February 25, 1902

OF AGRICULTURE.


The MINISTER I do not think so.


L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Once the term elapses there is no power to grant an extension ?

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, lne only power is the one we have now, of granting an extension by special Act of parliament. There has never been any proposal to legislate that that should not be r.011.1;: JVKl if 'vc did so legislate parliament could the next day legislate to do it.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

There are many cases where a patent lapses, and some parties may have acquired certain rights after the lapse of a patent. Is it not sometimes possible for the parties who have acquired those rights to suffer an injustice ?

know are doing their duty. But I think the law so far as I can see should be amended so as to be assimilated as much as possible to what I consider the most perfect patent law in existence, and that is the law of the United States. In the matter of examinations, for instance, the safe-guards which are given by their statutes to patents are much better than the safe-guards which are given patents by our laws. I think that the manner and mode of examination here should be improved, and the number of examiners should be increased if possible. 'I suggest to the hon. gentleman that it would be expedient now, not only to amend our patent law, but probably to make a consolidation of it, and change it so as to make it resemble as much as possible the law of the United States. If this were done not only would our patents in the United States have greater authority, but our counsel and courts who are engaged in patent cases could get more assistance, more knowledge, from the decisions of American courts than we are able to get now. Of course the United States are noted for the great number of inventions which come out every day. The American people have a genius for invention, the patent office in Washington is flooded with patents every day. Their patent officers have to pass upon numberless patents, and of course their experience is greater than tlie experience of our men here. Their courts also have to pronounce upon more patent cases than our courts, and tlie experience derived by their courts and counsel would be of great advantage to us if our law resembled the law of the United States more than it does. In my opinion the patent law of the United States is superior to the patent law of England; and if our law could be made more like the law of the United States it would be to the advantage of patentees, and to the advantage of the courts and the profession in general in Canada.

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE -they can come before parliament with t private Bill, and parliament can protec them if it sees fit. As I pointed out to tin hon. gentleman a few minutes ago, the parliament of Canada has retained that powei m its own hands, and not delegated it t( anybody else. That is the law to-day, and do not think there is any disposition tc change it.

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CON

Charles Eusèbe Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CASGRAIN.

I desire to say to tin hon. Minister of Agriculture that in the course of my experience I have become convinced that our American cousins have not a very good opinion of our patem office as it is now constituted. i do noi for a moment wish to throw any blame or the officers who are there now, and who 1 Hon. Mr. FISHER.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

1 am a little surprised to hear the hon. gentleman say that our law is so inferior to that of the United States. As a matter of fact it is largely similar. I am not a lawyer myself, but I have to discuss these questions a good deal with patent solicitors, and have compared the American patent law with our own pretty closely. I would not like to acknowledge that our law is so far inferior to their law. I do not think that is the opinion of most patent solicitors who apply to my department. When our law was amended some years ago it was largely modelled on the law of the United States. The system of patent examination of Canada is much the same as that of the United States, not at all the same as it is in England where a totally different principle obtains.

So far as tlie examination itself is concerned, I may say we have had quite a number of instances within the last few years where patents have been issued in the United States to patentees, and when applications came before us here our examiners have found that the patents had been anticipated, and that the issuance of those patents in the United States was really a mistake, and they were not issued here because they were not novel, and because the examiners here had really found anticipation of the patent which examiners in the United States had failed to find. At the time the patent was issued in the United States there was anticipation, the same anticipation of that patent which was found here by our examiners. I may say, however, frankly, that we have not got as large a force of examiners in Canada, in proportion, as they have in the United States. I have been adding to that force, I am glad to say the House has been generous, and I think wise, in allowing me to add to that force, and we have been trying very hard to catch up with the arrears of patent applications which I found when 1 came into the office. During the last few years there have been a great many more patents issued than previously. I think this last year there were 5,000 patents issued, and when I first came into the office there were but little more than 3,000. We have added fully 50 per cent to the number of patents issued during that period. 1 may say that during this last calendar year we have issued about 40 or 50 per cent of the patents for which there were applications coming before the office. But unfortunately at the beginning of the year there was a considerable number of patents in arrears, and we have not been able to obliterate that arrearage.

