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Patent Office

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he proposes to take to enable the Patent Office to deal promptly with its duties and to minimise delay to investors and exporters.

An increase of 50 staff has been approved for the trade marks registry to deal with a backlog of cases which has built up since service marks were introduced in 1986. These staff are currently being recruited and trained.The Patent Office, which is in the course of relocating to Newport (Gwent), is due to become an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in the course of this year. This is expected to result in substantial improvements in efficiency and quality of service, in particular when the relocation is complete in the autumn of 1991.