April 23, 1923


Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Minister of Agriculture) moved the third reading of Bill No. 9, to amend the Cold Storage Act. ' Mr. MARTELL I was given to understand that this bill would remain over until tomorrow, so that a conference might be held.


LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes.

Motion stands.

DOMINION FOREST RESERVES ^ND PARKS ACT AMENDMENT

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior) moved the third reading of Bill No. 82, to amend the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   COLD STORAGE-ACT AMENDMENT
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PATENTS OF INVENTION


House again in committee on Bill No. 20, to amend and consolidate the Acts relating to Patents of Invention, Mr. Gordon in the chair. . On section 29-Patents to be assignable:


CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

I wanted to offer some opposition to sub-clause 2 of this clause; but I understood there would be no objection to striking it out. If that is the case there would not be much object in speaking at length in connection with it. I can see no reason why an assignment, even if not registered, should not be given in evidence in a court, just as much as a deed between two parties. It is perfectly true that to protect third parties registration is necessary; but as between the parties themselves if an assignment has been validly completed and executed, I can think of no reason why that assignment should not be produced in anv court of justice and given as evidence. I do

Patents oj Invention

not want to discuss the matter longer if sub-clause 2 is going to be cut out; but if not,

I will do so.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I can see some force in the observations of my hon. friend. This clause was inserted in connection with the Imperial War Conference of 1918; but while it has been found useful, it is not absolutely essential I therefore move that subsection 2 of section 29 be struck out.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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Motion agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 30-Assignments in case of joint applications:


CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

What is the intention of this section? There is no reason why there should not be a provision requiring the registration of an assignment in the Patent office, but is it the intention of this section that any assignment not registered shall be invalid? If that is the purpose of the section I think it is a mistake, and my remarks in connection with subsection 2 of section 29 would be equally applicable to this section. I can quite understand that you want to have assignments registered, and it is very proper that they should be registered. It would, therefore, be advisable to provide some penalty if assignments were not registered. I fear, however, that, the section as it stands might be constructed to mean that if assignments were not registered they would be void. There is no reason why they should not be perfectly good as between the parties to the assignment, although invalid as against third parties.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The commissioner tells me that this section has been in the act ever since it has been on the statute book.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Even if it has, I do not think that, is sufficient reason. Can the minister tell me whether he considers the section to mean what I have indicated, namely, that an assignment is bad in any event if it is not registered ?

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

We might let the section stand for further consideration.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I might point out to the minister something which I know must impress him, that is, the exceedingly complicated nature of the bill, which is really a complete revision of the Patent Act. I have been trying in my own way to give a reasonable amount of study to it, but the more I see of it, the more I learn about it, the more convinced I am that I know comparatively little about it; and I do not believe that, except

for a very very few, others have a much greater knowledge of the bill than I have. If t here ever was a piece * of legislation that should go to a special committee, where the representatives of the department and, if you like, the representatives of the manufacturing interests, as well as chemists and others who are engaged in the laboratory and other investigatory work, might be invited to give their views upon it, this bill undoubtedly is legislation of that character. It is exceedingly difficult to criticize intelligently the sections of such a bill as this, the contents which have not been carefully studied, because we are met with just such answers as the one the minister has given us, which unquestionably has a good deal of force in it, if one understands it, and that is that the section has been in the act ever since we have had an act. On that account one hesitates to disturb it because it may have some other relations which we should not like to interfere with. But the minister's reply is scarcely satisfactory in view of this fact: as nearly as I can learn, in constructing the new act the draughtsman has lifted out of the British act whole sections and just conveyed them into this l^islation. I have no reason whatever to assert that they are not entirely fitting; but certainly the House is not passing intelligent judgment on that fact under the present circumstances. Nor do I know that any of us are able intelligently to criticize the bill. The only way in which we can consider legislation of this kind is to have it go to a committee who can hear the views of the officials of the department and others who are conversant with the subjects it deals with. I am afraid it wall be impossible for me to present properly the views I have in mind on several sections in the bill owing to their highly technical nature. One hesitates to speak dogmatically about a technical matter in the way we are forced to speak in the House, where one might by a little questioning get a correct understanding of ordinary subjects. But this is only one instance of the difficulties that are to be encountered in this bill. As we proceed and come to clauses 38, 40, 41 and 42, which are the main sections of the bill, I, at any rate, shall be quite reluctant to give my consent to the bill. I do not suppose that it makes much difference whether I do that or not; but certainly I cannot agree to the bill going through as it stands. I feel we are going to make errors that perhaps will be serious to many of the interests of the country; whereas if the bill went before a special committee it could be studied with some degree of that thoroughness and effect which it deserves.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

I agree with a great deal that has been said by my hon. friend. I have

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Patents oj Invention

studied the bill somewhat and I believe that if it were submitted to a special committee, where there could be* free interchange of opinion with the experts of the department, the underlying reasons for certain sections would be more apparent than they are now. I da not know whether it is possible at this stage to have the bill go before a committee. Reverting to this very section, 30, if it means anything it means that assignments must be registered; otherwise they shall not be valid. I do not think there should be any such intention; the assignment should be valid as between the parties. It should be perfectly good whether registered or not, but as against third parties it should be registered. I wish the minister would give some consideration to that view.

