§ MR. MACFIE
said, he wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, among the measures contemplated next Session is one for the Reform of the Patent Laws; and, if so, whether it is to be preceded by an Inquiry by a Committee or a Royal Commission?
Mr. Speaker, I believe every Member of the Government agrees with my hon. Friend that some considerable change at any rate is necessary to be made in the Patent Laws. I am not sure how many, or whether any, are of opinion that there ought not to be any Patent Laws at all. But notwithstanding their agreement as to the desirableness of some alteration, it would be very imprudent, I think, for me to pledge the Government to bring in a measure of this nature when there is so great a difference of opinion upon it, and when it seems impossible for any two men to agree as to the change that should be made. At the same time, if we come to a question of a Committee or of a Royal Commission, we are in the same difficulty, as we are at a loss to know whether the inquiry should be made as to what amendment should take place in the law, or whether there should be any patent system at all. I can only conclude by saying that, admitting with the hon. Member for Leith that the question is one which requires to be attended to whenever there is time to attend to it, I am quite unable to say that the Government will bring in a Bill next Session. If my hon. Friend were to propose a Committee of this House it would be a very reasonable proposition, to which the Members of the Government and this House would probably agree.
§ MR. MACFIE
said, he would give notice that, if the Government did not bring in a Bill, he would bring the subject before the House early next Session, with the view to the appointment of a Committee or a Royal Commission.