NO DOUBT SOME MISTAKES have crept into our book. No doubt we have failed to note some works that might have merited acknowledgment. No doubt we have cited some in error. In a project of such length, and one that has taken several years to complete, it would be remarkable were it otherwise. For such errors and omissions as there may be, we apologize. We will welcome corrections from readers.
As we go to press, meanwhile, we note two instances in which we have boldly stated as fact what may well be merely apocryphal. One is the suggestion (in Chapter 2) that Judge Hand's manuscripts in Nichols and Sheldon “are preserved under glass in the Copyright Office.” We were told as much some years ago, and believe that there is probably at least some truth to the story. But the Copyright Office is currently undergoing renovation, with considerable resulting disarray. We have been able neither to confirm our claim, nor to discount it altogether. It is a charming story, and we have decided to leave it as is.
For similar reasons we have decided not to delete the anecdote involving the nineteenth-century patent commissioner whose supposed observations about coming to the end of patentable subject matter have been retailed frequently over a rather long period of time. We have actually discovered a web site that seeks to debunk the tale as myth; we imagine that myth it probably is. But it is still well-embedded in the lore and culture of patent law, and we like it. In fact we like it enough to have included it twice. An old friend used to recite a bit of doggerel that seems suited to the occasion: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” We do not claim to be wise, but we beg the reader's indulgence in this small matter nevertheless.