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Tuesday, 28 November 1905

Mr KNOX (Kooyong) - It is very difficult for a layman to follow the devious arguments of lawyers on a subject like this. I can speak on the amendment of "the honorable and learned member for Angas only from the stand-point of an ordinary business man, and it seems to me that the measure should contain a distinct definition of a trade mark. The AttorneyGeneral takes up the position that any definition will reduce the possible applicability of the Bill to the conditions which may obtain in the various States, but that does not seem a satisfying reason why we should make no effort to determine what is henceforth to be understood by the term " trade mark." The honorable and learned gentleman 'told us that, when the Committee came to deal with the union label provisions, he would take us into his confidence, and explain the whole position, and I hope that when he has made that explanation, he will give us an opportunity, in the event of the amendment not being carried, to come back to this clause, and insert in it a definition of a trade mark. I know that it is idle for any one who does not possess a legally-trained mind to go into the devious paths of trade marks legislation, but I hope that, in the interests of the commercial and trading community, the Committee will make the provisions of the Bill so clear that it will not be necessary to resort to the Courts for an interpretation of their meaning. Therefore I feel that we are justified in asking the AttorneyGeneral to determine wha't constitutes a trade mark. I think that the honorable and learned member for Angas has done well in asking the Committee to adopt the English definition, to which the AttorneyGeneral objects on the ground that it may limit the scope of the measure. What we desire is, not to pass the Bill merely to give effect to the trade union clauses which have caused so much obstruction, but to place on the statute-book a measure which will be of benefit to the whole community. Surely the Attorney-General, whose intellectual ability is unquestioned, will help us in doing 'that, and will place us in possession of the information which he can obtain from the capable officers of his Department. Many of us think that the honorable and learned gentleman would not urge the metaphysical objections to the amendment which we have heard if he had not ahead of him the troublesome trade union label provisions, and we think that, for the guidance of the general public, as well as of manufacturers and! merchants, he should, as Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, assist us to indicate clearly what constitutes a trade mark.

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