[D0204AAS], Report from Robert Rafn, Dr L Sell to Thomas Alva Edison, September 1st, 1902


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[D0204AAS], Report from Robert Rafn, Dr L Sell to Thomas Alva Edison, September 1st, 1902




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University


September 1st, 1902.
re: The Present state of the German Edison accumulator applications.
Copper electrode
This application has been rejected by the patent office. As no ordres to appeal against the rejecting decision have been received this application is abandoned. We have repeatedly called attention to the fact that this application had very poor chances so that this result is no surprise.
Codmium electrode
The patent office has demanded a declaration by an expert. Information as to whether such declaration shall be produced, has not yet been received.
In consideration of the comparatively small practical value of the copper-codmium-accumulator, and of the difficulty of rendering the proof demanded by the office it appears hardly remunerative to produce such declaration. On the contrary it appears advisable to produce the declaration and to demand the granting of the patent without a declaration.
The patent office has suggested a claim which characterizes characterizes accumulator in charged slate, an essential feature being that the iron electrode consists of metallic iron (in order to distinguish from the iron electrode mentioned in Jungner's description). Further has been put as condition for the granting of such claim that a declaration by an expert be produced. The acceptance of said claim was agreed to in America and Professor Forster was given charge of the preliminary work of the researches demanded by the office The researches by Prof. Forster, however, have given the result that the accumulator contains, when charged, either not at all, or very little metallic iron.
These results have later been essentially corroborated in Mr. Edison's laboratory. For this reason we have objected to the claim suggested by the patent office, and at the same time we have refused to produce the declaration by expert. Fortunately we were in position to do so for the reason that we had not yet abandoned our earlier claim which defines the accumulator in discharged state, i. e. one pole consisting of a nickel oxygen compound and the other pole consisting of an iron oxygen compound. To some extent serious remains the fact that the originally filed claims (Feb. 5. 1902) mention one electrode as consisting of finely divided iron. However, it may be hoped that the patent office will not for this reason raise any difficulties regarding the priority.
Nickel electrode
The application on the nickel electrode had to be be limited considerably for the reason that the employment of finely divided nickel hydroxide is previously known. The limitation has been made in such manner that a nickel electrode is claimed whose active mass is embedded under pressure in receptacles with perforated walls, of a metal that is not attacked by current in the electrolyte. The examination was delayed for some time under the unjust pretention that the invention was anticipated by a prior application by Dr. Gohl. A complaint of the postponement was acknowledged by the office, and the examination will be continued shortly. The chances of this patent, however, are not very good, as the examiner appears declined.
Iron applications
In the matter of the applications on the three different ways of preparing the iron electrode, a demonstration is going to be given at Bergmann’s on Sept. 12. The examiner does not appear quite unwilling to grant a patent on these applications. He raises some difficulties, however, regarding the definition of the patent protection, and wants to reduce the broadness of the protection to such extent that it might easily be evaded and that infringements could hardly be successively prosecuted. We have repeatedly objected hereto in several verbal conferences, and it remains of await, that the examiner shall be more in our favour after the demonstration.
Meanwhile there has been a change of person in the office of "Berichterstatter" (recorder) i. e. that member of the patent office who has to lay the prepared cases before the deciding Board of examiners. We have not as yet had an opportunity to negotiate with this man, so we do not know whether the change affords an improvement or the opposite.
Graphite applications.
The examiner refuses persistently to grant a general claim on employment of flake graphite, for the reason that the admixing of graphite to electronic-masses is commonly known, and because, as the examiner assumes, the flakelike structure of graphite will necessitate, whatever be the method of mixing it with the electrode mass, that the graphite will be employed as fine flakes. We object energetically hereto, but it cannot be denied that the argumentation of the examiner, according to German practice, is not unjust.
On the other hand, the second graphite application, treating the intimate admixing of the graphite, and the subdivision into fine flakes, appears quite prosperous.
However the examination of this second application has been postponed in consideration of the still pending chief application. We have not yet filed any complaint in this matter as we want to await the decision of the first instance in the matter of the chief application. Furthermore, it is our intention in case of a rejection of the nickel-iron-combination by sail first instance, to use this unjust and inlegitimate delay of the examination of the application on admixing graphite, as material to prove gefore the second instance the arbitrariness and incapability shown by the examiner and the first instance in their treatment of the Edison-applications. We fear to weaken this effect by appealing at present, as the state of affairs should then later on not be fresh in mind of the "Board of appeal".
Magnesium electrode
In this matter a demonstration is going to be made at Bergmann's on Sept. 12. In case of a success, the examiner is willing to grant the application.
The receptacle application has been accepted and is at present, until the 20th of September laid out for public inspection. Hence, eventual opposition to this application may be expected at the end of the month. The accepted claims appear satisfactory.
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