Mr. S. F. GLASS (East Middlesex) :
I will endeavour, as quickly as possible, to state my objections to this Bill and to offer suggestions by which I think it can be improved [DOT] and made more acceptable to some hon. members. The basis or need for this legislation is primarily, as I understand the matter, to carry out the international obligation of this Gov-
3 p.m. ernment pursuant to the adoption of the Versailles Treaty. In that treaty an arrangement was made by the parties who were signatories to the treaty, that certain rights and privi-
leges under the Patent Acts of various countries which patentees had forfeited by reason of not having paid fees or carried out the requirements of the Patent Acts, should, in view of the long duration of the war, be reinstated for a period after the war. After the matter had been given most generous consideration this Article 307 was inserted in the Treaty of Peace of Versailles:
A minimum of one year after the coming into force of the present treaty shall he accorded to .the nationals of the High Contracting Parties, without extension fees or other penalty, in order to enable such persons to accomplish any act, fulfil any formality, pay any fees, and generally satisfy (any obligation prescribed by the laws or regulations of the respective states relating to the obtaining, preserving, or opposing rights to, or in respect of, industrial property either acquired before August 1, 1914, or which, except for the war, might have been acquired since that date as a result of an application made before the war or during its continuance, but nothing in this article shall give any right to reopen interference proceedings in the United States of America where a final hearing has taken place.
All rights in, or in respect of, such property which may have lapsed by reason of any failure to accomplish any act, fulfil any formality, or make any payment, shall revive, but subject in .the case of .patents and designs to the imposition, of such conditions as each allied or associated power may deem reasonably necessary for the protection of persons who have manufactured or made use of the subject matter of such property while the rights had lapsed. Further, where rights to patents or designs belonging to German nationals are revived under this article, they shall be subject in respect of the grant of licenses to the same provisions as would have been applicable to hem during the war, as well as to all the .revisions of the present treaty.
I understand that this gives the right to patentees to revive a patent in their own country within one year of the passing of this Act by the payment of any fees which might be required. The date on which this Act went into force was January 10, 1920. Therefore, the right to pay fees with a view to reviving a patent which had lapsed expired on January 10,
1921, but where one bad paid his fees in order to .revive a patent which had elapsed provision was made that he might not be required to manufacture it within the country till a period of two years from that date, which would carry it to January 10,
1922. In January last a Bill was introduced into the United States Congress, known as the Nolan Bill, the purpose of which was in part, to allow patentees in the United States to revive patents which had elapsed within a period prescribed under the Act. I shall read only a few sec-
tions of the Bill which bear on this discussion. The Nolan Bill enacts:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the rights of priority provided by section 4887 of the Revised Statutes, for the filing of applications for patent for inventions and designs, which rights had not expired on the 1st day of August, 1914, or which rights have arisen since the 1st day of .August, 1914, shall he, and the same are hereby extended until the expiration of a period of six months from the passage of this Act in favour of the citizens of the United States-
-or citizens or subjects of all countries which have extended, or which now extend, or which within said period of six months shall extend substantially reciprocal privileges to citizens of the United States, and such extension shall apply to applications upon which patents have been granted, as well as to applications now pending or filed within the period herein :
By section 3 of that Act it is provided:
That no patent granted or validated by reason of the extensions provided for in sections 1 and 2 of this Act shall abridge or otherwise affect the right of any citizen of the United States, or his agent or agents, or his successor in business, to continue any manufacture, use, or sale commenced before the passage of this Act by such citizen, nor shall the continued manufacture, use, or sale by such citizen, or the use or sale of the devices resulting from such manufacture or use constitute an infringement.
That is, protection given to any person who during the period of the war had commenced to manufacture or to make actual use of the patents which had elapsed. In the Bill now before the House similar legislation is enacted. There is one other section of the Nolan Bill which I think it is very necessary I should quote in this discussion. Section 6 of that Act provides:
That where an .invention was made by a person while serving abroad, during the war, with the force of the United States, civil or military, the inventor thereof shall be entitled, in interference and other proceedings arising in connection with such invention, to the same rights of priority with respect of such invention as if the same had been made in the United States, and where an application became abandoned or forfeited, during the time the applicant was serving with the forces of the United States, by reason of his failure to take action or pay a fee within the time now required by Jaw.
