§ SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
I Leg to ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the total net surplus revenue of the Patent Office in the last ten years over and above the £95,000 expended on the new buildings; how much of that surplus has accrued since the reduction of the fees on the renewal of patents; and whether it is in contemplation to apply some portion of the surplus to the cost of examining applications for novelty.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. LONG,)—(for Mr. RITCHIE) Liverpool, West Derby
The total net surplus revenue of the Patent Office during the ten years ended in December, 1898, appears from the Annual Reports of the Comptroller-General to have amounted to £1,002,232. The reduction of fees on the renewal of patents commenced in October, 1892. It is impossible to say how much of the surplus revenue accrued between that date and December, 1892. The amount, however, which accrued during the six years following the latter date appears from the Annual Reports of the Comptroller-General to have been £596,057. During the next two years the net surplus revenue will probably be considerably diminished, owing to the fact that the reconstruction of the Patent Office buildings is now proceeding rapidly, and will absorb a larger amount of the revenue than it has done in previous years. The question whether any further portion of the surplus revenue of the office should be applied for the benefit of inventors, and, if so, in what way it would be most advantageously employed, is a very difficult one. Many suggestions have been made on the subject, some of which are now under consideration.