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skilled professional employees. Even in the best equipped and arranged divisions
The average patent examiner must work in cramped and cluttered quarters which are suggestive of the habitat of the legendary garret inventor. Yet the patent examiner of today is an important link in the ever-expanding, vast complex of scientific research and development projects and the operations of applying new knowledge and techniques to our industrial system. It is he who undergirds the system conceived by the framers of the Constitution to provide for patents as a prime Incentive to promote the useful arts and sciences. With the Nations's technological and industrial leadership being openly challenged by a major vorld power, the incentives for progress inherent in the Patent system must be fully exploited. It naturally follows that the professional persons who perfora the examining job must have adequate accommodations and working facilities 1 they are to remain with the Patent Office and be expected to pursue vigorously the programs for insuring timely processing of patent applications.
From time to time I bave occasion to talk to visiting lawyers, other professional people, and Government officials from foreign nations. When I mention some of the conditions in the Patent Office (well known throughout Government and in the American Bar) these visitors are amazed and appaled. Their typical reaction goes somewhat like this: "Surely the nation that leads the world industri. ally and emphasizes technological progress so much would have the most modern patent facilities in the world. I have not observed such conditions in any of your other Government agencies which I have visited."
The existing accommodations problem 18 dot confined to overcrowding of avallable space. There are problems resulting from the characteristics of the space that rival the scarcity situation in terms of inadequacy of working environment. The Commerce Building lacks both controlled winter ventilation and central es conditioning. Added to overcrowded space 18 a motly collection of electric rall and floor fans which add to the background noise level, cause employees endless amoyance in keeping papers from blowing about, and, almost incidentally, produce some movement of the sultry air which characterizes Washington summers.
In addition to the summer heat, humidity, and locally generated noise, there is a sustained volume of traffic noise produced on the heavily travelled streets which encompass the building. The limited defense against street noise svatlable via closed windows in vinter cannot be used in summer. Only in scattered areas or heavy concentration of mechanical office equipment is there any appreciable sound conditioning of cellings or walls. Although much improvement in lighting 18 evident, about half of the Patent Office employees still work in areas artificially lighted according to the standards of 1930 in a building so designed as to be heavily dependent upon artificial 12lumination.
The characteristics of the space now in use cannot be fully appreciated vithout directing some attention to the broad environment in which it is located. In addition to the factor of traffic noise mentioned earlier, the matter of reasonably convenient access by employees and others warrants consideration of importance. In spite of other advantages which may exist, the Patent Office Location in the heart of the congested area of Waskington cannot be regarded as convenient to a large majority of its employees.
Access is less a matter of distance than it 18 a problen of traffic density. There is no need to belabor the well known deficiencies in the public transportation systems in the area or the lack of arterial streets, bridges, etc., for accommodating traffic flov. Hovever, it is quite obvious that a person who mist expend two, three, or more hours each day, with the attendant tensions and frustrations, getting to and from his employment is dissipating energy that night otherwise serve to increase his effectiveness on the job. In order to ameliorate to a degree the problem of transportation, a limited number of Patent Office enployees have organized carpools. Extension of this relieving measure 18 effectively blocked by the unavailability of reasonably priced parking facilities in the vicinity. As I pointed out in an interim report, about 75 parking spaces are being provided for the Patent Office which has over 2,400 employees. Each of about a third of the parking spaces 18 restricted to use by the same automobile rather than permitting alternate use of automobiles by drivers in a pool arrangement. For the other two-thirds, each space accommodates an average of four employees by carpool and alternate driving arrangements. In all, only about 10 percent of Patent Office employees are accommodated by parking facilities.
Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the inadequacy of Federal salaries. This has resulted in some leasening of the disparity between private and public compensation. However, much too little attention apparently has been given to the working environment in the Federal service. This factor has not escaped the attention of realistic private employers. It is vell mom that working conditions traditionally have been coupled with compensation in trade union philosophy and certainly the human needs of professional employees in the Federal service are quite as real as those of sklīled craftsmen.
The Patent Office role in the scientific and technological development of the country 18 primarily one of human endeavor. It calls for persons whose application of intellectual effort in the most effective manner demands a suitable working environment. Unless this demand 18 net, the Patent Office can not expect to attract, retain for career service, and fully utilize the amount and type of professional skills on which it must depend. Long overdue is the removal of both the operational and the psychological disadvantages of inadequate accommodations for the professional skills for which there is strong competition vith other employers.
The fact must be faced that the patent system and Patent Office operations will continue to grow with advancing science and technology. The Patent Office also mist look forvard to a much broader role in stimulating the technological development so vital to sustaining our way of life in the challenging years ahead. The solutions to many vital technical problems in industry and in research and development fields will need expediting by vastly improved general access to the rich storehouse of scientific and technical knowledge contained in the work. ing tools of the Patent Office.
