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British Designs (Japanese Copying)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has completed his inquiries into the evidence submitted to him of Japanese infringements of British designs; and what action he proposes.

This matter is now being discussed between representatives of the Lancashire and Japanese cotton industries. I hope that these discussions will lead to a solution of the problem.

Surely, the right hon. Gentleman knows that the discussions have been going on for months, that the origin of the complaint took place about 12 months ago, that a lot of evidence was submitted to him, and that all the information that I get is that no action has been taken, while the infringement is continuing unabated?

Quite a lot of action has taken place in consultation with the cotton industry. Japanese representatives have just been over in this country for consultation with the industry here, and they have given an assurance that on their return they will recommend to their industry the need for certain procedures to prevent the copying of textile designs. I understand that that visit is to be followed by a visit to Tokyo by representatives from Lancashire so that action has been taken.

Was it not laid down in the Japanese Peace Treaty that the Japanese Government should take action against copying of this kind, and can we have an assurance that that policy is still being followed?

I fully appreciate that. This is a complicated subject involving a pretty wide field, and I am as ready as anyone to see that this policy is carried out. The underlying purpose of the discussions is to find the best procedure by which it can be done.

Has my right hon. Friend taken the opportunity of the visit to this country of the Japanese Prime Minister to discuss this important subject with him?