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Wednesday, 20 June 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - In view of what was said before the division was taken, I wish to intimate to my honorable friends opposite that before the Bill is finally dealt with I shall have consideration given to what has, been urged, and, if possible, meet their wishes. For the moment, I am influenced by the fact that in the Patents Act we have a provisionby which the term of the patent relates back to the date of original application. Since the discussion has begun I must confess that I do not feel quite as stronglyas I did in re gar.d to both these provisions. I shall certainly go into the matter at the earliest opportunity, and see what force my honorable friends arguments have.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [4.36]. - I congratulate the Minister upon the candid expression of opinion which he has given. We are dealing with the Bill, as I think he appreciates, from the point of view of the completion of a scheme of legislation, and not, from the stand-point of party. I am not going to complain of a number of my honorable friends opposite, but when we are discussing an important matter on which the Minister, after consideration, so very candidly says he does not feel so strongly after hearing the arguments of this side as he did before, I think it is only fair that they should hear our reasons before they in a solid block vote us down.

Senator Keating - It was just the same on the other side.

Senator Millen - We were all here.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - My honorable friendsthoroughly understood the question.

Senator McGregor - I was here, too.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I am sure that my honorable friends opposite who were not here have an intuitive sense which enables them, without hearing arguments, to arrive at a right conclusion, that is to do what the Government desire. I think that the Minister has adopted a perfectly wise course. There is no doubt whatever that the registration, when made, ought to have effect from the date of the application. If that is the case, the Bill will follow the lines of the Imperial Act, and clauses 13 and 26 can be put into one provision. The English provision is couched in language which is precise to a degree. I do not suggest that we ought to slavishly follow the verbiage of an English Act simply because it is an English Act, because I believe that very often our Acts are better worded. But where there is a body of legislation of the same sort which involves a good deal of controversy and, perhaps, much litigation, we should adhere as far as possible to the language of the legislation in other parts of the British Empire, particularly in England. It is from that point of view that I welcome what the Minister has said. We desire to assist as far as we can, but it is not much encouragement to us to assist when we get voted down whenever we make a suggestion which the Minister frankly says is of some value.

Senator Keating - Yes, but I could not see my way to accept it.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 14 to25 agreed to.

Clause 26 postponed.

Clause 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 -

The owner of a registered design shall, within twelve months after registration, substantially use the design or cause it to be substantially used in Australia in the manufacture of articles, and if he fails to do so the copyright in the design shall cease.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [4.42]. - I do not wish to move an amendment, but again call attention to the fact that this Bill, unlike the English Act, does not contain a clause protecting the local manufacturer who uses a design against a foreigner manufacturing therefrom. The provision in the English Act is of great value, because, as I, pointed out in my second -reading speech, it is very important that either an importer or a foreign manufacturer sending his goods here should not be at liberty to register a design in Australia and continue to get his goods manufactured outside its borders. The object of the English provision is to prevent that state of things from happening.

Senator Millen - The honorable and learned senator's contention is that a design registered here should be used only on goods made here?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - Yes, and that the man should not be allowed, in order to secure a monopoly here and prevent other manufacturers from using the design, to simply put it on the register, and even for one month, much less than for twelve months, which is the period fixed, have the right to stop any one here from manufacturing according to the design, whilst he is bringing in goods manufactured in foreign parts either before his application for registration or during that period of twelve months. The English provision reads as follows: -

If a registered design is used in manufacture in any foreign country, and is not used in this country within six months of the registration in this country, the copyright in the design shall cease.

That is a very proper provision. Under this Bill a person who registers a design here would get a monopoly of the design for at least twelve months, and in that interval he might bring in goods to which the design was to be applied, but which might hot be consumed here for a period of five years.

Senator Trenwith - If the term were altered from twelve months to six months, would not the honorable senator's object be achieved ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No. Why should we subject Australians to a penalty ? The owner of the design is to use it in Australia in the manufacture of articles, but there is no provision as to the manufacture of goods elsewhere. Let us substitute for this the English section, which will make our object clear and again bring our legislation on the same plane. If Senator Keating wishes to postpone the consideration of the clause, I shall not press this matter upon him, and perhaps it would be well to afford an opportunity for its further consideration.

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