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Patents: Patent agents warn against privatisation

作者:项咋筋    发布时间:2019-03-02 01:11:01    

By BARRY FOX Patent agents are trying to stop the British government from privatising the Patent Office, warning that the move could put judicial decisions into the hands of business and disqualify British inventors and industry from the protection of international legal agreements. The Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (CIPA), which represents the legal specialists who help industry with patents, has canvassed its members on the subject. It says this produced ‘an overwhelming response indicating a great degree of concern and almost unanimous condemnation of the proposal to privatise’. In 1990 the government turned the Patent Office into an executive agency – hiving it off from the Department of Trade and Industry. It remains part of the civil service, but with more control over its own budget. To reduce costs, the agency moved most of its offices out of London to Newport in South Wales. In June this year the junior trade minister, Patrick McLoughlin, decided to study the possibility of privatising some or all of the agency, appointing the consultancy Price Waterhouse to produce a report. The CIPA warns that the Patent Office is an official body with judicial powers in settling disputes over patents, trademarks and industrial designs. It says it would be ‘morally unacceptable’ for these powers to rest anywhere other than with a governmental body. If the office were in private hands, Britain might be forced to renounce international treaties which assure reciprocal patent rights for inventors in other countries. This, says the CIPA, would have ‘calamitous consequences for British industry’. The CIPA also fears that a private owner of the Patent Office might try to save money by closing the branch in the capital, leaving only the less accessible office in Wales. Recently,

 

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