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Intellectual Property (Statutory Protection)

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

2. What recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on statutory protection of intellectual property arising in Scotland. (317402)

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of matters concerning Scotland. My Department recently made two orders under the Scotland Act 1998 relating to intellectual property for the Commonwealth games and the register of tartans.

What will be done to protect the intellectual property rights of the people of Stirling if the excavations at the Dominican friary show that the bones that have been found there are indeed those of Richard II, and to provide Government moneys to support DNA analysis and perhaps to allow for an exhibition before the bones of that English king are returned to this country?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for providing me with a little advance notice of his supplementary question. It gave me an opportunity to look at the reign of Richard II, which was marked by particular acts of violence. He crushed the peasants’ revolt, built up a group of unpopular favourites, arrested, imprisoned and executed the people he worked with, or banished them and confiscated their estates. It sounds a little like a Conservative party selection meeting. More seriously, I am sure that we are all very interested in the results of the archaeological investigation, and that the Scottish Government and the local authority will be more than pleased to promote any find that might be discovered.

Is the Minister aware that there is a tremendous amount of intellectual property involved in building aircraft carriers on Clydeside? Is she also aware that, at this very moment, convenors from trade unions from across the United Kingdom are meeting representatives of the Liberal party to try to get them off the fence on the question of whether they are prepared to support the aircraft carriers?

Order. May I just say to the hon. Lady on the Treasury Bench that I know that her answer will contain a closely argued reference to the importance of statutory protection?

Thank you for your guidance on that point, Mr. Speaker.

My hon. Friend has been a doughty fighter for the aircraft carriers in Glasgow, and he is well aware that the project is important not just for Glasgow but for Scotland and the whole of the UK, and that many people will benefit from it. We should cherish and support the talents and skills of the engineers and workers in our shipyards at all times.

Does the Minister agree that it would be naive, misguided and wrong for anyone to claim false ownership, whether in business or in matters of faith?

When it comes to intellectual property, we have a good example of the Scottish and UK Governments working together, and we fully support the measures that have been taken on the Commonwealth games order. That has been one of the successes of the devolution settlement, but the hon. Gentleman unfortunately fails to appreciate that because he has only one aim for Scotland, which is to take it out of the United Kingdom and damage it.