May 13, 1953


Item agreed to. 421. Trade marks branch, including a contribution of $2,400 to the International Office for the Protection of Industrial Property, $91,182.


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Is the minister in a position to indicate now when the. new act respecting unfair competition is likely to be proclaimed?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

I would not undertake to prophesy that, but I am hopeful that we may get it into operation on January 1.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

In view of the recent alterations in legislation, and following the report of the trade marks law revision committee, would the minister say whether the duties of the branch are going to be increased substantially, and whether he is taking that into account in the matter of his organization?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

Yes, the duties of the branch will be substantially increased, and we are taking that into account. A few moments ago I pointed out that we could not expect to get the new act into operation before January 1, because, it must be kept in mind, while we now have the act, there are regulations to be prepared. These will be substantial, as my hon. friend understands. I expect that we will call in the gentlemen who so kindly acted on the original committee to help us out in that respect as well.

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Item agreed to. 422. Bureau for translations, $979,583.


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

It is to be noted that there is a fairly substantial increase here, from $898,025 to $979,583. The details at page 479 indicate that the increase is attributable to an increase in personnel in the bureau, from 238 last year to 259 this year. I can appreciate the many demands made on the bureau for translations. The annual report of the department draws attention to the work of translation both in connection with the records and publications of this house and the other place, and also to the extent of translation work carried out on behalf of the different departments. I notice at page 19 of the annual report mention is made of the fact that in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1952 translations were made of over 102,000 pieces of correspondence, 63,000 printed pages of various government publications and 128,000 mimeographed pages of circulars, regulations, instructions and so on. That is altogether apart from the work of translating the records of parliament.

Would the minister indicate-and perhaps the references I have made are sufficient to answer my question-why there is this increase in staff. Is the work increasing at that rate? The increase in personnel seems to be in the translators of various classes, and stenographers.

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

Most of the increase is due to the Department of National Defence, the work of which has been transferred to us. As a matter of fact we have added 21 new positions. The volume of work this branch has to do is growing from year to year.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

To what extent in the last year has this transfer to the minister's department relieved the Department of National Defence?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

The difference has been about twelve positions, involving about $30,000 or $40,000.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Is this due to extra translating work connected with NATO? How is there extra translation work involved from the Department of National Defence?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

The work formerly done by translators in that department has now been transferred to this department. I do not think NATO would have anything to do with it.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Of what

nature is the bulk of the translation work in the Department of National Defence? Is it merely between English and French?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

Mainly between English and French; but I would not say it is strictly confined to those two languages.

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Item agreed to. 424. Patent division, $854,456.


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

As this is the item for the patent office, we should, as has been customary from year to year, ask the minister if some progress cannot be made in reducing the backlog of pending patent applications. The last annual report, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1952, indicates the number of patent applications filed. We seek a reduction in the very large backlog which has been the besetting problem of this office for many years.

Again, this is an office that is set up to give service to the public, service for which the public pays. It is a revenue-producing branch; and I should like to say, as has been said annually for many years, that I think the present situation cannot be regarded as anything but unsatisfactory. Whatever progress has been made has not been enough to make a sufficient dent or impression in this heavy backlog, or to have come anywhere close to remedying the situation which has for a long time been highly unsatisfactory in a branch that should be giving prompt service to the public.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Carried.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Has the minister anything

to say?

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LIB

Frederick Gordon Bradley (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Bradley:

I realize that what my hon. friend has said is not altogether without justification. What he fails to take into account is the difficulties with which the department is faced. The work of the patent office is growing year by year, and it is not always easy to get staff to do the work. As a matter of fact, our staff is short at the present time. It is exceedingly difficult to get qualified examiners and, at times, equally difficult to hold them. The new applications received this year numbered 16,052. That is 604 more than we received last year. The number of cases allowed was 10,167, 44 more than last year. The number of examiners' reports was 12,282, 946 less than last year. The number of examiners' actions was 22,449, 902 less than last year. The number of cases disposed of was 13,644, 852 less than last year. The number of patents printed was 9,700. The number of patents issued was 184 more than for last year.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I thank the minister for

those figures which are, of course, more recent than those shown in the annual report of the department. However, I do not think

Supply-Secretary of State anyone can take any satisfaction out of those figures. I think they strengthen and underline what I was saying earlier; and, on the theme that the work of the department is increasing, let me make this observation. It is quite true that the number of patent applications in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1953, as the minister has just indicated, represents an increase of some 600 over those for the fiscal year 1951-52. But, Mr. Chairman, the number of applications received even in this last fiscal year is not a record. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 1947, we had 16,922 applications for patents. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 1948, we had 16,585 applications. There was a substantial drop in the fiscal year 1948-49, but since that time the number of applications year by year has been rising steadily but slowly.

This department, Mr. Chairman, is not taking sufficient steps, it seems to me, to cope with the volume of work that is being placed upon the office. We can recognize that the present staff working under existing conditions may be doing its best; but the best that it is doing is not good enough to meet the needs and the proper demands of the public for service through the patent office.

This plea has been made year after year. We do not see any particular change year by year, and I think it is time the house made it quite clear to the minister that it is not satisfied with the way the department has been handling the problem. There must be something much more energetic, something much more far-reaching in the way of action to meet the volume of work and reduce this big backlog of applications, than is being done.

I do not intend to prolong my argument, Mr. Chairman, but I do wish something could be done to stir up the government to take action to provide what is required either in the way of staff or accommodation so the public may receive service commensurate with the need and with the payments which the public makes for services.

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May 13, 1953