To be near a state of adequacy in today's operations, the Patent Office would need to occupy suitably characterized space equivalent to about threefourths of the Commerce Building. Since it is not possible to accept a prendse that the scientific and technological development of our country has reached its "plateau", it 18 not possible to ignore the realism of further grovth in Patent Office operations. Hence, it is not difficult to anticipate that the necessary growth within the next decade may find the Patent Office requiring at least as much suitably characterized space as is contained in the entire Commerce Building.
liashington, D, C, Both of these perhaps basic criteria can be met under either
a little over one million square feet. Projections into the future extend
This Management Survey group would not presume to express detailed specifications concerning the space and facilities needed. This is a specialized task for architectural and engineering personnel. However, it 18 possible to set forth some basic factors which are so pertinent to the solution as to constitute a general framework around which detailed plans and specifications may be developed.
The amount of space provided for each employee should meet the prevail. ing current standards of private industry for broadly comparable types of work. The space should also meet generally accepted standards as to 11lumination, allseason air conditioning, and adjacent parking facilities. Beyond those conventional elements
are requirements generated by the specialized nature of the ovrk of the Patent Office. Prominent among these is the need for an auditorium as well as smaller assembly accommodations, and several conference rooms to accommodate training classes and other meetings which serve to help maintain the adequacy end consistency of patent examining practice among the numerous examining aivislons; the need for a testing and demonstration laboratory that would permit the running of routine tests where they would expedite the resolving of question of patentability; the need to expand the area avallable to the public for making patent literature searches; and the providing of expansion of the scientific
It would be indeed short sighted to ignore the probability that in the near future the Patent Office will make extensive use of electronic devices to and the examiner in his searching endeavor and probably to supply on demand reproductions of patent copies. Anticipation of these developments should have a strong influence in planning adequate space and facilities.
The quest for solution to this pivotal problem of inadequate space and er inties seems to suggest two approaches.
The approach would lead to unre-
Building, about half of which is now occupied
That the Patent Office should be brought and kept together 10 one locae os 18 adomatic. There also appears to be a preponderance of reason in favor of palataining its offices and facilities in the greater metropolitan ares of
commonly referred to as the Carnet de compra o me thich it 15 understood
access by circumferential highway and be possible in the near future. orabe astes near the perimeter of the Washington area probably would present equal advantages for fuifuitment of Patent Office needs in an optimum manner.
Umestricted occupancy of the Commerce Bullding would appear to offer, olest, a limited solution ambuliaing needs could be achieved
only by whole
Structural limitations also
appear to preclude eventual expansion of facilities to meet the growing demands of the future. Realistically, any appreciable relief of present out-of-building inadequacies, such as employee and public parking facilities, cannot be readily visualized. The approach to occupancy of the Commerce Building carries with it, of course, the necessity for other units of the Commerce Department to be relocated elsewhere.
At this point, we must recognize that, according to the General Services Administration, the availability of existing space throughout the Washington area 18 far short of that needed to supply the needs of Federal agencies today. Hence, the problem of relocating into existing space which can be acquired by lease appears to have only piece-neal and partial solution. The situation strongly supports additional construction of Federal buildings, however.
The other approach leading to the construction of a new building for the Patent Office would open up about half of the Commerce Building for other occupancy. There are presently boused, in scattered locations throughout the area, units of the Department of Commerce, wbich, taken together, are occupying space approxd. mately equivalent to the amount which the Patent Office occupies in the Commerce Building. These could be brought together in the Commerce Building to relieve the total Federal space problem by nearly one-half million square feet.
All factors considered. It 1B my conclusion that only the construction of a dey building desired for Patent Office use rould offer the permanency of solution needed for its heretofore chronic inadequacy of space and facilities. Such a building should provide for a reasonable amount of future growth, and be 80 designed and located as to permit enlargement to accommodate further growth. In treatment of this problem, it 18 of more than passing significance that most of the leading European countries (Russia, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, England, etc.) bave found it necessary to provide modern buildings architecturally suited to the unique requirements of a patent office. The United States leader of scientific and technological advancements . can afford to do no less.
The urgency of getting started nov 18 'underlined by the fact that occupancy of a new building is perhaps four or five years away under the best circumstances of progress on authorization, planning, and construction. In the interia, and all opportunities for temporary relief, either within the Commerce Building or st nearby locations, will need to be fully exploited. The actuality of necessary authorization for undertaking the construction of a new building, and the evidence of its progress toward reality, would serve in the interim period as a powerful asset to the Patent Office for laying the groundwork of other lasting improvements in operation, so heavily dependent upon adequate space and facilities.
Earl W. Kintner