As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
"In page 9, line 22, to leave out from the word 'to,' to 'a,' in line 24, and insert the words 'the sale or lease of, or licence to use or work any article or process protected by a patent to insert.'"
"In page 9, line 29, to leave out the word 'invention' and insert the word 'process.'"
"In page 9, lines 31 and 32, to leave out the words 'employ or.'"
"In page 9, line 34, after 'licensor,' insert the words 'or his nominees.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendments agreed to.
said the object of Clause 23 was to prevent the oppression of a person using the patent of a foreign owner by undue restrictions. He moved an Amendment as a safeguard against the very wide effect of the clause. The Amendment proposed to make lawful the conditions attached to the use of a foreign patent which the clause made unlawful if at the time the contract was entered into the patented article or process was being freely sold or licensed in the United Kingdom with- out such restrictive conditions, or if the patentee had before the date of the contract offered to the other party to sell, lease, or grant a licence on reasonable terms, and without any restrictive conditions.
formally seconded the Amendment.
"In page 9, line 34, after the words last inserted, to insert the words 'unless at the time when the contract was entered into for such sale or lease of or licence to use or work the patented article or process, the said patented article or process was being freely sold or licensed to be used or worked in the United Kingdom, on reasonable terms and without any such restrictive or prohibitive conditions, or unless the patentee had, prior to the date of such contract, offered to the other party or parties thereto to sell, lease, or grant a licence to use or work the said patented article or process on reasonable terms, and without any such restrictive or prohibitive conditions.'"—(Mr. Rawlinson.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
said he had considered this very carefully and was afraid he could not agree to accepting the Amendment in the form proposed. He was afraid that if it were accepted in this form it would render nugatory the whole of the clause and would enable these people to escape altogether the conditions the clause sought to impose. At the same time he agreed that there was something to be said for providing a reasonable alternative. If a reasonable alternative was provided, that was all that was required. So long as such provision was made, they did not want to put an end to freedom of contract in these cases. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would withdraw his Amendment he would be prepared to move words which he thought would meet the case, namely—
"Provided that the sub-section shall not apply in the case of a lease if (1) At the time when the contract was entered into the patented article or process was being freely leased or licensed to be used or worked at a rent or royalty and without any such restrictive conditions and (2) The contract entitles the lessee or licensee at any time, on giving not more than six months notice, to relieve himself of his liability to observe any such condition on payment of a rent or royalty not exceeding such rent or royalty as aforesaid."
said it was exceedingly inconvenient to the House that Amendments should be sprung upon it. The effect of the Amendment was a matter which they could not grasp right away. When they were in Committee upstairs a similar Amendment was proposed and they resisted it, with the result that it was either withdrawn or defeated. The question was whether the patented article or machine should be offered freely, and in that event certain contracts were not to be annulled. The same idea came up again now. The hon. Member for Southport had not put his Amendment on the Paper. ["Yes."] He begged pardon; this Amendment was at any rate on the Paper, but he had not known that it was the Amendment which was being moved. It was the Amendment they were to oppose. The amended form of this was now before them, and in that form it was not on the Paper, and it was impossible to grasp the meaning of the "payment of rent and royalty as aforesaid." Did that mean one year's payment or payment of arrears of rent and royalty, or the purchasing value of the rent and royalty? The whole point was quite muddled up, and it was quite impossible for them to vote upon it intelligently unless they had the proposal in front of them.
thought they should see the Amendment in print, and he believed that the right hon. Gentleman would admit that a point of this importance should not be decided without being thoroughly understood. It was a very important matter as it stood; it would be a restriction of freedom of contract between people who were perfectly able to look after their own interests. He thought that it would be right, when they were going to give a monopoly to a patentee, that they should render it impossible for him to make the conditions too hard upon people who used the patent; but that would be avoided if they left freedom of contract, with the alternative that certain offers might be made such as were proposed in the Amendment on the Paper, or in the proposed Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman. In that way they would meet all the difficulties of the case, because once they gave a reasonable alternative, they would effect what the right hon. Gentleman wished. But hon. Members should have an opportunity of considering the Amendment now proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, to see whether it met the case. He did not think that anyone on that side of the House wished to deal with the matter in any captious spirit, and he would respectfully ask the right hon. Gentleman to give them an opportunity of considering the matter a little further. The first portion of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment would appear to him to be quite sufficient and ample to meet the requirements of the case; the second part of it raised great difficulties, and they should have an opportunity of looking into it to see what effect it would have. He thought that might be done without in any way interfering with the time of the House, or a promise might be given to consider the matter in another place if the proposal was found not to work out as the right hon. Gentleman would wish.
