Werner Siemens (1816-92) not only built the greatest electric concern in Germany, he also concerned himself deeply with the enactment of the German Patent Law (1877). It is because he himself was an inventor-entrepreneur and recognized the significance of patents. He stated “the main reason of the rapid growth of our factories is that our products resulted mainly from our own inventions.” In his company, Siemens and Halske & Co., in 1873 an unprecedented controversy came about. That is, the upper engineer Hefner-Alteneck (1845-1904) who invented an epoch-making dynamo stated that he wanted to retire with the invention and set up his own company. At the time the whole German patent law had not been developed yet, and Prussian patent law was not complete, so the rights of employees concerning their inventions were not covered. How did Siemens cope with the situation? Siemens was opposed to Hefner's demand for his regisgnation because “even employeers' knowledge and skill is the property of the company, not to speak of employee-inventions.” However by only an old-fashioned patriarchic authoritarian approach he could not control his employees' loyality. In exchange for the concession of distributing profits, Siemens was able to prevent Hefner from starting his own business. After this trouble in Siemens & Co. every new employee had to sign the special agreement concerning employee inventions. This is an important case in history of business and technology because it was the earliest case of so-called employee-inventions.
The purpose of this paper is to make clear relationship between an international cartel and a domestic cartel in Japan through examining the case of the “Six Companies Agreement” on gasoline of 1932. The member companies of this agreement were the Rising Sun Petroleum, the Socony-Vacuum Corporation, the Nippon Oil, the Ogura Oil, the Mitsubishi Oil, and the Mitsui & Company. The Rising Sun belonged to Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell Group, and the Socony-Vacuum was an American company. In those days, the Royal Dutch Shell concluded the international cartel agreement with the Socony-Vacuum. Of the rest four companies, the Nippon Oil, the Ogura Oil, and the Mitsui & Company were genuine Japanese companies, and the Mitsubishi Oil was a joint concern of the Mitsubishi in Japan and the Associated Oil in the United States of America. The commonly accepted theory emphasizes the superiority of the international cartel between the Royal Dutch Shell and the Socony-Vacuum to the domestic cartel, that is the “Six Companies Agreement” of 1932 in Japan. The conclusion of this paper, however, denies the commonly accepted theory. It may safely be said that the control power in the gasoline market of the international cartel was restricted within narrow limits in a “medium advanced country” like Japan.