B-64000, MARCH 20, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 687

B-64000: Mar 20, 1947

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THE ORDER WAS MADE A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. * * * PROPOSE SUCH LEGISLATION TO THE CONGRESS AS MAY BE NECESSARY MORE READILY TO PERMIT THIS REWARD. * * *" THE RESULT OF THIS PROMISE WAS THE SUBMISSION TO THE 78TH CONGRESS OF A PROPOSED BILL WHICH LATER DEVELOPED INTO THE ACT OF JUNE 26. THE ACT PROVIDED THAT: "* * * THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY CASH REWARDS. MAKE SUGGESTIONS OR INVENTIONS WHICH ARE OF SUCH A NATURE THAT THEIR ADOPTION WOULD RESULT IN IMPROVED TECHNOLOGICAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES OR METHODS. MANY AWARDS WERE MADE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR INVENTIONS MADE WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THEIR GOVERNMENTAL DUTIES.

B-64000, MARCH 20, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 687

CASH AWARDS FOR EMPLOYEE INVENTIONS - SUPERSEDING EFFECT OF SECTION 14 OF ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946 THE PROVISION IN SECTION 14 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, REPEALING OTHER ACTS IN CONFLICT WITH THE AUTHORITY THEREIN FOR PAYMENT OF CASH AWARDS TO EMPLOYEES FOR SUGGESTIONS RESULTING IN IMPROVEMENT OR ECONOMY IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT, DOES NOT SUPERSEDE OR REPEAL THAT PART OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF CASH REWARDS TO DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR EMPLOYEES FOR INVENTIONS MADE IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT WHICH IMPROVE TECHNOLOGICAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES, AND, THEREFORE, PAYMENTS OF CASH REWARDS TO EMPLOYEE INVENTORS MAY BE MADE FROM AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 1944 ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MARCH 20, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR ON NOVEMBER 17, 1942, BY DEPARTMENTAL ORDER NO. 1763 REQUIRED THAT EACH EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT ASSIGN TO THE UNITED STATES, AS REPRESENTED FOR THIS PURPOSE BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ALL RIGHTS TO ANY INVENTION MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF HIS GOVERNMENTAL DUTIES. THE ORDER WAS MADE A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDER NO. 1763, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, LIKE MOST OTHER AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, HAD PERMITTED EMPLOYEE INVENTORS TO RETAIN COMMERCIAL RIGHTS TO ALL INVENTIONS WHICH DID NOT RESULT FROM A SPECIFIC ASSIGNMENT TO INVENT. (SEE UNITED STATES V. DUBILIER CONDENSER CORPORATION, 289 U.S. 178.) UPON CHANGING THE DEPARTMENTAL POLICY IN THIS RESPECT, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR UNDERTOOK, AS PROMISED IN ORDER NO. 1763,"* * * TO DO ALL WITHIN ITS POWER * * * APPROPRIATELY TO REWARD ITS EMPLOYEES WHO THROUGH THEIR INVENTIVE ACHIEVEMENTS ADVANCE THE TECHNOLOGICAL AND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE NATION, AND * * * PROPOSE SUCH LEGISLATION TO THE CONGRESS AS MAY BE NECESSARY MORE READILY TO PERMIT THIS REWARD. * * *" THE RESULT OF THIS PROMISE WAS THE SUBMISSION TO THE 78TH CONGRESS OF A PROPOSED BILL WHICH LATER DEVELOPED INTO THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944 (58 STAT. 360, 5 U.S.C. SEC. 500), AUTHORIZING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SYSTEM OF CASH REWARDS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. THE ACT PROVIDED THAT:

"* * * THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY CASH REWARDS, SUBJECT TO SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE SHALL PRESCRIBE, TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, WHO, IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT, AND SUBSEQUENT TO NOVEMBER 17, 1942, MAKE SUGGESTIONS OR INVENTIONS WHICH ARE OF SUCH A NATURE THAT THEIR ADOPTION WOULD RESULT IN IMPROVED TECHNOLOGICAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES OR METHODS, OR IN IMPROVEMENTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OR OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. * * *" ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY GRANTED UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, MANY AWARDS WERE MADE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR INVENTIONS MADE WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THEIR GOVERNMENTAL DUTIES, AS DEFINED IN ORDER NO. 1763. A NUMBER OF THESE AWARDS, SOME OF THEM SUBSTANTIAL, WERE MADE WITH RESPECT TO INVENTIONS WHICH DID NOT AFFECT THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUT WERE OF GREAT POTENTIAL BENEFIT TO INDUSTRY (E.G., AN ELECTRONIC CHRONOSCOPE FOR DETERMINING RATES OF DETONATION, THE USE OF HELIUM AS A TRACER GAS TO DETERMINE UNDERGROUND MOVEMENTS OF OIL AND GAS, APPARATUS FOR TESTING FLAME SAFETY LAMPS, AND A FORTIFICATION PROCESS FOR STRENGTHENING THE TOXICITY OF RED SQUILL WHEN USED AS A RODENTICIDE).