said he did not approach this matter from the strictly Opposition point of view. They had endeavoured to help the Government to get through their measures. He and many others had considered this complicated Bill in Committee upstairs, and they now found it difficult to understand the exact meaning of the Amendment of the President of the Board of Trade. He would point out that they were dealing with an intricate subject, which at the same time would affect poor men of inventive genius as well as the work of the trades and industries of the country. If they passed hurry-scurry a Bill of this sort without debating it, they might find that they had not only made a bad law but caused great loss and injury to the trades and industries of the country. The President of the Board of Trade had ample evidence that the Unionists who sat until the early hours of the morning helping the Government to pass their measures did not desire to deal in any hostile spirit with Bills, more especially those relating to commercial matters. They desired that the legislation which emerged from that House should be useful to the nation; therefore he made bold to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, absolutely in a business-like spirit and in no Party spirit, to agree to postpone this measure. They would be in session until the middle of September, and they would have ample opportunity for dealing with this and other measures, not in the late hours of the night or early hours of the morning, but at a reasonable hour, and if the right hon. Gentleman agreed to their request his measure would receive greater attention, and very great credit would redound to him because of the form in which it would be passed.
, in response to the appeal, said that he was anxious to get the Bill through, in order that the other House might have it before them to-morrow. The Amendment would be dealt with in another place, and hon. Members would be able to consider it fully then.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
"In page 9, line 38, to leave out the word 'invention' and insert the word 'process.'"
"In page 9, lines 40 and 41, to leave out the words 'embodied in the patented article in force at,' and insert the words 'by which the article or process was or were protected at the time of.'"
"In page 9, line 41, and page 10, line 1, to leave out the words 'or the patent for the invention.'"
"In page 10, line 7, to leave out the word 'determined' and insert the word 'awarded.'"
"In page 10, line 11, to leave out the word 'invention' and insert the word 'process.'"
"In page 10, line 19, to leave out the word 'determined' and insert the word 'awarded.'"
"In page 10, line 21, to leave out Subsection (4)."
Amendments agreed to.
MR. CAVE ( Surrey, Kingston) moved to leave out Subsection 5 of Clause 23, which provides that the insertion by the patentee in a contract of any condition which by virtue of this clause is null and void shall be a ground on which the patent may be revoked. He did not know of any provision of that kind in any other Act of Parliament-He hoped the Government would not insist upon it.
"In page 10, line 27, to leave out Subsection (5) of Clause 23."—(Mr. Cave.)
Question proposed, "That the words 'the insertion' stand part of the Bill."
said the hon. and learned Gentleman would observe that he proposed considerable modification in the clause. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew how difficult it was to provide a perfectly watertight clause which would prevent operations by trusts for the evasion of the law. It had been attempted many times, but the trusts had been able to walk round the law. There was only one way of doing it, and that was by making them feel that if they endeavoured to evade the law or the principle of the law in this respect they would endanger the patent for the time being. If a man abused the special privilege which was granted to him when he obtained a patent by using it to the detriment of the trade of this country, he must know that he could not bring an action for infringement of the patent as long as he was abusing the privilege. He did not think that that man should be allowed to go into Court and sue for damages in respect of the infringement of the patent. That was the principle on which he had proceeded, and he thought it was the only way to prevent people in future from operations of the kind complained of. That would make it worth their while not to repeat these operations.
said he thought the penalty proposed was too heavy. If a man entered into a contract for five years, believing that such a contract was good, it might happen that, under this section of the Bill, some condition in it would be held to be bad. As soon as the courts held that this condition was void that man would not be able to get out of the contract, during the five years for which it had been made, anybody would be able to infringe the patent and make the article. He was all for a watertight clause, but this was going a great deal too far. Under this clause a perfectly honest man, carrying on his business in the ordinary way, might, through having been badly advised, lose a valuable patent.
