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RENEWAL OF PATENT NUMBERED 54,296 RELATING TO THE BADGE OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
JUNE 7, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered to be printed
Mr. BRYSON, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following
[To accompany S. 646]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (S. 646) granting a renewal of patent numbered 54,296 relating to the badge of the American Legion, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The American Legion is a nonpolitical civilian organization, originally chartered by act of Congress, September 16, 1919 (U. S. C. A. title 36, secs. 41-51, inclusive), which was amended October 29, 1942 (U. S. C. A. title 36, secs. 43-45), and again amended July 9, 1946 (U. S. C. A. title 36, sec. 45).
The powers granted to The American Legion include the right "to use in carrying out the purposes of the corporation such emblems and badges as it may adopt" (U. S. C. A. title 36, sec. 44). Pursuant to this specific grant of authority, the Legion adopted an emblem which has been used since its inception in carrying out its purposes and which is universally known and recognized by the public as the emblem of the Legion. This emblem was originally patented as design patent No. 54,296 on December 9, 1919, and renewed by act of Congress under date of August 2, 1935, for a period of 14 years, which latter period expires August 2, 1949.
The use of this emblem has always been restricted to the promotion and advancement of the legitimate purposes of The American Legion and, by specific regulation adopted by the national organization, is confined to the following purposes:
1. That the word "emblem" used hereafter shall mean insignia, badge, medal, emblem, or any colorable imitation thereof or the reproduction thereof of The American Legion.
2. That the national officers are charged with resisting and restraining any unauthorized use of the name "The American Legion" or the emblem.
3. That the use of the emblem by the individual Legionaire shall be limited to the wearing of the official insignia and to the possession of authorized jewelry or merchandise bearing the emblem.
4. That the use of the emblem by posts shall be confined to using the imprint or reproduction of the emblem, or the gummed emblem, upon stationery or upon post publications, notices, posters, or placards, or matters of similar character used in the ordinary routine and conduct of legitimate post business and activities sponsored and duly authorized by the post, and to the use of authorzied regalia or merchandise bearing the emblem
5. That the use of the emblem by departments shall be the same as the use by posts, except that convention committees in the several departments are privileged to use the emblem for decoration and souvenir purposes, subject in each instance to the approval of the national adjutant.
6. That any other use of the name "The American Legion or the emblem shall be subject to the approval of the national adjutant: Provided, however, (a) That any requests for such other use of the emblem by posts shall first be subject to department approval before submission to the national adjutant, and (b) that any other such use by the departments, when approved by the national adjutant, shall be confined within the territorial limits of the department.
7. (a) That contracts for the official Legion uniform are to be made by the several department organizations with uniform manufacturers of their choice; (b) that all contracts made by departments with contractors for the manufacture of Legion uniforms shall contain therein, or as a part thereof, the standard specifications for uniforms and other Legion accessories as adopted by the national organization, and, further, that such contracts shall provide that the contractor shall purchase direct from the national emblem sales the emblem and other approved accessories for use on uniforms, and that each order of such contractors to the national emblem sales shall bear the approval of the department adjutant; (c) that the official Legion uniform for men Legionnaires shall consist of trousers and coat with belt, or an Eisenhower jacket; and that the official Legion uniform for women Legionnaires shall consist of a skirt and coat with belt, or an Eisenhower jacket, or a one-piece shirtwaist-type dress, and that the official Legion uniform for both men and women Legionnaires shall include shirt and tie and/or both.
8. That contracts for Legion caps are to be made by the several department organizations with cap manufacturers of their own choice: Provided, That such contracts require the manufacturers to conform to the minimum specifications of the national emblem sales and, further, that all emblems used in the manufacture of such caps be purchased from the national emblem sales.
9. That all merchandise bearing the Legion emblem shall be manufactured for commercial purposes only when made in accordance with specifications adopted by or upon the approval of the national organization.
10. That the manufacture, sale, or purchase for resale of any merchandise or equipment or products of any kind whatsoever bearing thereon the emblem, by any person or corporation without the prior approval of the national organization of the American Legion, shall be prohibited and shall be considered in violation of the rules and regulations of the national organization and the act of Congress of the United States, approved June 25, 1940, it being Public Law No. 663. Seventy-sixth Congress, third session, chapter No. 426.
HISTORICAL DATA RELATIVE TO CORPORATIONS CHARTERED BY SPECIFIC ACT OF CONGRESS
On many occasions Congress has chartered private corporations for specific purposes. A chronological list of these corporations will be found in a report made by Senator Wiley accompanying Senate bill 503, Eightieth Congress, first session, Calendar No. 27, Report No. 30. This list includes 288 corporations which have been chartered by congressional action. Many of these corporations have contributed materially to the promotion of the general welfare of the United States of America. This is particularly true of The American Legion and its two auxiliary groups which are now requesting legislation extending the design patents covering their respective emblems.
