or control by German industrial interests is alleged to have interfered with the progress of the American defense program. It is anticipated that such action will be one of the first steps taken under the new legislation, and that seized patents will be placed under the control of an Alien Property Custodian, as in the last war, and used to promote the country's defense needs.

A statement made to the Temporary National Economic Committee, February 12, 1941, by Thurman W. Arnold, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, declared that investigations, by that division, of industries directly involved in the national defense effort indicated that:

  1. The United States government has been charged excessive and unreasonable prices for essential war materials as a result of agreement between domestic and foreign companies, and collusive bidding on Army and Navy contracts.

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U.S. at War: World War II