said he thought the proposal was rather vindictive. It was gratuitous and unnecessary. Before these words in this section could come into effect the man would be in the position of having had his contract declared null and void, and therefore he would be forced to suffer the very serious consequences resulting from his having made a contract in which the governing condition was null and void. The whole value of the contract to him would be gone, but the other party to the contract might hold him to it. Being in that position, it seemed to him that the man was punished enough, and to impose an enormous
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Elibank, Master of||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Evans, Samuel T.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Everett, R. Lacey||Jowett, F. W.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Fenwick, Charles||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Ferens, T. R.||Kelley, George D.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lamont, Norman|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Black, Arthur W.||Gill, A. H.||Lehmann, R. G|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Brace, William||Glover, Thomas||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Branch, James||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Burns, Et. Hon. John||Gooch, George Peabody||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hall, Frederick||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore'r)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down. S.)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Harvey, A. G. C (Rochdale)||M'Crae, George|
|Clough, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Harwood, George||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Cory, Clifford John||Hazleton, Richard||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Hedges, A. Paget||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Crooks, William||Helme, Norval Watson||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Crossley, William J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Henry, Charles S.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Higham, John Sharp||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nicholls, George|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Horniman, Emslie John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Pollard, Dr.|
and ruinous penalty in addition was going too far. Although the practices which they desired to stop might in some cases be a knowing violation of the law, he believed that in many cases they would be done by inadvertence by the poor inventors whom they wished to protect.
said that this was the worst form of penalty which could be thought of. The infringer of the contract would be the first to get the benefit of the penalty, which was that the patent would be declared null and void. But he thought that the infringer of the contract was the last person who ought to be considered. He contended that to strike out this clause would not affect the rest of the Bill and that those who wished to use the patent had already got protection under Clause 16.
The House divided:—Ayes, 144; Noes. 34. (Division List No. 414.)
|Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Stanger, H. Y.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Kendall, Athelstan||Strachey, Sir Edward||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)||Summerbell, T.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Sutherland, J. E.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Rowlands, J.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Walsh, Stephen||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Seddon, J.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Shackleton, David James||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Shipman, Dr. John G.||Waring, Walter|
|Simon, John Allsebrook||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Gordon, J.||Radford, G. H.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hills, J. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hunt, Rowland||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Keswick, William||Younger, George|
|Cave, George||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lupton, Arnold||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Bowles and Mr. Claude Hay.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert|
MR. LLOYD-GEORGE moved to amend Subsection (5) of Clause 23, which as it stood in the Bill provided that the insertion by the patentee in a contract made after the passing of the Act of any condition which by virtue of this section was null and void should be a ground on which the patent might be revoked The right hon. Gentleman proposed to insert instead of the words at the end rendering the contract null and void, words to the effect that such conduct should be available as a defence to an action for infringement of the patent to which the contract related brought while that ontract wacs in force.
"In page 10, line 29, leave out from the first word 'be,' to end of subsection, and insert the words 'available as a defence to an action for infringement of the patent to which the contract relates brought while that contract is in force.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
suggested that it would be well if the right hon. Gentleman would insert the words "with the consent of the patentee," so that the patentee would not be able to bring his action so long as the objectionable contract existed with his consent. The patentee might wish to terminate the contract but might not be able to do so. If something of that sort were not inserted this House might render ineffective the labours of a lifetime.
said he could not accept that Amendment because if he did the patentee would not consent and the action for infringement would be brought.
said the presumption was that a patentee would make a contract which should last for the whole term of his patent and his rights would be extinguished by virtue of this amended clause. The patentee and inventor was usually a man of science and mechanical ingenuity and he was rarely a man who had any commercial or legal knowledge. Usually he was a mechanical enthusiast and it was hard to come down on him over a contract which was made illegal by this Act.
said it seemed to him that Subsection (5) as it stood was vastly better than it would be as it was proposed to be amended by the President of the Board of Trade. He could quite conceive that where illegal contracts were entered into by the patentee it might be a ground on which the patent might be revoked, but he failed to see how when the patentee had entered into a contract with some one else that contract could be a defence to an action against the third party who had infringed the patent. It seemed, to him somewhat ludicrous. If a man infringed a patent surely it ought not to be a defence to him who was a wrongdoer, that the patentee had entered into a contract which contained conditions which were under this section null and void. The contract itself was not null and void but only certain provisions of it. How could such a contract as that be pleaded man action for infringement against an ordinary wrongdoer? He could not understand how it could be, and he thought it would be better to leave the clause as it stood.
