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Wednesday, 20 June 1906

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) . - I think it would be advisable for us to pass the clause as it stands, or else to reduce the period within which use must be made of the design from twelve months to six months after registration. At the same time, it appears to me that twelve months is not too long to allow any one who may register a design to proceed to use it or cause it to be used in Australia. A design might be brought out and registered in Australia, and it might be impossible for the person registering it to use it here within less than twelve months. In the meantime, if it were registered no one but the owner of the design could import an article bearing such a device. If the individual registering the design manufactured abroad, and proposed to introduce from beyond the Commonwealth articles bearing that design, he could do so foronly twelve months. That would be a much less heinous sin against the individual than it would be to compel a man who had registered a design, and found it impossible to use it in the manufacture of articles in Australia within six months, to forfeit his registration. Having taken all these points into consideration, I think it would be preferable to pass the clause as it stands.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [4.50]. - Senator McGregor has entirely missed the point. There are two evils in this clause. We want to prevent a manufacturer in foreign parts registering a design and enjoying for twelve months, or three months, or any period whatever, a monopoly of that design in Australia when he has no intention whatever of causing it to be substantially used here. This clause is intended really for the benefit of Australians. If a man is using a design in some other country, he may register here just as he may do in England, but the English law says to such a man, " At the end of six months your registration shall cease unless the articles to which it relates, are manufactured, according to the pattern or design, in England." That is only just and fair. Honorable senators talk about protecting the local manufacturer, and this is an illustration of how his interests may be affected. The second evil of this clause is that it imposes a restriction upon a man who designs something in Australia, but may not be able to manufacture it. Why should we limit the fruits of his inventive genius to six or twelve months? He might not be in a position to get a manufacturer to take up his design, and in that event his registration at the end of twelve months would cease. That would be a monstrous injustice. One man might be engaged by a manufacturer to prepare designs from day to day, whilst on the other hand a poor man, having great skill in designing, might be told by a manufacturer whom he approached that he was not prepared to touch it for a year or two. The manufacturer might say that he would allow the matter to stand over for five years, at the end of which time the design would become common property. Why penalize an Australian designer in that way? Let the Australian designer have his registration, not for twelve months, but, if honorable senators like, for five years, without being called upon to use it in the manufacture of articles. There would be no harm in that. The harm lies in allowing a man who has been manufacturing goods outside, according to a certain pattern, to come into Australia and to obtain a monopoly to sell here as freely as he pleases. These are the two points that have impressed themselves upon me. They may be explainable; my view may be a mistaken one, but I do not think it is. We have no greater protection against the man who manufactures abroad and sends his goods here than we have against a local Australian designer - not a manufacturer - who invents a design and is unable to get any one to take it up, with the result that in twelve months he loses the fruits of his work. A manufacturer abroad could' apply his registered design to articles made outside, and for twelve months - or twice as long as is allowed under the English Act - enjoy a monopoly of registration here.

Senator Trenwith - He must comply with the clause within twelve months.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - But the local man is to be subject to the same disability, although he may be totally unable to apply his design or pattern to an article of manufacture. I would1 strongly urge the Minister to consider these points.

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