HC Deb 20 July 1954 vol 530 cc1159-60
31. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Works if the paper which was given by Dr. A. Charlesby, of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, on the cross-linking of polythene by pile radiation, and on the effect of high-energy radiation on long-chain polymers, was delivered with his approval; on what terms a licence was granted to the General Electric Corporation of America for the manufacturing rights in this project; who will get the income which is the result of Harwell research: and how many applications have been made by or on behalf of German concerns to benefit from this British research.

The Minister of Works (Sir David Eccles)

Yes, Sir; publication of these papers was approved by the responsible authorities. No licence for manufacturing rights has been granted and no application has been received in this connection from any foreign firm. From 1st August, the Atomic Energy Authority will receive any income derived from commercial exploitation of the invention.

Mr. Edelman

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the procedure by which processes developed originally by Harwell are made available to private firms?

Sir D. Eccles

When an invention is thought worthy of patenting, an application is lodged for the patent and the information is distributed, and those who wish to take advantage of the invention can do so by paying a royalty to Harwell.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Does the right hon. Gentleman's original answer mean that no concern in this country which has benefited from the research carried out at Harwell is collaborating in any way with any other company in Germany, Japan or America?

Sir D. Eccles

I am not sure that I can answer that question without notice. A firm in this country is collaborating with Harwell on this invention, and one of its scientists is working there now.