HL Deb 03 July 1888 vol 328 cc155-6

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that it proposed to make certain Amendments in the Act of 1883. These Amendments were mainly matters of detail and not of principle; but there were two innovations to which he wished to call attention. By the first it was proposed to constitute a roll of authorized patent agents. By the other innovation it was proposed to extend the Act to the Channel Islands, and the Governors had been communicated with and the Government would be prepared at the proper time to consider any Amendments which it might be necessary to propose in consequence. The other details he need not trouble their Lordships with, because they were founded upon the recommendations of a very strong Departmental Committee which sat last year and the year before under the Presidency of the noble and learned Lord lately on the Woolsack. In addition to that the wishes of those important Bodies the cutlers of Sheffield and the Chamber of Commerce of Manchester had been consulted, and certain Amendments accordingly introduced. Something like 90 per cent of what was known as "the cotton class" emanated from Manchester, and it was in accordance with the interests of all parties that the Office for the registration of marks of that class should be fixed in Manchester, while keeping the Central Office in London in communication with it. The Bill had been under the considera- tion of the Law Officers of the Crown, and had been submitted to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. There was another important alteration, and that was in the definition of marks registrable under the existing law. By Clause 64 of the principal Act it was provided that any "fancy word or words" not in common use might be taken as a trade mark. It had been found in practice, however, very difficult to define what a "fancy word" was, and it was proposed, therefore, to allow a word or words arbitrarily selected, having no reference to the quality of the goods and not being the name of a place, to be a trade mark. It would be impossible to allow as a trade mark a word descriptive of the goods, as that might be unfair to another manufacturer who made goods to which the same description might apply. Again, a man might have established a business in a place which might have been taken by another as a trade mark, and it would be very hard to deprive him of the right to put on his goods the name of the place of his business. By a clause in the Bill, however, it was provided that nothing therein contained should affect the validity of anything done before the passing of the Bill. It would be very hard to permit of names of places which might already be trade marks to be expunged, for instance, in the whisky trade, where whiskies were generally known by geographical names, and if these were expunged the trade might be destroyed. The noble Earl concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Onslow.)

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly.