HC Deb 24 March 1920 vol 127 cc416-8

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Merchandise Marks Act permits the importation of goods without the country of their origin being stamped thereon; and, if so, what means are taken to prevent British agents afterwards impressing their names on such goods, thereby implying they are of British manufacture?


Goods which do not bear marks suggestive of British origin are not required by the Merchandise Marks Act to bear on importation any indication of the country of manufacture. The application to goods in the United Kingdom of a false indication as to the country of their manufacture is an offence under the Act, but the question whether the name of a British agent would constitute such an indication would be one for the decision of the Courts in any particular case. A Departmental Committee is now engaged in considering whether, and in what respects, the provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act relating to indication of origin require amendment.

80. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether this country has surrendered her right with regard to the imposition on imported goods of any mark of origin to any international tribunal; whether he is aware that during the month of January 120,000 German clocks and watches were imported with the words "Made in Germany" omitted from dials and box labels, that some of these clocks further bear the words "Westminster chimes" on clocks, keys, and boxes; and what action does he propose to take?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The marking of foreign goods on importation is regulated by Section 16 of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, which is administered by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. I am informed by the Commissioners that there have been several recent cases of importation of German clocks bearing marks which should have been accompanied by a statement as to the country of manufacture. In these instances the goods have been detained, and delivery has been allowed only on compliance with the statutory requirements. One consignment of clocks bore the word "Westminster" on the keys and the inscription "Westminster Chimes" on the box labels. Delivery in this case was not allowed until the keys had been destroyed and until the statement "Made in Germany" had been marked on the labels.

Colonel NEWMAN

Before the War, would not these clocks have to be stamped "Made in Germany"?


There is no difference between then and now.

Brigadier-General COLVIN

Can the hon. Gentleman give any instances of German trade marks being erased?


I have heard of such instances, but I do not know whether there is any justification for it.