No precedent is being established in extending these patents. Congress on at least 13 previous occasions has acted to extend design patents, and in one instance (Daughters of the American Revolution) has granted three successive extensions for periods of 14 years each.
PUBLIC LAW NO. 772, EIGHTIETH CONGRESS, TITLE 18, SECTION 705, DOES NOT AFFORD ADEQUATE PROTECTION
It has been suggested that perhaps extension of the patents referred to herein is not necessary by reason of Public Law 772, section 705, which reads as follows:
$705. BADGE OR MEDAL OF VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS
Whoever knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells. or purchases for resale, either separately or on or appended to, any article of merchandise manufactured or sold, any badge, medal, emblem, or other insignia or any colorable imitation thereof, of any veterans' organization incorporated by enactment of Congress, or knowingly prints, lithographs, engraves or otherwise reproduces on any poster. circular, periodical, magazine, newspaper, or other publication, or circulates or distributes any such printed matter bearing a reproduction of such badge, medal, emblem, or other insignia or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under rules and regulations prescribed by any such organization, shall be fined not more than $250 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
This is a recodification and revision of Public Law No. 663, adopted by the Seventy-sixth Congress.
While it affords protection to The American Legion, which is a veterans' organization incorporated by act of Congress, it casts the burden of prosecution upon the United States Government for each and every violation, which is a costly procedure. The act has been relief upon by the Legion only in cases of flagrant violation where criminal prosecution is indicated.
Attention is also directed to the fact that the constitutionality of this legislation is now in question in the case of United States of America v. Dettra Flag Co., Inc., et al. (cause No. 14707), which is pending in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which the dependents have taken the position that the act is an unwarranted delegation of power to veterans' organizations. This question was argued before the district court on December 13, 1948, and as yet no decision has been rendered. It is possible that this litigation will be protracted and the validity of the act will be in question at least for many months, perhaps years, in the event the decision of the court is appealed by either party. Should the extension of the Legion's patent be denied by Congress, it would be without protection during this period.
In addition to the foregoing, the Legion since its inception has guarded jealously its exclusive right to the emblem, and it has prevented such use by private individuals, firms, or corporations for commercial purposes. In most instances where violations occur through lack of knowledge of the Legion's exclusive right to the emblem, they are discontinued when the facts are disclosed to the violator. This so-called self-policing by the Legion removes an expensive burden which would otherwise have to be assumed by the Justice Department under section 705 of Public Law 772, above quoted, if this were the only protection afforded.
It must be remembered too-and this is important-that, under the patent laws of the United States, rights are afforded to the owner of a patent to recover damages in the event of infringement, and injunctive relief is also extended. These civil rights would be taken away if the patents are not renewed.
THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS AFFORDED THE LEGION, ITS AUXILIARY, AND THE SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION TO THE USE OF THE EMBLEMS COVERED BY THE DESIGN PATENTS IN NO WAY INVOLVES COMPETITION WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY.
The right extended to The American Legion by the congressional act to use such emblems and badges as it may adopt in carrying out its purposes, and its rights under the design patent which expires in August of this year, do not involve it in competition with private industry, as the emblem is only used by it in promotion of its lawful purposes.
The profit derived from the emblem is confined solely to the promotion of the program of the organization, and no part of it inures to the benefit of any individual. If these rights were taken away, misuse of the emblem would become prevalent, and it would lose much of its present meaning and value. Its manufacture at the present time is through competitive bids, giving every manufacturer an equal chance. Private individuals, firms, and corporations are attempting to encroach upon the Legion's rights solely for private gain.
Every effort is being made by the Legion to prevent such illegal acts, and a deprivation of any existing rights would be costly to them and extremely detrimental to their program.
The emblem of The American Legion is well known throughout the Nation. It is a badge of distinction, honor, and service; it stands for God and country, and the highest rights of man. Of its several parts, each part has a meaning. The rays of the sun that form the background are emblematic of the principles of The American Legion, for loyalty, justice, freedom, and democracy will dispel the darkness of violence, strife, and evil. The two gold rings around the field of blue, bearing the name, typify two of the Legion's four main objectives: Rehabilitation of its sick and disabled comrades and care for the children of America. Within the rings is placed a wreath for remembrance of those who died that liberty might live. Upon the wreath is set a star reflecting the glory of victory and promising to the world perpetuation of those cardinal principles of the organization. Set upon the star are two bronze rings which typify the other two of The Legion's main objectives: A better and more loyal Americanism and service to the community, State, and Nation. The inscription demands that the wearer shall ever guard the sanctity of home and country and free institutions.
These principles are parallel to the purposes of the Government. The Legion is composed of a cross section of the finest citizenship which America affords. The President belongs. So do 45 United States
Senators, 205 Congressmen, Governors of 23 States, eight justices of the Supreme Court, six members of the Cabinet, and 200 men who wear the highest award bestowed for military heroism, the Congressional Medal of Honor; and, of course, there are several million plain rank-and-filers who are giving unselfishly of their time in the promotion of service to the community, State, and Nation.