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Patent Office

Volume 975: debated on Monday 10 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what changes have been made in the classifying of patents by the British Patent Office; whether consultations were held with industry on such changes; if so, what objections he has received to the changes; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 December 1979, c. 413…: The United Kingdom patent classification has been continuously revised (apart from the war years) since the start of this century. The classification scheme is reprinted at intervals of just over a year, each reprint including the many changes made since the previous reprint. In the last reprint about 1,000 of the 4,000 pages included changes of substance. My hon. Friend will not expect me to go into detail about each of these changes.It has not been the practice to consult industry on proposed changes but the Patent Office has always taken into account suggestions made by those who use the classification. Earlier this year, the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents, the Trade Mark, Patents and Designs Federation, and the Patent and Trade Mark Searchers Group of the Society of Information Scientists formed a small committee which collates the views of the users of the classification and receives information from the Patent Office about its plans for revision; a representative of the Patent Office attends meetings of this committee.I have received letters from three hon. Members asking for my views on a paper on the classification sent to them by an individual regular user of it; each has received a full reply which I believe they have found satisfactory. I think the subject is too specialised and complex to be dealt with fully by a statement, but a copy of the above-mentioned reply can be supplied to any hon. Member interested and a copy has been placed in the Library.