HL Deb 21 October 1969 vol 304 cc1621-2

[No. 13]

After Clause 22, insert the following new clause—

Appeal Tribunals under Patents Act 1949 and Registered Designs Act 1949

".—(1) Section 85 of the Patents Act 1949 and section 28 of the Registered Designs Act 1949 (each of which provides for an Appeal Tribunal) shall be amended in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) For subsection (2) of each of those sections (which provides that the Appeal Tribunal shall be a judge of the High Court nominated by the Lord Chancellor) there shall be substituted the following subsections:— '(2) The Appeal Tribunal shall consist of one or more judges of the High Court nominated for the purpose by the Lord Chancellor.

(2A) At any time when it consists of two or more judges, the jurisdiction of the Appeal Tribunal—

  1. (a) where in the case of any particular appeal the senior of those judges so directs, shall be exercised in relation to that appeal by both of the judges, or (if there are more than two) by two of them, sitting together, and
  2. (b) in relation to any appeal in respect of which no such direction is given, may be exercised by any one of the judges;
and, in the exercise of that jurisdiction, different appeals may be heard at the same time by different judges '.

(3) After subsection (8) of each of those sections (which empowers the Appeal Tribunal to make rules) there shall be inserted the following subsection:— '(8A) At any time when the Appeal Tribunal consists of two or more judges, the power to make rules under subsection (8) of this section shall be exercisable by the senior of those judges: Provided that another of those judges may exercise that power if it appears to him that it is necessary for rules to be made and that the judge (or, if more than one, each of the judges) senior to him is for the time being prevented by illness, absence or otherwise from making them.

(4) At the end of each of those sections there shall be inserted (as subsection (11) in the case of the said section 85 and as subsection (10) in the case of the said section 28) the following provision:— 'For the purposes of this section the seniority of judges shall be reckoned by reference to the dates on which they were appointed judges of the High Court respectively'.

3.2 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 13. I should like if I may to discuss with this Amendment, Amendments Nos. 19 to 23 inclusive and No. 28. This is the clause making Amendments to the Patents Act 1949 and the Registered Designs Act 1949, and is for the reason which I ventured to give to your Lordships; namely, hitherto we have had only one patents judge, a nominated judge. He has accordingly not only heard the patent actions but heard the appeals to the Tribunal for which purpose he is the Patents Appeal Tribunal. But it became necessary, owing to the increase of work, to appoint a second judge. It is perhaps rather desirable to do so before there is any prospect of the present patent judge retiring. Of course, if one of the leaders of the patents Bar were to be appointed it would have the effect that he would not be able to deal with a large proportion of the cases because he would have been advised in them himself. Of course, if there were two judges that position could be avoided, but it is an awkward position if there is only one; so it seemed desirable to do it at that lime. That is all this provision does. It makes the appropriate alterations in the Act so that either of the two judges can constitute the Patents Appeal Tribunal, or in case there was some important and exceptional case both of them could sit at the same time.

Amendments No. 19 to 23 arise out of this Amendment. Amendment 19 applies these provisions to Scotland. Amendment 20 extends Schedule 1, which deals with the same matter, to Scotland. Amendment No. 21 extends these patent provisions to Northern Ireland. Amendment No. 22 extends these provisions to the Isle of Man, and the Manx author ties have agreed to that. Amendment No. 23, which is in the Schedule, provides for the relevant textual amendment. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 13.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.