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 10, line 31, to leave out Subsection (6)."
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 11, line 18, at end, to insert the words '(f) apply to any contract if the seller, lessor, or licensor proves that at the time when the contract was entered into the patented article or invention in question was being freely sold without any such prohibitive or restrictive conditions, or that he was willing and had offered to the other party to the contract to sell, lease, or grant a licence to use or work the patented article or invention on reasonable terms, and without such prohibitive or restrictive conditions as hereinbefore referred to.'" He said that he believed this Amendment, or something like it, would be accepted by the Board of Trade. If the right hon. Gentleman did not see his way to agree to the Amendment, it would not be pressed to a division, and as he had already brought the matter to the attention of his right hon. friend he thought it would be sufficient if he moved the Amendment in a formal manner.
said that this was a subject which he proposed to deal with by some such clause as he had read to the House, or by a similar clause moved elsewhere. He hoped that statement would satisfy his hon. friend.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. J. D. WHITE moved to leave out Clause 25.
"To leave out Clause 25."
said that he accepted the Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
MR. RAWLINSON moved to leave out Clause 26. He said that this was an Amendment which he should venture to press very strongly upon the Government. Subsection (1) of Clause 26 abolished a tribunal which had existed for many years—the tribunal of the law officers who sat to hear appeals from the decisions of the comptroller. This Court, composed of the law officers, had over a long period done a very useful work in an admirable manner. It had been held by successive law officers, the business being conducted generally by arrangements between the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General. It was a highly desirable tribunal from the point of view of patentees, and more especially from the standpoint of the small patentee. The Bill proposed to abolish this efficient but inexpensive tribunal altogether, and to substitute for it an appeal in all cases to a Judge of the High Court. Necessarily, and for reasons which the House would well understand, the hearing of an appeal before a Judge of the High Court must be a more expensive proceeding than an appeal to the simple tribunal now existing. It was an exceedingly informal but an exceedingly successful tribunal; and matters could be dealt with before the law officers in a sort of informal way which would be quite impossible in the case of the High Court. Of course before a tribunal composed of the law officers anyone could appear. If the patentee who was dissatisfied with the decision of the comptroller chose to employ legal assistance he could do so, but if he did not choose to do so he need not be legally represented. The law officers sat in a private room, and, meeting in this way, they formed a very competent tribunal for the decision of matters arising out of the comptroller's decision. This was an Amendment about which there was a considerable amount of feeling, and if it was accepted he could not help thinking that it would clear away a good deal of the opposition which was expressed to the Bill at the present time. Might he also use an illegitimate argument in favour of the Amendment? If this subsection was omitted. Subsection (2), which provided that rules of the Supreme Court regulating the procedure on appeals from the comptroller to the Court should provide for appeals under this section, would go as well. That raised very difficult and thorny questions. If they abolished this informal tribunal they had to transfer the whole of these appeals to a Judge of the High Court, and in that Court, before that Judge, there had been from time immemorial a practice that only barristers and solicitors were entitled to appear. Clearly, if they abolished this tribunal, the ordinary rules of law ought to prevail, with the result that only barristers and solicitors would be allowed to practice before the Judge. That being the case, he thought the House would see that there would be a certain amount of hardship caused by not allowing people to appear in person as they did now before the informal tribunal composed of the law officers. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would accept the Amendment and would thus ensure that the Court which had existed so long should not be abolished.
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
"In page 11, line 36, to leave out Clause 26"—[Mr. Rawlinson.)
said that if this clause was allowed to remain in the Bill, patentees in the future would have thrown on them an enormous expense and they would have a tribunal for the determination of cases which would he less satisfactory than that which they had at present. This was a very important matter and it deserved the consideration of his right hon. friend. He could give a number of cases in which the comptroller had been wrong and in which the Court had been right. It was proposed to take away from the law officers the power of dealing with cases which they had been dealing with for many years and he thought the change would not be to the advantage of the patentee. During the year 1905–06 the comptroller gave 5,679 decisions. Against these there were sixty-two appeals to the law officers and only six were reversed. In the King's Bench Division in the year 1904, there were 123 appeals and only fifty-two were maintained. In the Chancery Division there were 114 appeals and only fifty-six were maintained. In the House of Lords there were fifty-four appeals and twenty-nine were maintained. He was perfectly certain that if this tribunal were shifted from the law officers to the Courts they would have a less satisfactory termination to the cases and a great deal more cost would be associated with the proceedings. He therefore hoped that his right hon. friend would see his way to agree to the Amendment.
said that he wished to support the Amendment of his hon. and learned friend. This tribunal consisting of the law officers had been in existence for a period of twenty-four years and during all that time it had undoubtedly worked admirably. It was a cheap tribunal, it was quick, and it exactly met the needs of the case. Now it was proposed by the President of the Board of Trade that instead of this eminently satisfactory procedure of an appeal to the law officers, there should be an appeal to the High Court. That Court, as the House knew, was overworked already, and he therefore maintained that it needed a very strong case to be made out before the House should sanction such an alteration. The effect of the Bill was to put in the place of a very good tribunal, a Court which was already overworked, and it was only in the nature of things, the circumstances being what they were, that delays should occur. He hoped the President of the Board of Trade would accept the Amendment, because if he did not, his Bill would destroy a procedure which had worked exceedingly well in order to substitute one that could not prove nearly so satisfactory.
hoped the President of the Board of Trade would stick to this clause. He understood that the Amendment before the House proposed to strike out both subsections and he thought it was difficult to discuss the matter on that basis. It might be that certain Members would be in favour of striking out one subsection and not the other. If they struck out the first subsection they retained the law officers as the tribunal which was to hear any appeals from the decisions of the comptroller. While he wished to speak of the law officers with unfeigned respect, he thought it was only just to remark that they were not appointed to their respective offices with any special regard to their competence to discharge these particular duties. He differed from several previous speakers inasmuch as he thought it would be a great advantage to the poor inventor if he had a right of appeal from the comptroller to a regularly constituted Court such as was proposed by Subsection (1) of the clause, and he hoped therefore that the President of the Board of Trade would stick to that part of the clause Subsection (2) which laid down that rules of the Supreme Court should provide for appeals under this section being heard in chambers, and for allowing any person to appear and be heard on any appeal who might have appealed and been heard on an appeal to the law officer was inserted with the view of diminishing expense, and of preserving the right of audience which the patent- agents now had before the law officers, and which it was proposed they should retain, before the Judge in chambers. Experience had shown that the practice of giving a right of audience to the patent-agent had been extremely useful. This was one of few clauses in the Bill which were likely to realise the genuine desire of the President of the Board of Trade to do something for the poor inventor, or at any-rate to preserve the meagre rights which the patentee possessed under the present law. The method favoured by the hon. Member for Cambridge was that the inventor should instruct the patent agent and pay him, that the patent agent should instruct the solicitor and pay him, that the solicitor should instruct counsel and pay him. The result would be that three men would be paid instead of one and no increase in efficiency would be produced by the process. On the contrary he thought there would be a diminution in efficiency. The patent agent knew nearly all about the matter, almost as much as the inventor; the solicitor knew a little less; and counsel knew a little less than the solicitor. The individual who knew least about the matter would present the case. For these reasons on the ground of diminishing the cost and increasing the efficiency, he sincerely hoped the second subsection, preserving the right of audience to the patent agent would be retained.
said he wished to deal with two points the hon. Member had put before the House. He did not understand how Subsection (2) could stand without Subsection (1). Subsection (2) was simply the machinery for carrying out the first subsection.
I wish to preserve both.
said the hon. Member suggested at the beginning of his speech that he did not agree with leaving out Subsection (2) although Subsection (1) might be argued. The second point was that the hon. Member had said that when these appeals were left to the law officers it was a mere toss-up whether the law officer was able to do the work. Hitherto they had always found the work was extremely well done. The law officers had one after another given full attention to the work and had done it to the satisfaction of everybody. The tribunal as at present was informal, it was rapid, it was cheap, and it was satisfactory to all concerned. Why then should they alter such a tribunal for a tribunal which must take more time, which must be more expensive and which in some respects would not, he thought, foe quite so satisfactory?
appealed to the President of the Board of Trade to accept the Amendment. So far as he understood the arguments which had been addressed to the House, there seemed to be no valid reason put forward for substituting another tribunal for the one which had existed so long and worked so successfully. Indeed the arguments put forward seemed rather to support the views of those who favoured the Amendment. It was desired to avoid expense. In order to effect this purpose it was much better to keep a tribunal which had worked so well for so long a time and which had proved satisfactory and inexpensive for dealing with matters brought before it. He urged that matters might be allowed to stand as they were and the rights of appeal to the law officers preserved, who, in spite of what had been said by the hon. Member who had recently spoken, had always in the past proved a satisfactory tribunal for dealing with these questions. Unless there was some better ground put forward for substituting another tribunal which must be more formal and more expensive, he submitted to the House and to the President of the Board of Trade, that no change should be made, and that this provision should be eliminated from this Bill.
regretted that none of the law officers were present. There was no doubt there was a general feeling that the present tribunal had worked very well. It had been put to him by a very high legal functionary that it was not so much a tribunal as a kind of domestic arrangement. Agents came and discussed matters round a table and there was nothing in the way of formal presentment of the case on one side or the other. The idea of the Bill was that there should be a special Judge with a special knowledge of patent cases who should sit upon patent business. It was quite clear to him, however, that it was the sense of the House that the present jurisdiction of the law officer should be retained. In the circumstances he acceeded to the Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 12, line 3, to leave out the word 'under,' and to insert the words 'by virtue of.'"
"In page 12, line 4, after the word 'referred' to insert the words 'or presented."'
"In page 12, line 5, to leave out the words 'or reference.'"
"In page 12, line 6, after the word 'made' to insert the words 'and the petition referred or presented.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendments agreed to.
*MR. CAVE moved, in page 12, line 8, to leave out from the word 'purpose' to end of clause. The words he struck out, he said, provided that the decision of the Judge should be final—a matter of great importance. He had every confidence in our Courts, but he thought the right of appeal was very valuable. He noticed that the President of the Board of Trade had put an Amendment on the Paper that the decision should be final except in the case of an appeal from a decision of the comptroller revoking a patent on any ground on which the grant of such patent might have been opposed. The effect of that was that a decision under Section 14 of the Bill would not be final, but a decision under Section 15 or Section 16 would. Might he, before the President moved his Amendment, suggest that he should go a little further and leave out the final words of his Amendment, so that it should read "except in the case of an appeal from a decision of the comptroller revoking a patent." The revoking of a patent was a very serious matter to a patentee, and whether it was revoked on one ground or on another an appeal should be allowed.
"In page 12, line 8, to leave out from the word 'purpose,' to the end of Clause 27."—(Mr. Cave.)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
said he could not see his way to accepting the proposal. It would destroy the whole effect of the Bill because, as the hon. Member knew, what had been the difficulty up to the present in regard to dealing with these patents was the enormous expense of putting such clauses as they had got into operation. A man in his endeavour to put these classes into operation might be taken from Court to Court, first of all to the Comptroller, then to the High Count, then to the Court of Appeal, then to the House of Lords. No man in these circumstances cared to undertake what was after all a public duty, the duty of compelling these patentees to work their patents in the country which granted them.
My suggestion is that the right hon. Gentleman should confine the right of appeal to cases where the patent is revoked.
said that Clause 15 was purely a clause with a view to compelling those who took out patents in this country to work them. He was certain that if there were three or four appeals such as he had indicated, in that case the result would be that the clause would be quite inoperative. The cost of these appeals was enormous. Before they got the matter through the House of Lords there might be £5,000 to £10,000 spent in compelling a foreign patentee to work his patent. In these circumstances they might as well not legislate at all. It was with a view to cheapen procedure largely that the Bill had been introduced, and if they were going to allow a series of appeals it would be quite useless. In case of revocation of a patent under Clause 14, that was a different matter. He thought an appeal might be granted there.
said he was willing to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment by leave, withdrawn.
