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Patent Office Fees

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the Patent Office fees yield a profit of nearly 100 per cent. over the cost of maintenance, and that the American Patent Office issue patent protection for seventeen years for fees less than those charged by the British office for fourteen years' protection; and, having regard to all the circumstances, will he bring about a reduction of fees in this country in the interest of poor inventors.

I am aware that of late years the Patent Office fees have yielded a considerable profit, but at the present time whilst the office expenses are rapidly increasing and new duties are being thrown on the office by the Patents and Designs Bill I can give no undertaking to reduce them; nor do I believe that it would be to the interests of poor inventors to substitute for our present fees those chargeable in the United States which would benefit the comparatively small number of successful inventors at the expense of the much larger number of unsuccessful inventors who can less afford to pay. I will cause to be printed with the votes a statement showing the comparative cost of patents in the United Kingdom and United States respectively.