§ SIR J. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the surplus on the Patent Office accounts for the year 1897 amounting to £111,299, he will consider the expediency of appropriating a portion of that excess of income to the cost of such preliminary examination for novelty of inventions as is made by the German Patent Office; and whether some rule can be adopted to prevent applicants, who have been refused patents in their own country, obtaining them in the United Kingdom?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE,) Croydon, Surrey
The honourable Member's Question touches a very important matter which is receiving my careful attention. It is by no means free from difficulty, as is evidenced by the fact that it was discussed at the recent meeting of the International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the discussion was adjourned for a year, as there was no probability of general assent to any proposal with respect to it. The subject-matter of the second paragraph of the honourable Member's Question is also receiving my consideration; it is obvious that as long as the patent laws of different countries are different, patents must be granted in some coun- 34 tries for inventions for which they will not be granted in others. I am glad to say, however, that there is a constant tendency to assimilation.