HC Deb 07 March 1899 vol 68 cc17-8
MR. CAWLEY (Lanes., Prestwieh)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the protection granted in Germany to a supplementary patent (Zusatz) is limited to the remaining term of the original patent, whilst in the United Kingdom it is treated as a new patent running for the full term: and that a patent originating in Germany and registered in France ceases to exist in Germany and in Franco simultaneously; and whether, considering that the longer duration of such patents in this country than in Germany and France is so serious a disadvantage to British manufacturers, more particularly to manufacturers of chemicals, who are precluded from using them, often for years, during which their German and French competitors are at liberty to do so without restraint or payment of royalty, the Government would be willing to bring in a Bill during the present Session to remedy this inequality arising, not from natural causes, but from discordant legislation?


In Germany and France the duration of an ordinary patent is 15 years. For this reason patents taken out in both these countries expire simultaneously. In the United Kingdom the duration of a patent is limited to 14 years. Therefore, in the great majority of cases in which patents for the same invention are taken out in the three countries, the patent expires one year earlier in the United Kingdom than in Germany or France, and not later, as might be inferred from the honourable Member's Question. The existing law, so far from placing manufacturer in this country at a disadvantage in this respect, operates distinctly to their advantage on the whole. In the very exceptional case of patents of addition in Germany it would depend upon the date of the application for the patent whether the patent would expire earlier in Germany or in the United Kingdom. If the application were made within a year from the date of the application for the original patent, the patent would expire earlier in the United Kingdom than in German}'. If made later, the patent would expire later. I am not prepared to introduce legislation this Session.