HC Deb 10 May 1995 vol 259 cc745-6
18. Mr. French

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many applications have been (a) received and (b) processed by the Trade Marks Registry since October 1994. [21959]

Mr. Ian Taylor

In the period from 31 October 1994 to 31 March 1995, the Trade Marks Registry received 24,241 applications, of which 23,717 were processed by the formalities section. In the same period 19,344 cases were examined, 13,090 cases published and 10,973 cases registered.

Mr. French

Is my hon. Friend aware that the volume of applications is such that it typically takes about five months to produce an acceptance or rejection, notwithstanding the registry's hard-working and diligent staff? Does he agree that such delays produce an unnecessary commercial handicap'? Will he introduce a maximum target time of no more than three months?

Mr. Taylor

My hon. Friend refers to a problem that has arisen because of the success of trade mark applications following enactment of the Trade Marks Act 1994. I hear what my hon. Friend says and we will look further into the matter. Improvements are being made and staff have adjusted to the high volume of applications, which shows how well the British economy is performing. Otherwise, there would not be the demand that we are experiencing.