HC Deb 21 June 1977 vol 933 cc443-4W
Mr. Dan Jones

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether the Patents Bill affects the general policy of Government Departments on awards to inventors; and if so, how.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

The Patents Bill includes provisions on the position of employers and employees in relation to inventions made by employees, and these provisions extend to the Crown and its servants. As regards awards, the Bill is concerned with patented inventions only.

The Crown also benefits from non-patented and non-patentable inventions. Most of these are made by Crown servants for whom there are special arrange- ments following agreement by the Civil Service National Whitley Council. Others are made and offered to the Crown by private persons or organisations which may have no monopoly rights and no legal claim for award or, if they have such rights, may prefer not to rely on them.

The Government intend that the practice of considering applications for ex gratiapayments in recognition of Crown use or exploitation of inventions shall continue to be governed as far as is practicable by the principles and procedures adopted by the 1946 Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors and set out in their compendium entitled "Use of Inventions and Designs by Government Departments" dated 1957. In case of dispute a Government Department will be willing to take an independent opinion on any question, before reaching a final decision, where it considers this would be appropriate.