ON AUGUST 2, 1946, THE PRESIDENT APPROVED PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS. SECTION 14 OF THAT STATUTE AUTHORIZES THE ESTABLISHMENT IN EACH DEPARTMENT OF AN AWARDS SYSTEM IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, TO PAY CASH AWARDS TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES (OR TO THEIR ESTATES) WHO MAKE MERITORIOUS SUGGESTIONS WHICH WILL RESULT IN IMPROVEMENT OR ECONOMY IN THE OPERATIONS OF HIS DEPARTMENT AND WHICH HAVE BEEN ADOPTED FOR USE * * *: PROVIDED, THAT NO AWARD SHALL BE PAID TO ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR ANY SUGGESTION WHICH REPRESENTS A PART OF THE NORMAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE DUTIES OF HIS POSITION. * * *

"ALL OTHER ACTS OR PARTS OF ACTS IN CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION ARE HEREBY REPEALED.' ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, AND SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, AT LEAST SO FAR AS THE EARLIER ACT APPLIES TO INVENTIONS, SEEK TO REWARD DIFFERENT GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS UNDER DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 600 AUTHORIZES REWARDS TO EMPLOYEES ONLY FOR SUGGESTIONS WHICH DO NOT REPRESENT PART OF THE NORMAL DUTIES OF THE EMPLOYEES MAKING THE SUGGESTIONS AND WHICH RESULT IN IMPROVEMENT OR ECONOMY IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT. THE 1944 ACT, ON THE OTHER HAND, AUTHORIZES THE GRANTING OF CASH REWARDS TO EMPLOYEES WHO MAKE INVENTIONS IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. ALSO, THE 1944 ACT IS APPLICABLE TO INVENTIONS OF SUCH A NATURE THAT THEIR ADOPTION WILL RESULT IN IMPROVED TECHNOLOGICAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES OR METHODS, WITHOUT REGARD TO GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY OR ECONOMY.

IN THIS CONNECTION, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE WELL-ESTABLISHED RULES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION WHICH YOU CITE IN YOUR DECISION (B-62267) OF JANUARY 15, 1947, TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL ARE RELEVANT AND INDICATE THAT SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 600 DID NOT REPEAL THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, AS THEY RELATE TO INVENTIONS. AS STATED IN THAT DECISION," REPEALS BY IMPLICATION ARE NOT FAVORED AND A LATER LAW WILL NOT BE CONSTRUED AS REPEALING AN EARLIER LAW UNLESS THE TWO LAWS ARE IN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT OR UNLESS THE LATER LAW COVERS THE WHOLE GROUND OCCUPIED BY THE EARLIER AND IS CLEARLY INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR IT; " AND "A GENERAL ACT IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS APPLYING TO CASES COVERED BY A PRIOR SPECIAL ACT UPON THE SAME SUBJECT, UNLESS IT CONTAINS AN EXPRESS REPEAL PROVISION OR THERE IS AN IRRECONCILABLE REPUGNANCY BETWEEN ACTS, OR THE NEW LAW IS EVIDENTLY INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE ALL PRIOR ACTS ON THE MATTER IN HAND AND TO COMPRISE IN ITSELF THE SOLE AND COMPLETE SYSTEM OF LEGISLATION ON THE SUBJECT.'

ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER YOUR OFFICE WOULD OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR OF CASH REWARDS TO EMPLOYEE INVENTORS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944.

NEITHER SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 809, QUOTED IN PART IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, NOR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF PUBLIC LAW 600 EXPRESSLY REPEALS THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, 58 STAT. 360. THE LANGUAGE OF THE REPEAL PROVISION CONTAINED IN SECTION 14 IS THAT---

ALL OTHER ACTS OR PARTS OF ACTS IN CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION ARE HEREBY REPEALED. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THE EFFECT OF SUCH A REPEAL PROVISION IS TO LIMIT THE EXTENT TO WHICH FORMER ACTS SHOULD CEASE TO BE OPERATIVE. THAT IS TO SAY, TO THE EXTENT THAT FORMER ACTS OR PARTS OF ACTS ARE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 14, THEY ORDINARILY WOULD REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. COMP. GEN. 823, 825, AND DECISIONS THEREIN CITED. SEE, ALSO, HESS V. REYNOLDS, 113 U.S. 73, 79, IN WHICH THE COURT NOTES THAT THE USUAL WORDING OF A REPEALING CLAUSE INTENDED TO BE UNIVERSAL IS ,THAT ALL ACTS ON THIS SUBJECT, OR ALL ACTS COMING WITHIN ITS PURVIEW, ARE REPEALED" OR THAT THE ACTS INTENDED TO BE REPEALED ARE NAMED OR SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO.

