HC Deb 04 December 1956 vol 561 cc1029-30
19. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that many reputable manufacutrers in different industries are concerned at the loopholes in guarantees offered to the public and at the way in which some guarantees are not honoured at all; and whether, as such cases constitute an infringement of the Merchandise Marks Acts, he will undertake to prosecute where such cases are brought to his notice.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. F. J. Erroll)

Although I have seen some correspondence in the Press on this subject recently, I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction among manufacturers about guarantees offered to the public. Unless the guarantee constitutes a trade description as defined in the Merchandise Marks Acts, there can, of course, be no infringement of those Acts. If, however, the hon. Lady will let me have particulars of possible infringements I will examine them.

Miss Burton

I know that the Parliamentary Secretary is new to the Board of Trade, but may I ask him whether he has seen The Times of 15th October, in which this matter is dealt with and in which it is reported that a Board of Trade spokesman suggested that if the complainant had a good case he should see a lawyer? That smacks rather of old times at the Board of Trade. Would the Parliamentary Secretary consider the proposal that guarantees and warranties should be registered in the same manner as trade marks?

Mr. Erroll

I am grateful to the hon. Lary for being so gentle with me on one of my early appearances as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. I am, of course, well aware of her great and sincere interest in this matter. I have read the correspondence in The Times, and I will look into her suggestion.