This Bill has apparently been passed upon by the Private Bills Committee, of which I am not a member. It is the practice for the deputy commissioner of patents to go before the Private Bills Committee and make a statement with regard to each Bill. In many cases Bills of this kind come before us, in consequence practically of the negligence of the attorneys of the patentees or the owners of the patent. These delays are only for a few weeks or months. Under these circumstances it seems rather hard that the
patentee should suffer. In this case, however, apparently a much longer time has expired. I can only take it for granted that the Private Bills Committee received some information to justify the passage of this Bill and the sending of it back to this House. On the face of it I think it hardly comes within the category of the ordinary Bills which are passed by the Private Bills Committee and come before this House. Personally, long ago I took occasion before the Private Bills Committee to object to the very frequent practice of the reinstatement of patents which had lapsed through the fees not being paid. But the Private Bills Committee seem to have thought, and perhaps rightly, that where the patentee has not been himself at fault, or where the negligence has been very slight, it is rather hard to annul the patent for ever and that the punishment of forcing him to come before parliament with a private Bill and pay the necessary expenses therefor has been sufficient. In cases of a different character frequently the deputy commissioner of patents has given the Private Bills Committee information and stated the policy of the department in such a way that the Private Bills Committee have thrown out these Bills concerning patents.