HC Deb 18 March 1958 vol 584 cc114-5W
Mr. P. Williams

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give the reasons which led to the appointment of an administrative officer with no professional qualifications to be Comptroller-General of the Patent Office.

Sir D. Eccles

The functions of the Patent Office extend beyond the administration of the Patents Acts to the administration of the Acts relating to trade marks, designs, and copyright, as well as to other matters such as international negotiations and agreements about industrial property. The staff of the office comprises a large non-professional element—about two-thirds of the whole—as well as professional officers.

The size of the office—a staff of 1,200 costing over £1 million a year—and the complexity of the management problems which it faces because of the pressure of work and the shortage of scientific staff make the appointment of a Comptroller-General of particular importance at this time. After weighing carefully the many considerations involved I decided that the primary need was for a Comptroller-General with qualities of leadership and wide administrative and managerial experience. The appointment will be without prejudice to the selection of future Comptrollers-General from staff within the office.