"In page 12, line 8, to add the words 'except in the case of an appeal from the decision of the Comptroller revoking a patent on any ground on which the grant of such patent might have been opposed.'"
"In page 12, line 35, to leave out the word 'further' and to insert the word 'second.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendments agreed to.
"In page 12, line 36, at end, to insert the words, 'If within the prescribed time before the explanation of such second period of five-years application for the extension of the period of copyright is made to the Comptroller in the prescribed manner, the Comptroller may, subject to any rules under the principal Act, on payment of the prescribed fee, extend the period of copyright for a third period of five years from the expiration of the second period of five years.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
said that surely the right hon. Gentleman would give the House a few words of explanation of the Amendment.
said the holder of a copyright was not adequately rewarded, and artists generally had pressed that Amendment on the Government with a view to securing special treatment.
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 13, line 17, after the word 'disclosure,' to insert the words 'or acceptance.'"—(Mr. Lloyd George.)
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 13, line 20, to leave out the words 'Subject to the rules under the principal Act.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
said that surely on a question of rules which involved questions of law the President of the Board of Trade should give them some explanation.
said the words had been inserted in that clause by mistake. They should have been inserted in Clause 42.
Amendment agreed to,
"In page 13, line 32, after the word 'refused,' to insert the words 'nor shall the registration thereof be invalidated.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendment agreed to.
said he did not propose to move his first Amendment, which was to leave out Clause 33, but he would move his second Amendment, which was, in page 14, line 9, to leave out the words "not less than one year." If the right hon. Gentleman agreed to accept his Amendment he need not trouble the House with any of the reasons which he had for bringing it forward. The clause applied particularly to an industry like the lace industry, and in the lace industry the life of a design was exceedingly short, generally about one season.
"In page 14, line 9, to leave out the words 'not less than one year.'"—(Mr. Black.)
said he thought the Amendment was a reasonable one.
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 14, line 15, after the word 'kingdom,' to insert the words 'including those relating to costs.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendment agreed to.
MR. LLOYD-GEORGE moved an Amendment the object of which was to give in the case of designs the same remedies as in the case of patents.
"In page 14, line 17, at the end, to add the words 'Such ground as aforesaid shall be available by way of defence to an action for infringement of the copyright in the design.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
Amendment agreed to.
"In page 17, line 14, to leave out the words 'subject to rules under the principal Act.'"
"In page 17, line 16, at beginning, to insert the words 'subject to rules under the principal Act.'"—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)
"In page 17, line 21, after the first 'declaration' to insert the words 'or allow any declarant to be cross-questioned on his declaration.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
Amendments agreed to.
MR. LLOYD-GEORGE moved, "in page 17, lines 38 and 39, to leave out the words 'or giving notice of appeal from any decision of the Comptroller.'"
asked what the words meant. He thought the House should have an explanation.
said he would not press that Amendment or the following one, which was, "in page 17, line 41, to leave out the words 'or in case of appeal to the law officer, the law officer.'"
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
*MR. RADFORD moved, on Clause 45, to add the words '(2) If any person who is not registered as a patent agent uses on his place of business or on any document issued by him or otherwise, any words or title suggesting that he is a patent agent, he shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.'" He said the clause was intended to meet the evil, which it had been discovered by sad experience existed, of a man who lad been struck off the register for disgraceful professional conduct and who therefore was not entitled to the description "patent agent" using some other title calculated to make people think he was a patent agent or something a shade better. Some other title such as "patent expert," which conveyed the same idea to the public, was used by men who could not legally describe themselves as patent agents. Such men carrying on their business in that manner had caused great loss to innocent inventors who had sent them fees for them to take out patents, but the fraudulent recipients had put the money in their pockets and not taken out the patents at all. It was to put an end to that state of things that he moved his Amendment. He knew it would be said, and it had been said, in opposition to the suggestion that he had put forward, that the Comptroller of Patents kept a sort of black list of patent agents who had been removed from the register. That was said last year when a Bill embodying his suggestion passed through the House of Lords. But it was no reply to say that the Comptroller of Patents did not allow these men to practice, for that would not be effective against fraudulent agents who never applied to the Comptroller at all, but simply put the money they received as fees in their pockets and fraudulently converted them to their own use. Gentlemen like the President of the Board of Trade, who knew all about patents and patent agents, knew that that was a serious and widespread evil, which ought to be stopped at once. If the President of the Board of Trade considered the words in the Amendment too sweeping and would suggest some words which should be inserted limiting it to people who intended to deceive, he would be quite satisfied to accept them. The evil was, however, a serious one, and one from which the public suffered, and he therefore commended the clause to the House.
