§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans he has for the future of the Patent Office;
(2) what plans he has for the patent information network;
(3) whether he will make it his policy that the British Library should retain responsibility for running the patent information network on behalf of the Patent Office;
(4) if he will direct P. E. Consultancy to reconsider the findings it has recently submitted on the future of the patent information network.
§ Mr. Pattie
The Government's plans for the Patent Office were announced in the White Paper, "Intellectual Property and Innovation," Cmnd. 9712. It is the intention to make the Patent Office a statutory non-departmental public body as soon as legislation can be introduced. P. E. Consultancy Services were retained by the Patent Office to assist in the preparation of plans for hiving-off. They were not asked to examine the patent information network. My Department wishes to see the patent information network used to the best advantage of United Kingdom industry, and the Government's plans to hive-off the Patent Office include proposals to develop information services to this end. My Department is not, however, responsible for the British Library and it is not open to us to determine the policies of the British Library. The Patent Office and the British Library do, nevertheless, work closely together and will continue to do so.