HOWEVER, THE COMMITTEE ON EXPENDITURES IN THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 2186, 79TH CONGRESS, 2ND SESSION, ACCOMPANYING H.R. 6533, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 806, STATED WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 14 THEREOF:

AWARDS FOR SUGGESTION.--- SECTION 14 IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE A UNIFORM GOVERNMENT-WIDE SYSTEM TO ENCOURAGE THE SUBMISSION BY EMPLOYEES OF SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS OR ECONOMIES IN THE OPERATIONS OF THEIR DEPARTMENTS AND TO SANCTION THE PAYMENT OF CASH AWARDS THEREFOR. SUCH PLANS NOW ARE AUTHORIZED FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT, NAVY DEPARTMENT, MARITIME COMMISSION, WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. IN SOME OTHER AGENCIES IT IS THE PRACTICE TO GRANT TO AN EMPLOYEE SUBMITTING A MERITORIOUS SUGGESTION AN EXTRA, ONE- STEP WITHIN-GRADE PROMOTION UNDER THE RAMSPECK-MEAD ACT OF 1941. SECTION 14 WOULD NOT INTEND TO DISPLACE THAT AUTHORITY, BUT IT WOULD SUPERSEDE THE SEVERAL PROVISIONS FOR CASH AWARDS ABOVE REFERRED TO. SUBSTANTIALLY IN LINE WITH THE PRESENT LAWS, NO MONETARY LIMIT IS PROVIDED IN THE CASE OF THE WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS, WHILE IN THE REMAINING DEPARTMENTS NO ONE AWARD MAY EXCEED $1,000 AND THE TOTAL CASH AWARDS PAID DURING ANY FISCAL YEAR IN ANY DEPARTMENT MAY NOT EXCEED $25,000. IT IS SPECIFIED THAT THE SUGGESTIONS MUST BE MERITORIOUS, RESULT IN IMPROVEMENT OR ECONOMY AND BE ADOPTED FOR USE. NO PAYMENT IS TO BE ALLOWED WHERE THE MAKING OF THE SUGGESTION REPRESENTS A PART OF THE DUTIES OF THE EMPLOYEE'S POSITION; ALSO THE ACCEPTANCE OF AN AWARD WILL CONSTITUTE AN AGREEMENT WAIVING ANY FURTHER CLAIM UPON THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SUGGESTION. PAYMENTS ARE TO BE MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE ACTIVITIES BENEFITED.

SENATE REPORT NO. 1636, 79TH CONGRESS, IS TO THE SAME EFFECT.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THOSE REPORTS THAT SECTION 14 WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING A UNIFORM GOVERNMENT-WIDE SYSTEM TO ENCOURAGE THE SUBMISSION BY EMPLOYEES OF SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS OR ECONOMIES IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES IN WHICH EMPLOYED AND WAS INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE THE SEVERAL PREEXISTING PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO SPECIFIC DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, ONLY, SO FAR AS THOSE PROVISIONS AUTHORIZED THE PAYMENT OF CASH AWARDS FOR SUCH SUGGESTIONS. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO SUPERSEDE ANY OTHER TYPE OF PREEXISTING PROVISION AND IT SPECIFICALLY APPEARS FROM THAT PART OF THE COMMITTEE REPORT QUOTED THAT THERE WAS NO INTENT TO REPLACE EVEN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OF GRANTING AN EMPLOYEE SUBMITTING A MERITORIOUS SUGGESTION AN EXTRA WITHIN-GRADE PROMOTION UNDER THE MEAD-RAMSPECK ACT OF 1941, 55 STAT. 613. THE PAYMENT OF AN AWARD TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR MERITORIOUS SUGGESTIONS WHICH WILL RESULT IN IMPROVEMENT OR ECONOMY IN THE OPERATION OF HIS DEPARTMENT IS SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THE PAYMENT OF A REWARD FOR INVENTIONS.

SPECIFICALLY, I FIND NOTHING IN SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, OR IN ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, WHICH WOULD WARRANT A CONCLUSION THAT SAID SECTION WAS INTENDED TO REPEAL ANY PART OF THE ACT EXCEPT THAT WHICH NOW IS COVERED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 14.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FROM AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS, OF CASH AWARDS TO EMPLOYEE INVENTORS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1944, 58 STAT. 360.