April 19, 1909

LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

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.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

If the minister looks at clause 2 he will notice that the Private Bills Committee have made a reservation that anybody who commenced manufacturing this article since the expiry of the patent may continue to do so.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

That clause is included in all these Bills to secure the rights of anybody who has acquired rights during the lapse of the patent. The only proposal, however, that can be brought forward for undertaking to treat this Bill differently from most of the Bills that come before us is that the time since the patent was allowed to lapse has been longer than in most other cases. The Private Bills Committee I think must have had some information before it which justified it in reporting the Bill, because otherwise it is not likely that it would have reported favourably to the House.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. gentleman who has the Bill in charge ought to give us the reasons which were given to the committee.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Edmond Proulx

Liberal

Mr. PROULX.

A full explanation was laid before the committee. The Bill was passed without any opposition. The solicitor for the promoters of the Bill explained that no person in Canada had manufactured any of the appliances that are proposed to be manufactured under this patent. The apparatus covered by the patent is very costly and the promoters have already expended $100,000 in making this apparatus. There .have been three assignments Mr. FISHER.

of this patent. Probably that explains the omission in paying the fee.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT.

I notice that in the preamble they give the date of the patent as the 12th November, 1900; so that this patent is nearly nine years old.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB
CON
LIB
CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT.

I think that if the fees had not been paid there is not sufficient evidence before this committee to warrant it in extending its time.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

The fees were paid for six years. The practice is to pay on taking out the patent for six years and then, before the expiry of these six years, to pay for another term of six years and then again for another term of six years. So that this patent was valid for a period of six years from the time it was taken out. The fees were unpaid only for a little over two years.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT.

If they have had a patent for nine years and this article has never been manufactured, it would seem to me that they have no claim foT an extension of time. _ I think there is perhaps too much laxness in regard to extensions of time and in regard to many matters that come before this House. The fact that it has passed the Private Bills Committee is not a sufficient reason why it should pass this House. There aTe many members of this House who are not members of the Private Bills Committee. If there is any member of this House who may be conversant with the reasons that can be advanced as a justification for renewing this patent he should give us the benefit of them. If the hon. member who is promoting the Bill has not a valid Teason why the Bill should pass perhaps some other member has. I have an intimation that there are probably a good many members that could give good and sufficient reasons why an extension of time should be granted.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

Arthur Samuel Goodeve

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOODEVE.

As a member of the Private Bills Committee I might explain that this Bill passed unanimously for this reason: This patent has reference to an

appliance for breaking rock under water; it is a very heavy class of machinery, and the promoter of the Bill explained to the satisfaction of the committee why the patent was allowed to lapse. They had expended a considerable amount of money in building models and showing the working of this appliance. It is done by means of a tower. They felt that there was no great work going on in Canada at that particular time that would warrant them in building the

necessary machinery and bringing it into this country. They pointed out that unless they had some protection nobody would build it because of the large amount of money involved and because of the limited opportunities of using the machinery. I have no interest whatever in it, but I am simply a member of the committee explaining why it was unanimously passed by the committee.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I have no objection to this Bill going through if the minister thinks it ought to go through.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mt. FISHER.

I know absolutely nothing about the Bill except what has come up now, but I know that the Private Bills Committee generally lay a matter of this kind before the Deputy Commissioner of Patents, and I take it, from the fact that it has recommended the Bill to the House, that it was satisfied in regard to it.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I do not rise for the purpose of trying to obstruct the passage of the Bill which may be quite right, and of course it is a matter that the minister would know more about than I would. But, I am trying to ascertain whether the company accomplishes anything by this legislation. Is there not a provision in the Patent Act that if a patented article is not manufactured within a certain limit of time the patent ceases and the right becomes public property. How would that operate here?

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think in 1900, parliament amended the Patent Act by providing that patents for articles which could not be manufactured easily, that could not be kept in stock or put on the market for ordinary sale, could be placed under a special clause by which the requirement of manufacture within two years would not be operative. Judging from the description of this patent I should say it was of this character. Probably these people applied when they got their patent or immediately afterwards to be put under that clause of the Patent Act. This is likely an article that would only be manufactured to order; it may be that accounts for the negligence in the payment of fees and that a demand has now arisen for the article so that the patentee is asking to be reinstated.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

I know nothing about this Bill but years ago the House objected very strongly to the renewal of patents in this way. If the patentee did not fulfil the conditions of the law the patent became available for public use. I presented a Bill for a renewal of a patent for one of my constituents when the fees had been mailed the day before expiry of the time, but for some reason were 24 hours late in reaching the department. The fees were not accepted and we had to prove to Sir John Thompson that the fee had been

mailed the previous day before he would consent to a renewal. Other similar cases have occurred. Here the patent has lapsed for over three years and to renew it might establish a dangerous and troublesome precedent. I have warned the minister and if he wishes to establish a precedent by allowing this Bill to pass he must assume the responsibility.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Long ago I took the ground my hon. friend is taking to-day, and objected to the reinstatement of patents. I think the practice has grown lately and every session we have Bills of this kind, although I must say I cannot remember any case where the lapse has been as long as this.

Topic:   PATENT OF THE SUBMARINE COMPANY.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I remember one case of a two year's lapse.

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April 19, 1909