Mr* ROBB: My hon. friend is no doubt right in so far as the assignment relates to third parties. As regards the observations of my hon. friend for Vancouver, it is a little late in the session to suggest referring the bill to a special committee, when so many committees are already at work. May I observe again what L pointed out on Friday in introducing the bill, that it is precisely the same as that introduced in 1920 and again m 1921 and which reached a second reading. It therefore seems to me that no good purpose can be served by delaying the measure. Generally speaking it has met with the approval of all interests, with very few exceptions. As a matter of fact there is no opposition before the department. While some requests have been made to me that the bill be referred to a special committee. I rathei gather that these requests have come from sources that want to tie up legislation altogether. It is not the policy of the government to introduce such a measure and let it drop again by the wayside. This is the third time the bill has been introduced, the first time before this parl ament, and twice before a previous parliament. I think we had better make some progress with it here, because it will have fair consideration in this Chamber and it can be considered fully in the Senate again. W e can serve no good purpose by delaying it.

Sii HENRY DRA\TON: I think the closing sentence of my hon. friend's remarks ' really gives the key to the whole situation. This bill is to have proper consideration in the Senate, and because it will have proper consideration there, there is no reason why we should not get rid of it, knowing little. if anything abut it.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I would point out to my hon. friend that it is a very good thing when introducing legislation to know why it is being introduced. It is a pretty sound principle that the House should know why changes are being made. I asked my hon. friend the other day, for example, just exactly what the benefits of the Berne convention were to which he was referring, but he left us without any information in regard to it. I think my hon, friend ought to tell us why each change is being made so that the House may assist him in seeing that the purpose desired is being properly carried Out

At present we are discussing section 30 dealing with joint assignments. We have already dealt with the ordinary class of assignments. Hon. gentlemen from this side asked the minister as to whether or not rights inter partes are discharged unless there is registration. The minister is going to look into the question. Hon. gentlemen on this side have pointed out that rights inter partes should not be interfered with, and that the only effect of a non-registration penalty should be as against a third party. Section 30 itself looks after it. It provides that assignments shall be registered, and that they shall be null and void in the case of third parties unless so registered and all that section 30 does is to put the joint assignment in the same position as the single assignment. If we could have these sections read out at the time, Mr. Chairman, we would learn what they are. For instance, if section 29 had been read out we would have known where we were at in regard to section 30. I think the least the minister can do is to read out every change that is being made and give the reason for it so we will know something about it.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

My hon. friend is quite right, but the clauses under consideration are old clauses and have been in the act since its first enactment. I can quite understand some hon. members opposite who have not had an opportunity of reviewing this bill, finding fault with it, but I can scarcely understand my hon. friend's criticism. He sat around the council table when this bill was considered first in 1920 and again in 1921. He was a member of the government that advanced the bill to second reading and then let it drop by the wayside. Surely he is not in a very good position to reprimand me now for introducing this measure.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I am not blaming my hon. friend for introducing this bill

Patents oj Invention

but for the lack of information he has given us. The bill before never reached second reading, and my hon. friend knows perfectly well that these details are only worked out oh the second reading. It is no argument for him to say now that, because the former government thought this bill should be brought down and afterwards dropped it before second reading, therefore the measure was a mere matter of form. If his predecessors had considered it in such a light it would not have been dropped.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

I quite appreciate the difficulties any minister would have in connection with a bill of this kind. All I am trying to do is to add a clause which anyone reading can understand. Section 30 of this bill was section 28 in the old act; but section 27 of the old act, which provided that if an assignment .is not registered it shall be null and void against any subsequent assignee, is not incorporated in the present bill. My own opinion is that section 30 in the absence of a provision similar to that contained in old section 27 would not make an assignment null and void. But why leave the matter in doubt? I would suggest that a word or two be added to clause 30 to show that the assignment is not null and void except against subsequent purchasers or assignees without notice.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

What words would my hon. frien'd suggest?

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

It should be null and void

as against subsequent purchasers or assignees without notice-but should not go any further. I appreciate there is a. very decided difference between the ordinary assignment and an assignment in cases of joint applications because when two parties apply for a patent you have to deal with both of them. At the same time if no notice is given to the department of an assignment, the department proceeds as if no assignment had been made, knowing nothing of such. The department is not to blame. The assignee would have to sue the two, and it would then be up to the latter to straighten out the difficulty between themselves by an assignment. If I could only find out what is the intention of the minister I would be in a better position to suggest. Is it the intention under section 30 that an assignment shall be null and void unless registered? If so, I think it is a mistake. My suggestion is that it should be null and void against subsequent purchasers or assignees for value and without notice.

Topic:   PATENTS OF INVENTION
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April 23, 1923