HC Deb 31 March 1977 vol 929 cc247-8W
Mr. Shersby

asked the Secretary of State for Trade in how many other member countries of the EEC there are provisions whereby a licence can be obtained to exploit a patent for medicine on such terms as the licensee thinks fit on a basis similar to that provided for in Section 41 of the Patents Act 1949 and as set out in Clause 49 of the current Patents Bill.

Mr. Clinton Davis

I am not sure that the Question states entirely accurately the position under Section 41 of the Patents Act 1949. This section provides for grant of compulsory licences in respect of patents in force relating, inter alia, to medicines, on application made to the Comptroller by any person interested. A licence must then be granted by the Comptroller unless it appears to him that there are good reasons for refusing the application, but the terms of the licence are settled by the Comptroller and are subject to appeal to the court. Similar provisions were contained in the draft Clause 49 of the current Patents Bill, but it was voted it should not stand during Committee in the House of Lords on 3rd March 1977.—[Vol. 380, c. 779–804.]

The Patents Act 1964 of the Republic of Ireland has provisions in Section 42 substantially similar to those in Section 41 of the Patents Act 1949.

The French Law 68–1 of January 2 1968 to Promote Inventive Activity and Revise the Patent System includes provisions for granting "Licences d'Office"—a kind of compulsory licence—in cases when a medicament is not available to the public in sufficient quantities or is deficient in quality or is sold at an exorbitant price.

In Italy, neither medicines nor processes for their manufacture may, currently, form the subject matter of a patent.

There are no provisions in the laws of the remainder of the countries of the Community which relate specifically to the licensing of patents for medicines, but all have provisions whereby compulsory licences may be granted on any patent if it is in the public interest to do so.