I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This is a Bill to consolidate the Trade Marks Acts. Hon. Members will recall that we passed last Session an Act which made very considerable additions to and amendments of our trade marks law. When that Bill was before this House I intimated that my right hon. Friend hoped to introduce a consolidating Measure as soon as possible, and this is the Bill for that purpose. The Bill consolidates the Act of last Session with the earlier Trade Marks Acts of 1905 and 1919. With the exception of certain provisions relating to international conventions, which are more conveniently dealt with in the Patents and Designs Act, and certain provisions to do with criminal proceedings, which are more appropriate to the Merchandise Marks Act, The whole of the Statute law relating to trade marks is contained in those three Acts. This Consolidation Bill simplifies and rearranges this branch of the law and makes it more easily understood.
The Bill having received the necessary certificate from the Committee, it is not for me to go into any detail. The only point on which I think I should say a few words is the question of when it shall come into operation and how the Act which we passed last Session will be affected. It is provided in Clause 71, Sub-section (2) of the Bill, that the resulting Act shall come into operation on the date to be fixed under the Trade Marks Act passed last Session for the coming into operation of that Act, and immediately after that Act comes into force. As this Bill repeals the Act of last Session, the result will be that the provisions of that Act will come into operation in the form in which they are now embodied in this consolidating Bill. It may sound unusual to pass an Act last Session and now repeal it before it has actually come into operation, but it was explained to the House at the time that the object of this procedure is to make it possible for the new Rules, which would otherwise have to be made in connection with the Act of last Session, to have reference to and to be based upon the consolidating Measure only. The desirability of that I indicated on the Second Reading of the previous Bill.
The main consideration, therefore, is the time that will be taken to make the new Rules under the Consolidating Act. Under Sub-section (3) of Clause 40 of the Bill notice of intention to make the Rules has to be published, and copies of the Draft Rules have then to be available. Rules have actually been drafted and the printed draft is at present being revised, so that it should be possible to publish notice of intention to make Rules quite soon after this Bill becomes law. I think it is generally accepted in all quarters that the sooner the Rules are made the better. Therefore, supposing that the Bill is enacted by the end of April, I am advised that we ought to be able to publish notice of intention to make the Rules very early in May, and to give, say, a month for possible objections. If there are no objections the Rules can be made in June and be brought into force on 1st July. That is the date at which His Majesty's Government aim. But if there are objections to the Rules, and in so far as the objections are serious, it will take longer. I think I indicated last Session that we hope to bring the whole of this procedure, with the consolidating Bill, into operation by 1st July, and at the present moment I see no reason why we should not redeem that promise.