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Thursday, 1 December 1960

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) . - by leave - In the statement I made to the House on the Patents Bill, on 8th September, which is at present before the House, I outlined a scheme for amendment of the Patents Act as a substitute for the repeal of section 43 of the act. The repeal of section 43 was recommended by the Patents Law Review Committee and is proposed in the bill before the House. Section 43 of the act provides that at the expiration of six months after a complete specification has been lodged at the Patent Office, the Commissioner of Patents shall publish in the Official Journal a notification that the complete specification is open to public inspection and, upon publication of the notification, the application, complete specification and provisional specification, if any, become open to public inspection. The section also goes on to say that when a complete specification has become open to public inspection under the section, the specification shall be deemed to have been published.

The reason for proposing the substitute scheme was that I had received representations asking for the withdrawal of the provision in the bill which proposes the repeal of the section. Details of the proposed scheme were circulated to interested parties, and I have received various comments and suggestions in relation to the scheme. It was clear from these communications that it would not be possible to settle the proposed scheme in time to incorporate the necessary amendments in the present bill in this session. It was also clear that the amendments which I envisaged in my previous statement as an interim measure needed some modification. As well as considering the many written submissions I have received, I have had further discussions with representatives of the Chambers of Manufactures of Australia, who strongly maintain their view that section 43 should not be repealed.

In my second-reading speech on the bill, and in my previous statement to the House. I set out the main advantages and disadvantages of early publication. I will briefly summarize them again. With the concurrence of honorable members I shall incorporate the summary in " Hansard " as follows: -

The chief advantages of early publication are -

(a)   The applicant's right of protection from infringement dates from publication; and

(b)   Manufacturers are able to ascertain at any early date whether they are infringing or likely to infringe an invention which is the subject of the application for a patent.

On the other hand, the main disadvantages of early publication are -

(a)   An applicant's right to amend his complete specification is considerably restricted after publication; and

(b)   Early publication enables competi tors of applicants, particularly overseas applicants, to ascertain, at a much earlier date than in overseas countries, inventions in fields in which the applicant is interested.

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