Apparently the purpose was primarily to protect the interests of men who had been serving overseas and who by reason of such service had been unable to pay the fees and revive the patents.
In order to fulfil our obligations under the Versailles Treaty, it was provided and understood that any foreign patentee in
this country who desired to revive his patent, by the payment of the fees required, which had been allowed to lapse since the first of August, 1914, should have the right to exercise that privilege up until January 10, 1921. If he had exercised that right and revived his patent by the payment of the fees, he would not be required under the provisions of the Act to manufacture the article within this country, until a period of two years after the passing of the Act. That would carry him up until January 10, 1922.
Naturally the question will arise, what is my objection to this Bill. It is this. First of all, the fundamental object of this legislation is to carry out and ratify international obligations. I have not one word of objection against that, because we all agree that to the full limit of our ability it is our duty to discharge every obligation under that treaty to which we are a party. But the United States Nolan Bill, requiring reciprocal legislation, only requires on our part that we should give a quid pro quo for their Bill so as to enable their patentees in Canada the right to revive patents which may have lapsed since August, 1, 1914. We are going beyond that in this Bill. The Bill before the House proposes not only to reciprocate the privileges extended to citizens of Canada by the United States, but to go them one better and extend the time within which a patent may be revived until one year frofn the date of the passing of this Act.
My fundamental objection to this legislation is on the ground of a patent which was recorded by a French chemist .in the Patent Office of Canada in the year 1913, a patent which, to my mind, is of very great national importance. It is not so much that I want to deprive that man of any right he may have, for under our treaty obligations he has had over eight years within which to revive that patent. I have the figures here as to the proportion of patents that are revived, and they are the latest I can get from the Commissioner. I find that last year 11,000 patents were extended for the first period of six years. Only 2,500 of these patents were revived or extended for a further period of six years, and out of the whole 11,000 only some eight per cent y/ere extended for the whole period of eighteen years. In London, Ontario, we have a firm of manufacturing chemists, who for five years have been energetically trying to solve a problem which is of great national importance to this country-and my hon. friends will not be surprised when I say
that that problem is an improvement in the retting of flax straw. This firm has made such progress that last summer, in company with the Director of the Experimental Farm, I visited their laboratory, and we were shown some samples of flax straw retted under this new process, which were pronounced in tensile strength, colour, and in every other respect, superior to anything done under the process of dew retting. The chief of the fibre department was so impressed with this important discovery that arrangements were made for this man to come to the experimental flax station here at Ottawa, to ..demonstrate, by the use of a 4- or 5-ton lot the commercial possibilities of this new process. This patent that has been registered by this French chemist directly conflicts with the experiments that have been carried on by these men, entirely apart from any knowledge they may have had of the patent registered. This man is trying to sell the patent and wants to control its use here, which he would practically have a right to do for eighteen years longer. I do not care about that so much, but when men, in an honest endeavour, have been working for five years and have made important discoveries, if we have to go outside of international obligations and by some super-magnanimity extend to United States patentees advantages that are uncalled for, I submit that the passing of this Act in its present form will not be in the national interest of this country. I do not object to the principle of the Bill, because I think it is good, and it is quite possible to make an amendment to it in committee that will fulfil every obligation we owe to internationals by extending the right to persons to revive patents to January 10, 1922. That is one plan. Another plan I had in view, but which is not so desirable, although it would be better than passing the Bill just as it is, is an amendment to the Bill to provide that all patents revived under it should be held to operate in the future under section 44 of the Patent Act. Either of these would be acceptable, but I strongly urge upon the minister that if we fulfil our international obligations to the limit by passing reciprocal legislation, we have complied with every necessity of the law, and have not reached the point of injuring any individuals in the matter. An opportunity will come for discussion of this matter in committee, but in this general debate I desired to lay these matters before the House so that we may have an intelli-
gent grasp of their purport as affecting the interests to which I have called attention.
Topic: PATENT ACT AMENDMENT