1 am adding constantly to the staff of examiners. But when a young man comes in at first as patent examiner it takes him nearly six months before he can become effective, and sometimes longer. Generally 1 find that the first six months after a young man enters upon the work of patent examiner, he does not render much aid in deciding upon patents, although it prepares him to take his place after that time, and to aid the office effectively. The consequence is that the increase of the effective force of the office lias been slow. Patent examining is a profession by itself. You can hardly expect any man outside the office, unless he is a thoroughly equipped attorney for patents, or a patent solicitor, to do the work of an examiner. It takes six months and sometimes eight or nine, before a young man coming in is able to do much effective office work. I am glad to say that nearly all the young men who have * been brought into the office have proved effective, and in the course of a little time have aided very much. I think

1 shall have to add still more to the effective force, because we have not yet caught up with the arrears, although we have come much nearer to it than we were a few years ago. I have hopes of being able gradually to obliterate the arrears and to accomplish that end without having to add much to the staff, because, after UaviiTg obliterated the arrears, I would not like to dismiss any of the men, as I think that would be hardly fair and hardly wise. I may add further that in choosing patent examiners, I take those who are university graduates, who have had a thorough training in some scientific course, either chemistry, or mechanics, or engineering, or electricity. In that way I have secured an excellent class of men who are eminently suited for the work, and as they gain a little experience and more practice, the work of the office will be very much better done than it ever was before. I may add in this connection that at a meeting held by the Manufacturers' Association in Toronto a few months ago where the patent office was discussed, some suggestions were thrown out for improvements, suggestions which I was glad to receive, and some very complimentary words were used in regard to improvement in the efficiency of the examining force.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (Elgin).

I would like to ask the hon. minister if it is necessary for a patentee to produce a model of his patent?

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

No, it has not been necessary for about twelve years.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

The hon. minister said that he had increased the staff. If the hon. gentleman will turn to D-2 of the Auditor General's Report he will find that $4,821.48 was paid as follows :-

Classifying all Canadian patents and comparing drawings of same for classification and for exchange with the United States in return for their patents, to be paid notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act, $4,821.48.

Will the hon. gentleman tell the committee how many are employed in the department, the salary of each, the number of new men the hon. gentleman brought in as experts, as I think, lie has told the House in the past, several young men were brought in for technical work, and the number of patents exchanged with the United States ?

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

I think part of that work comes in under another item farther on. I am perfectly willing to give the hon. gentleman the information and only hope he will not ask me to repeat it when we come to the other item, No. 47, for classifying all Canadian patents, preparing drawings and so on.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

The hon. gentleman will see that there are two items. There is a sum put under item 87, but here he has a service for the ' Patent Record ' in the estimates amounting to $12,000, and there is an expenditure under the same heading in the Auditor General's Report of $4,821.48.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

That is out of the vote of $5,000 which is down below in item 87.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I have reference to the expenditure of $4,821.48.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

That comes out of vote No. 87, which we will get to in a few minutes, and which amounts to $5,000. It does not come out of the vote for the ' Patent Record ' at all.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

We are now discussing item No. 80, being the vote for the ' Patent Record.' Of course, I can give the hon. gentleman all the information, but it will come more appropriately under item 87, which is a special vote of which that $4,821.48 is the detail.

Collection and compilation of criminal statisics (R.S.C., chap. 60), $1,800.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Has the vote been exhausted which was given last year ?

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

Yes, this vote is exhausted every year. It is the vote which covers the payment to a lot of local officers all over the Dominion for giving us criminal statistics. You will find it detailed in the Auditor General's Report. The money is paid in small sums to secretary-treasurers and officers of courts and people like that all over the country.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

How many are there of these ? I know no more dangerous thing than a service which stands still. It seems to be seized with dry rot. It is incredible that an efficient service should go on from year to year with the same sum of money toeing voted for it. I have no conception whatever that an important service would pass this House year after year, the same vote being given and that it should go on without the public or this House having any definite knowledge of it. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will tell us how many officers there are in receipt of pay for the information contained in the report, how much each of them is receiving, and who directs that work in his department, or whether the hon. gentleman gives it any personal supervision or not.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

If the hon. gentleman (Mr. Clancy) will look up page D-10, Auditor General's Report, he will see the commencement of the list. The list goes over pages 11 and 12 and nearlv half way down page 13. I will not under-

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February 25, 1902