HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 c500
37. Mr. Patrick Jenkin

asked the President of the Board of Trade what consultations he has held with representatives of overseas users of the Patent Office about the proposed removal of the office to Croydon; what representations he has had from such users; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. Darling

None, Sir. One overseas patent agent has made representations. The reasons for making a move have been explained to him.

Mr. Jenkin

If the Board of Trade had taken the trouble to consult American users, would it not have learnt that the American Government made precisely the same mistake some years ago when they moved their patent office to the outskirts of Washington, only to find that they had to move it back again a few years later because, sited where it was, it was hopelessly inefficient?

Mr. Darling

We are well aware of American experience in this matter. I assure the hon. Gentleman that their reasons for moving it back are not the same that would apply to our reasons for moving it out.

Mr. Winnick

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that his Answer shows that there has been hardly any protest whatever about moving the Patent Office to Croydon? Is he aware that the people of Croydon are quite happy about the present arrangement?

Mr. Darling

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Is the Minister aware that the progressive town of Croydon welcomes the Patent Office coming there, that there will be no question of it having to go back to the centre of London and that the only point I wish to make is that it must be sure to pay its rates when it gets there?

Mr. Darling

I was waiting for unanimous support, from both sides of the House, for the sensible suggestions we are making in this regard.