HC Deb 20 July 1965 vol 716 cc1333-4
Q1. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Prime Minister if, with a view to encouraging inventions by persons with limited financial resources, he will introduce measures to give direct Government assistance, and specify a Department which shall fulfil this responsibility.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

No, Sir. The National Research Development Corporation already assists the development of private inventions which might not otherwise be sufficiently exploited.

Mr. Dempsey

Is the Prime Minister aware that the procedure of this association is very circuitous, irksome, and ultimately negative? Does he realise that, as a consequence, many inventions have been lost to foreign competitors? Will not he consider instructing the new Ministry of Technology to accept the full responsibility for operating direct grants to small-scale inventors who lack financial resources, and retain the inventive genius of the Briton for the British State in general?

The Prime Minister

I cannot accept that the N.R.D.C. is circuitous, or takes a lot of time before coming to the assistance of private inventors. This body, which has been in existence for 16 years—in fact, I set it up—has been extremely successful both with small private inventors and with the major developments in universities and State institutions. Since the passage of the recent Bill, extending its resources, it will be able to do more for private inventors as opposed to State inventors.

Sir J. Maitland

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is an organisation—the Institute of Patentees and Inventors—which has done most valuable work for the small inventor, and that many people, including Members on both sides of the House, think that Governments have not been sufficiently generous to this organisation, which does make a special effort to help those small inventors to which the Question refers?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I understand that the Institute referred to by the hon. Member is in very close touch with the Corporation, and that the Corporation has told the Institute that it is willing to look at any invention which may be channelled to the Corporation through the Institute. Furthermore, the N.R.D.C. is at present preparing a booklet on assistance to private inventors, and this will include a reference to the Institute of Patentees and Inventors.