§ Mr. Salter
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what targets she has set her Department's Patent Office Executive Agency for 1998–99. 
§ Mrs. Beckett
I have set The Patent Office the following targets for 1998/99:
PatentsTo issue 14,500 search reports or combined search and examination reports on average within 3 months from the date of request, with 90% of all reports issued within 4 months from the date of request.To grant 8,500 valid patents on average within 2 years from the date of filing of the request for substantive examination, with 90% of patents granted within 3 years from the date of request.
Designsto register 8,700 designs on average within 5 months from the date of filing of the application, with 90% of all registrations within 12 months.
Trade MarksThe aim is to process 70,000 trade mark class applications to which no substantive objections are raised or oppositions filed within 9 months of application; the target for 1998/99 is to increase the proportion of trade marks registered within 9 months by 5% over 1997/98 outturn.
FinanceTo pay 98% of bills within 30 days of receipt of goods or services or a valid invoice, whichever is the later.
Questions delegated to the Chief ExecutiveThe Chief Executive will aim to reply within 10 days to all letters from Members of Parliament delegated to him for reply.
Efficiency TargetTo increase output in relation to current expenditure by an average of at least 2% per annum over the period 1998/99 to 2002/03.