§ Order for Second Reading read.2.22 pm
§ Mr. Stephen Dorrell (Loughborough)
I beg to move, That the Bill be read a Second time.
I hope that the House will forgive me if I use the few minutes left at the end of an important debate on video recordings to air the issues in the Bill. This measure is dramatically less controversial than the Bill that was the subject of the earlier debate. It is much more modest. I believe that both sides of the House will regard it as uncontroversial. As the long title of the Bill makes clear, it is designed to amend the Trade Marks Act 1938 to afford registration for service marks. Hon. Members will probably be unaware that the registered trade mark—a concept with which most hon. Members are familiar—is available to deal only with manufactures and not to those companies or businesses that provide services to the consumer. A manufacturer can register the trade mark of his product but a provider of services cannot register the trade mark under which he provides a service to the community.
The purpose of the Bill is to extend the provision to enable the trade marks registry to allow the providers of services to register the trade marks under which they trade. It is inaccurate to say that no protection is available to those who provide services because the common law provides protection. Nevertheless, if it is right to protect trade marks of manufactured goods, it is right that the same protection should be available for the providers of services. That is an important issue. I hope, therefore, that the House will agree to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)
Those of us who were elected to the House for the first time in the general election on 9 June appreciate that there are many Bills that we wish to be promoted, accepted and passed into law, but many people outside regard the procedures of the House as somewhat ludicrous. I wish to consider the procedure that allows the Second Reading of a Bill such as this to occur in advance of other Bills for which private Members took part in the ballot.
The procedure allows 500 Members to write their names beside numbers in a book and to take part in a ridiculous raffle in which some are lucky enough to secure a winning number. As must be obvious to the promoter of the Bill, the only reason for my opposition today relates to the procedure involved. Although 20 private Members were fortunate enough to be successful in the ballot, their Bills are now at risk due to an archaic procedure which allows other Bills to skip ahead.
The six most successful Members in the ballot, which was taken shortly after the beginning of the Session, must have precedence—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman as I know that he is relatively new to the House, but he must address his remarks to the Bill and matters relating to it.
§ Mr. Wareing
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Let us examine this very short Bill. It is simply an amendment to the Trade Marks Act 1938. It is laudable in its brevity and it extends even to Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. It is most peculiar, however, that the House should be allowed to discuss measures relating to the Isle of Man without the Isle of Man being represented in this Legislature. I understand that the relationship between the Sovereign and the Isle of Man concerns the Home Secretary, so it is also most peculiar that we should he asked to discuss a Bill which applies to the Isle of Man without the Home Secretary being present in the Chamber.
A Bill as important as this one purports to be should be introduced by a member of Her Majesty's Government. It is far too important to be left to a private Member. Moreover, before the Bill was introduced the Home Secretary should have told the House whether any money resolution would be required in relation to it. In this context, I wonder whether Mr. Speaker's Office has examined the possibility of a money resolution being required for a Bill of this nature. We should know that before we are asked to discuss the Bill in the House.
The schedule to the Bill is extremely lengthy. Yet we are being asked to debate Second Reading on a Friday afternoon. The amount of time that is allowed to discuss a private Member's Bill is inadequate because we are asked to examine a Bill that that hon. Member has drafted. I have had recent experience of this problem. Government Departments give far too little attention to assisting hon. Members to present Bills. The Home Secretary should be here to tell us about the Bill. He should also tell us whether his Department is worried about whether the Bill should apply to the United Kingdom as we usually recognise that term or whether it should be allowed—
§ It being half past Two o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed on Friday next.