§ SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade, if, when the present Patents Act came into force, the full address of every applicant for a patent was published in the Patent Office Journal along with the title of the invention; at whose instance and on what grounds the addresses of the inventors in many cases are now withheld and 1240 those of patent agents substituted; whether the substitution of the agents' addresses for that of the real applicant has been found to preclude inventors opposing applications made by persons to whom they have communicated their ideas, but whom they cannot trace in the address of a patent agent; and, whether he will direct that the applications for patents shall be restored to their original form in the Patent Office Journal, and the real address given of the applicant?
§ MR. RITCHIE
Yes, Sir; the full address of every applicant for a patent was published in the Illustrated Official Journal for about seven months of the year 1884. The practice of advertising the address of the agent instead of that of the applicant in the above journal was adopted in August of that year upon the suggestion of the Institute of Patent Agents, and with the sanction of the Board of Trade. The object was to protect the applicant, who had already authorised an agent to act on his behalf, from being flooded with the touting circulars of other agents. No means exist of ascertaining whether any, and, if so, how many inventors have been precluded from opposing applications under present procedure. There is no reason to think that there have been many such cases. Every application is, for the purposes of opposition, open to public inspection for two months from the date of the advertisement of the acceptance of the complete specification in the Illustrated Official Journal, and during this period the real address of any applicant can be ascertained from the original documents. I do not propose to alter the present practice.