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RENEWAL OF PATENT RELATING TO THE BADGE OF THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY

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

REPORT

[To accompany S. 647

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill (S. 647) granting a renewal of patent No. 55,398 relating to the badge of the American Legion Auxiliary, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

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.

AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY

The American Legion Auxiliary was created by the American Legion as an auxiliary organization, and its membership is limited to the mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of members of the American

Legion, and to the mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of all men and women who were in the armed forces of the United States between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, or between December 7, 1941, and September 2, 1945, all dates inclusive, or who, being citizens of the United States at the time of the entry therein, served on active duty in the armed forces of any of the governments associated with United States during either of said World Wars, and died in line of duty or after honorable discharge; and to those women who of their own right are eligible to membership in the American Legion.

This organization consists of 53 departments and 13,029 units, with a total membership of 929,489. It is committed to the precepts set forth in the preamble to and the constitution of the American Legion and the accomplishment of its aims and purposes. Its emblem was originally patented June 1, 1920, under Design Patent No. 55,398, which was extended for a period of 14 years by act of Congress under date of August 2, 1935. This extension expires August 2, 1949.

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.

CONGRESSIONAL POLICY

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 patent referred to herein is not necessary by reason of Public Law 772, section 705, which reads as follows:

SEC. 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.

A careful examination of this statute will disclose that it only has application to veterans' organizations incorporated by congressional action, and it would not apply to the Design Patent of the American Legion Auxiliary. Consequently a failure to extend their patents would leave them without protection.

In addition to the foregoing the Legion auxiliary 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 auxiliary's exclusive right to the emblem, they are discontinued when the facts are disclosed to the violator.

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 patent is not renewed.

THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS AFFORDED THE LEGION AUXILIARY, TO THE USE OF THE EMBLEM COVERED BY THE DESIGN PATENT IN NO WAY INVOLVES COMPETITION WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY

The rights, extended to the American Legion Auxiliary under the design patent 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. It's 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 Auxiliary's rights solely for private gain.

Every effort is being made by the Auxiliary to prevent such illegal acts and a deprivation of any existing rights would be costly to them and extremely detrimental to their program.

H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 4- -17

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