B-32960, MARCH 16, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 904

B-32960: Mar 16, 1943

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ADVANCE PAYMENTS - LICENSE TO USE PATENT FOR ITS LIFE THE PAYMENT OF A LUMP SUM FOR A LICENSE TO USE A PATENT FOR ITS REMAINING LIFE (15 YEARS) IS NOT IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 3648. THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE PURCHASE OF SUCH A LICENSE THE SUBJECT MATTER OF WHICH IS REASONABLY WITHIN THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED IS AVAILABLE DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR. 1943: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 6. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS AVAILABLE A PATENTED PROCESS OF LETTERING MAPS FOR REPRODUCTION CALLED THE " FLOAT-LETTER METHOD.'. A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED. THE USE OF THE " FLOAT-LETTER METHOD" WOULD GREATLY FACILITATE THE PREPARATION OF THE GREAT VOLUME OF MAPS AND OTHER GEOGRAPHICAL AIDS THAT THE OFFICE OF THE GEOGRAPHER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS CURRENTLY CALLED UPON TO PRODUCE AND WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO PRODUCE IN EVEN GREATER NUMBERS IN THE FUTURE.

B-32960, MARCH 16, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 904

ADVANCE PAYMENTS - LICENSE TO USE PATENT FOR ITS LIFE THE PAYMENT OF A LUMP SUM FOR A LICENSE TO USE A PATENT FOR ITS REMAINING LIFE (15 YEARS) IS NOT IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, AGAINST PAYMENT FOR SERVICES IN ADVANCE OF THEIR RENDITION, AND, THEREFORE, THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE PURCHASE OF SUCH A LICENSE THE SUBJECT MATTER OF WHICH IS REASONABLY WITHIN THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED IS AVAILABLE DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MARCH 16, 1943:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 6, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS AVAILABLE A PATENTED PROCESS OF LETTERING MAPS FOR REPRODUCTION CALLED THE " FLOAT-LETTER METHOD.' THE PATENT FOR THE PROCESS, NO. 2,237,568, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED, DESCRIBES THE PROCESS IN DETAIL. BECAUSE OF ITS EASE OF APPLICATION AND SURE RESULTS IN PUTTING NAMES ON MAPS, THE USE OF THE " FLOAT-LETTER METHOD" WOULD GREATLY FACILITATE THE PREPARATION OF THE GREAT VOLUME OF MAPS AND OTHER GEOGRAPHICAL AIDS THAT THE OFFICE OF THE GEOGRAPHER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS CURRENTLY CALLED UPON TO PRODUCE AND WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO PRODUCE IN EVEN GREATER NUMBERS IN THE FUTURE.

MR. COLIN LANDIN OF NEW YORK HOLDS THE PATENT FOR THE " FLOAT LETTER METHOD" AND HE HAS CONSENTED TO LICENSE THE USE OF THE PROCESS TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE REMAINING LIFE OF THE PATENT. A COPY OF THE LICENSE AGREEMENT WHICH HE HAS SUBMITTED IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR EXAMINATION.

WE SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR CONSIDERING THE QUESTION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION NO. 19-112/30006.007, EMERGENCY FUND OF THE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DEFENSE ( ALLOTMENT TO STATE), 1942 AND 1943, FOR PURCHASING THE RIGHT TO USE THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PATENTED PROCESS FOR THE TERM OF THE PATENT, WHICH EXTENDS BEYOND THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1943.

MAY WE HAVE YOUR ANSWER ON THIS MATTER AT YOUR EARLY CONVENIENCE, SO THAT THE PREPARATION OF THE NECESSARY MAPS WILL NOT BE SERIOUSLY DELAYED.

THE ALLOTMENT REFERRED TO WAS MADE BY THE LETTER OF THE PRESIDENT, DATED JANUARY 12, 1942, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE FUNDS, $78,000, THEREIN ALLOTTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE--- TO BE EXPENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, IN CONNECTION WITH EMERGENCIES AFFECTING THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE, FOR PREPARATION OF CERTAIN TYPES OF WORLD MAPS AND GEOGRAPHICAL AIDS DESIGNED FOR PRESENT USE AND ALSO FOR POST-WAR STUDIES WHICH ARE MADE NECESSARY IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE RAPID POLITICAL AND MILITARY CHANGES RESULTING FROM THE WAR.

THE FUNDS HEREBY ALLOCATED SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED MAPS AND AIDS, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE CIVIL SERVICE AND CLASSIFICATION LAWS; FEES FOR PROFESSIONAL OR EXPERT SERVICES AT RATES, NOT IN EXCESS OF $25 PER DIEM, TO BE DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE; STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING AND OTHER SERVICES BY CONTRACT IF NECESSARY, PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT, BOOKS OF REFERENCE AND PERIODICALS, WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTION 3709 OF THE REVISED STATUTES; TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING TRAVEL AND PER DIEM OF CONSULTANTS NOT RECEIVING COMPENSATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT; PRINTING AND BINDING, WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919 (44 U.S.C. 111); AND INCLUDING ALSO REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHER APPROPRIATIONS FROM WHICH PAYMENTS MAY HAVE BEEN MADE FOR ANY OF THE PURPOSES HEREIN SPECIFIED.

THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE LICENSE WOULD APPEAR TO COME REASONABLY WITHIN THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THE ALLOTMENT WAS MADE, SO THAT THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION MAINLY THE QUESTION WHETHER THE PROPOSED PAYMENT WOULD BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH PROVIDES:

NO ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY SHALL BE MADE IN ANY CASE WHATEVER. AND IN ALL CASES OF CONTRACTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ANY SERVICE, OR THE DELIVERY OF ARTICLES OF ANY DESCRIPTION, FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE VALUE OF THE SERVICE RENDERED, OR OF THE ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. * * *

FROM THE ENCLOSURES TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, IT APPEARS THAT THE PATENT WAS ISSUED APRIL 8, 1941, THE NORMAL LIFE OF A PATENT COVERING A PERIOD OF 17 YEARS. 35 U.S.C. 40. HOWEVER, THE PURCHASE OF A LICENSE FOR THE LIFE OF THE PATENT FOR A LUMP SUM WOULD VEST IN THE UNITED STATES A COMPLETE RIGHT WHICH WOULD NOT BE DEPENDENT UPON ANYTHING FURTHER TO BE DONE OR SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE OWNER OF THE PATENT. IN A SIMILAR SITUATION IN 1 COMP. GEN. 455, IT WAS STATED:

THE SERVICE CONTRACTED FOR WAS THE REGISTRY OF AN ABBREVIATED CABLE ADDRESS. WHEN THE ACT OF REGISTRATION WAS COMPLETED THE WHOLE SERVICE WAS PERFORMED AND THERE IS NOTHING TO BE DONE IN THE MATTER PRELIMINARY TO PAYMENT. PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER WOULD NOT BE A VIOLATION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, AND IF OTHERWISE CORRECT ITS PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED. * * * SEE, ALSO, 4 COMP. GEN. 465, 6 ID. 677.

ACCORDINGLY, ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT, SINCE THE PROPOSED PAYMENT FOR THE USE OF THE PATENT WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE AN ADVANCE PAYMENT IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO CHARGING THE APPROPRIATION ,19- 112/30006.007, EMERGENCY FUND OF THE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DEFENSE ( ALLOTMENT TO STATE), 1942 AND 1943" WITH THE COST OF THE DESIRED LICENSE.