HC Deb 21 June 1852 vol 122 cc1116-8

Order for Committee read; House in Committee.

Clause 26.


said, this clause was intended to meet a recent case with respect to the patent screw steam-vessels, in which a Court of Law had decided foreigners should have no advantage over British subjects. The clause proposed to alter the law laid down by that decision, and would place our shipowners at a disadvantage. He now gave notice that he would on the third reading propose a proviso to confine the exemption to foreign shipping in cases in which the subject of the patent had been first patented abroad.


said, he must admit the importance and great difficulty of the matter to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred. An international law would be the best way to prevent inconveniences; but in defect of that, if the hon. and learned Member would suggest any mode of protecting our own patentees, without injury to trade and commerce, he would be very glad to adopt it.


said, he believed the whole Bill was full of difficulty, and was much surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade should have introduced a measure which he had opposed only last Session. The subject of the Bill had not been properly considered. It had been before a Select Committee of the Lords, but it had not been before any Committee of that House.


said, he must deny that he had ever said a word against the principle of patents. He had opposed portions of the Bill of last Session, but they were not in the Bill now before the House, and he could assure the hon. Member every clause before them had been fully and carefully considered.

Clause agreed to; as were the remaining clauses.

On the Schedule of Fees to Clause 45,


said, he considered the fees far too high; and when it was remembered that a great portion of inventors were men in humble circumstances, it was clear that a schedule of fees amounting to 149l, 11s. and stamps to the amount of 35l., was most exorbitant. Within the last few years stamps on mortgages and deeds of various other descriptions had been greatly reduced, and it was only reasonable hatt inventors should participate in the improved spirit of legislation. The effect of his amendments would be to give a patent at the expense of 10l. It might be said that the reduction of the Stamp Duties would cause a loss to the revenue, but he did not think the imposition of Stamp Duties in such cases a sound principle of taxation. He proposed to reduce the petition for grant of letters patent from 5l. to 55s,; the notice of intention to proceed, the sealing, and the filing of the specification, from 5l. to 5s. respectively; the fee to be paid at or before the expiration of the third year, from 40l. to 5l.; at or before the expiration of the seventh year, from 80l. to 10l.; and the various other fees in similar proportions. The Stamp Duty on the warrant of the law officer he proposed to reduce from 5l. to 5s.; the certificate on payment of the fee at or before the expiration of the third year, from 10l. to 5s.; and the certificate on payment of the fee at or before the expiration of the seventh year, from 20l. to 5s. The hon. Member concluded by proposing the reduction of the first item.


said, that if the House reduced the expense of a patent to so low a scale, they would have all sorts of worthless things patented. As it was, the country was giving up 25,000l. in stamp duties which they would not receive.


believed the Bill would confer a great advantage on patentees.

Amendment negatived. The House resumed.

Bill reported.