New Clause 1 - Compulsory binding technical arbitration for new and existing patents

Part of Patents Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 15th June 2004.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 3:15 pm, 15th June 2004

I thank the Minister for that answer. Obviously, it does not surprise me that he would take that view. I do not wish to press the new clause to a Division, but I ask that he will continue to keep his mind open on some of those issues. We have established that the status quo is unsatisfactory and that there is a widespread belief that the Bill will not make a huge difference. The new clause was simply an attempt to see whether we could explore some other avenues that might help to secure a resolution.

If the issue of experts is a problem, presumably it will also be a problem for the courts. Therefore, it is a problem whatever happens. It is possible that making that an established part of the process will make it become less of a problem, because experts would become more available. It concerns me that what would otherwise happen is that when the dispute reaches court, it is the party that has been able to buy the most powerful expertise that wins, rather than there being an objective decision. I ask the Minister consider keeping the lines of communication open with the Patent Reform Group and others.