Patent Law (Appointment Committee)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now in a position to make a statement with regard to Patent Law Reform.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Yes, Sir. After consulting my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor I have appointed a Committee with the following terms of reference: To consider and report whether any, and it so what, changes are desirable in the Patents and Designs Acts, and in the practice of the Patent Office and the Courts in relation to matters arising therefrom.In particular, the Committee is requested to give early consideration to, and to submit an interim report or reports on—

  1. (a) the initiation, conduct and determination of legal proceedings arising under or out of the Patents and Designs Acts including the constitution of the appropriate Tribunals; and
  2. (b) the provisions of these Acts for the prevention of the abuse of monopoly rights; and to suggest any amendments of the statutory provisions or of procedure thereunder which, in their opinion, would facilitate the expeditious settlement and the reduction of the cost of legal proceedings in Patent cases and would encourage the use of inventions and the progress of industry and trade."
I am glad to say that Mr. Kenneth Swan, K.C., has consented to act as Chairman. The other members of the Committee are:

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Is it right to say that the necessity for this inquiry arises out of the misuse of the present patent law, whereby people take out patents to prevent development and progress, rather than to utilise them for those who want progress?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

That view is very widely held, and because it is widely held and because, if it is true, it is a serious matter, I have decided to appoint this Committee.