Amendment proposed to the Bill—
"In page 18, line 7, at the end, to insert the words, '(2) if any person who is not registered as a patent agent uses on his place of business, or on any document issued by him or otherwise, any words or title suggesting that he is a patent agent, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a tine not exceeding twenty pounds."'—(Mr. Radford.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
said the Amendment which his hon. friend proposed was a serious one. He would not say it was not desirable, but he was doubtful whether it would be effective. If the Government decided to accept it there would be very considerable opposition. He had received information from a good many quarters that there would be opposition. He thought the whole thing ought to be considered. They were dealing with a very responsible profession, a skilled profession, and he thought that the status of the profession should be recognised. Still he doubted very much whether it could be done in a clause of that kind. If they proposed to do it they should do it in a much more certain way than in the way suggested by his hon. friend. If they thought that it could be done it should be properly done by means of a second Bill, when there would be full opportunities for the patent agents to state their case and for those outside the profession to state their case. He agreed there was a great deal to be said against some of the men to whom his hon. friend had referred, and that there might be attempts to deceive the public, but a good many of these outside men earned an honourable living, and that they should be deprived of all means of obtaining their livelihood without being allowed to state their case would be manifestly unfair. He hoped that his hon. friend, having stated his case, and set it before the House, would withdraw his Amendment, for he must realise that at that stage of the session it would be impossible to set up a new provision of that kind, with all the new rules which would be rendered necessary. Some organisation would, of course, be necessary to carry the proposal out properly, for that could not be done by the Amendment before the House.
said he could not resist the appeal of his right hon. friend, based, as it was, on the late period of the session. He asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.
said before the Amendment was withdrawn he would ask the House to remember that the President of the Board of Trade had made a very important statement. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the words proposed to be introduced were not suited to the subject, that the profession was a skilled one holding a highly responsible position in the commercial life of the country, and that the unsatisfactory state of things belonging to the work of that profession rendered legislation of great importance. Surely, that being so, when the President of the Board of Trade was dealing as he was that night, with the patent laws in a large spirit, so large that the next order of the day was the Patents and Designs Consolidation Bill, he should give an undertaking that he would make it one of the first considerations in his programme for next year to introduce a very substantial Bill dealing with the patent agents of this country.
said that he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman. The most successful profession in this country was a profession without any legal restriction—civil engineering. He supposed the House knew that anyone could call himself a civil engineer. As soon as they set up a close corporation as a means of protection from the competition coming up from the great mass of the people a deterioration began. The more close the corporation the less worthy it was of the country. If the proposal was adopted in the present case it would not do any good to the people whom it was primarily intended to benefit and he hoped therefore that it would not be agreed to, although he quite sympathised with the feelings which had prompted the mover in bringing it forward.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
"In page 19, line 9, at end, to insert the words 'Section 19.'"
"In page 19, line 23, at end, to insert the words 'Section 38.'"
Amendments agreed to.
said he wished to appeal to hon. Members to assent to the Third Reading of the Bill that night. His reason for making this request was that he wanted the measure to be sent up to the House of Lords as soon as possible, so that the other House might be able to consider it without delay, as the session was now very near its close. If this were done hon. Members would have an opportunity of considering fully any Amendments which were made in another place and progress generally would be expedited.
said that after what the right hon. Gentleman had said he felt that he for one could not refuse his appeal.
Bill read the third time, and passed.