HC Deb 24 July 1953 vol 518 cc763-4

Section two of the Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887, shall be amended by the deletion of subsection (2) thereof and the insertion of the following subsection:— (2) Every person who sells, or exposes for, or has in his possession for, sale, or any purpose of trade or manufacture, any goods or things to which any forged trade mark or false trade description is applied, or to which any trade mark or mark so nearly resembling a trade mark as to be calculated to deceive is falsely applied, as the case may be, shall, unless he proves either—

  1. (a) that having taken all reasonable precautions against committing an offence against this Act. he had at the time of the commission of the alleged offence no reason to suspect the genuineness of the trade mark, mark or trade description; and that on demand made by or on behalf of the prosecutor, he gave all the information in his power with respect to the persons from whom he obtained such goods or things; or
  2. (b) that otherwise he had acted innocently;
be guilty of an offence against this Act."—[Mr. F. Willey.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

11.27 a.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I endeavoured in Committee to move a similar new Clause, but I did not succeed because I did not put it in a form which amounted to an alteration of substance. I have now added the word "either" to the new Clause as previously drafted, and I am glad to know that it is now in order.

This is a mere tidying-up proposal to alter Section 2 of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, so that it will read in fact as it is indeed construed by the courts, who have taken a common sense view of the Section. If the proposed new Clause is accepted, the courts will no longer be under any embarrassment in doing that. This is of some practical importance because it will help those practising in court of summary jurisdiction where, I am told, a lot of argument has been devoted to this point. In future perhaps we shall save the courts that argument.

Miss Elaine Burton (Coventry, South)

I beg to second the Motion.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

As the hon. Gentleman says, the proposed new Clause does not alter the law as the Section has been construed by the courts. Nevertheless, it makes much clearer to the layman and to benches of magistrates what, on the face of the statute, the correct reading of the Section is. For that reason Her Majesty's Government are pleased to accept the proposed new Clause, and so advise the House.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.