At the end of Section twenty-nine of the principal Act the following words shall be inserted:
And the terms of any agreement or license concluded between the inventor or patentee and any person other than a Government Department, shall be inoperative so far as concerns the making use or exercise of the invention for the service of the Crown:
Provided further, that where an invention which is the subject of any patent has, before the date of the patent, been duly recorded in a document by, or tried by on behalf of, any Government Department, such invention not having been communicated directly or indirectly by the applicant for the patent or the patentee, any Government Department, or such of their agents, contractors, or others, as may be authorised in writing by them, may make use and exercise the invention so recorded or tried, for the service of the Crown, free of any royalty or other payment to the patentee, notwithstanding the existence of the patent. If in the opinion of the Department the disclosure to the applicant or the patentee, as the case may be, of the document recording the invention, or the evidence of the trial thereof, if required, would be detrimental to the public interest, it may be made confidentially to counsel on behalf of the applicant or patentee, or to any independent expert mutually agreed upon.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
I beg to move, at the end, to insert the wordsIn case of any dispute as to the existence or scope of any record as aforesaid, or as to the use of an invention, or the terms of its use, the matter shall be referred to a judge of the High Court for decision, who shall have power to refer the whole matter or any question or issue of fact arising thereon to be tried before a special or official referee or an arbitrator upon such terms as he may direct.772 I am sorry that my Amendment comes in front of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Doyle), which was put down without my cognisance. The purpose of my Amendment is this, to leave with the Court the decision as to what sum is to be paid to a firm or person for the use of patents. Clause 8 refers to Clause 29 of the principal Act which provides that where a patent has been used by the Crown then the amount to be paid for the user shall be settled by the Treasury after hearing all parties interested. I undertook in Committee to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer in order that that might be altered because it was felt to be wrong that the party who had to pay, namely, the Treasury, should also be the party to decide what was to be paid, and I was anxious to alter the present plan. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told me that he has no appetite to decide these cases himself and would be very glad that they should go elsewhere. We have there fore provided that that should be done. I have been able to meet also one or two other points. Where there is a question as to the use of the invention or its terms or the existence or scope of any record, which is referred to now in the new Clause, all those matters shall go to the High Court for decision. But the High Court has the power not necessarily to try all those cases but to direct that they shall be tried before a special or official referee or arbitrator on such terms as the judge may direct. In other words we have now a Clause pro viding that an official referee, a special referee, or an arbitrator, shall be the per son who shall determine what shall be paid, and the instructions to be given as to how this should be done now rests with a judge of the High Court. The House is indebted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for agreeing to this course and giving up what hitherto has been his prerogative.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir E. POLLOCK
I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to add the following wordsThe right to use an invention for the ser vices of the Crown under the provisions of this Section shall include, and shall be deemed always to have included, the power to sell any articles made in pursuance of such right which are no longer required for the services of the Crown.The House will be interested to know why I ask to have these words inserted. A somewhat curious result has been produced during the course of this War. Many Government Departments have had 773 to make or use a large number of patented articles. They have bought, to the ad vantage of the makers and patentees, a very large number of patented articles. Although they have power to use, under Section 29, the power that is given under that Section is a power only to use, and the Government Departments now find that, having paid, or being liable to pay, royalties in respect of all these things, they are in possession of a number of articles which they cannot dispose of at all, because it would be contrary to the patent law. It is quite impossible, in the public interests, to allow these things not to be made use of, and this proposal is intended to give power to dispose of these articles and to obviate difficulties that have arisen from the patent law.
§ Amendment agreed to.