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Thursday, 1 December 1938


Mr Price e asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -

1.   On how many patents did the renewal fee of £1 fall duc in the years 1930, 1937, and the first half of 1938, respectively?

2.   On how many of those patents in each period was the renewal fee paid?

3.   On how many patents did the renewal fee of £1 10s. fall due in 1937, and the first half of 1938, respectively?

4.   On how many patents in each period was the renewal fee paid?


Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The renewal fee. of £1 fell due on the following number of patents during the periods referred to by the honorable member: - 193G - 1933; 1937 - 1962; and during the first half of 1938-991.

2.   The renewal fee was paid on the following number of patents during those periods: - 1936-1112; 1937-1223; and during the first half of 1938-600.

3.   The renewal fee of £1 10s. fell due on 1112 patents during 1937 and on 733 patents during the first half of 1938.

4.   The renewal fee was paid on 973 patents during 1937 and on 545 patents during the first half of 1938.


Mr Price e asked the Attorney-General, upon notice -

1.   For what offences has the Commissioner of Patents power to impose a fine or sentence of imprisonment, and in which cases has the person sentenced a right of appeal and to whom ?

2.   What improper actions are known to the Attorney-General or to the Commissioner ot Patents as having occurred in relation to the Patents Department, which are not punishable under the Patents Act, or other existing laws, but which the Commissioner of Patents had in mind when recommending to the AttorneyGeneral provisions in the Patents Bill for the making of regulations under which there would be power to impose six months' imprisonment, or a £100 fine, without first incorporating power to impose such penalties in an act of this Parliament?


Mr Menzies - Before answering the honorable member's questions, I suggest to him that the appropriate time to raise questions of this nature relating to the terms of a particular bill now before this House is when the bill reaches the committee stage.

The answers to the honorable member'squestions are as follows : -

1.   The Commissioner of Patents has no power to impose fines or terms of imprisonment. Action of that nature can only be taken by duly constituted judicial bodies.

2.   The inclusion of the provision regarding the imposition by courts of penalties for breaches of the regulations under the Patents Act of a maximum fine of £50 (not £100 as stated by the honorable member) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months was recommended to me, not by the Commissioner of Patents, but by a committee of four persons of whom the Commissioner was one. A corresponding provision will be found in many other Commonwealth acts where the subjectmatter is of such a nature that it may bc desirable to take power by regulation to prohibit the doing of certain acts. The drafting of regulations under the new ' bill cannot be undertaken until it has been passed by both Houses of Parliament and assented to, and 1 am unable to anticipate what offences will be prescribed thereunder. Any regulations made under the new act will, in the ordinary course, be tabled in each House of the Parliament and be subject to disallowance by either House.







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