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Tuesday, 28 November 1905


Mr ISAACS (Indi) (Attorney-General) . - There are several reasons why the suggestion of the honorable and learned member should not be adopted. One which will strike honorable members at once is this: The law officer of the Crown will have to sit as a Court of appeal' from the Registrar of Trade Marks,


Mr Robinson - That .is the case in Victoria.


Mr ISAACS - Speaking from recollection, I cannot say that I remember any trade mark case that came to me during the several years that I was Attorney-General of Victoria.


Mr Robinson - But references were very common in the case of patents.


Mr ISAACS - Yes. Very many cases of that kind have to be dealt with ; but I think it would be very improper for the AttorneyGeneral, knowing that there might be an appeal to him, to interfere in the administration before the appeal was made. If the Registrar happened to come to him for any directions he would refuse to give them. It would be improper to first give directions to the Registrar, who ought to decide matters for himself, and to afterwards Hear an appeal from his decision. Therefore, I do not think that anything would be gained by placing the Trade Marks Office under the administration of the AttorneyGeneral.


Mr Higgins - Does the honorable and learned gentleman think that the appeal to the law officer is a good device?


Mr ISAACS - It has its good, as well as it's bad points. Amongst other things, it offers a cheap and ready means of appeal. At present, patent attorneys can appear before the Attorney-General and represent their clients in appeal cases at much less cost than if thev had to employ solicitors and counsel to plead before the High Court or the Supreme Court. Although the present system may involve a duplication of appeals in cases where parties are not satisfied with the decision of the law officer, there are many advantages to be urged in its favour.


Mr Higgins - If, under special regulations, patent attorneys were permitted to appear on appeals before a single Judge, expense might be saved and convenience served.


Mr ISAACS - I have looked into the matter, and so far as I can judge, the balance of convenience lies in the direction of allowing an intermediate appeal, and if an intermediate appeal lies, it will be wrong to introduce the Attorney-General as Dart administrator in cases which he would, afterwards have to decide on appeal, Clause 718s. which provides against the importa tion into Australia of goods with false trade marks; clause 78T, which relates to aiding and abetting offences; and clause 78u, which prohibits the importation, of fraudulently marked goods, will have to be administered by Customs officials ; arid it would be impossible for the AttorneyGeneral to carry out the purposes of the Bill unless he had such officers under his control. In view of the fact that the Patents Office is already administered by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and that the Trade Marks branch would be properly conjoined to it, I see no reason for departing from the scheme laid down in the Bill. It is all very well to say that we might pass a short Act, authorizing the transfer of the Patents Offide tto the Attorney-General's Department,: but I should like to ascertain the views of the Patents officials before I acquiesced in a proposal of that kind. Certainly, unless the Patents Office were transferred to the Attorney-General's Department, double expense would be incurred by placing the Trade Marks branch under his administration. The AttorneyGeneral is always available to advise the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has his own officers to look after matters of detail. It would not be right for the Registrar to ask the Attorney-General how he should decide in a particular case; and if that were not done there would be no need for the Attorney-General, or any other Minister, to pay attention to the affairs of the office, so long as the Minister of Trade and Customs was willing to exercise his supervision.







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