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Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I am sorry that the Minister did not see some merit in the amendment. I think that the issue will cause a problem for a lot of people. He was saying that you might be able to appeal to someone. To whom? I do not know to whom you would appeal if you were not happy or content or what you could do about it.

Moreover, this involves not just one installation but an awful lot of them. There might be very many people who will be, if you like, not able to do the things that they want to do. I do not know quite why the Minister has set his face so much against it.

This is not to say we are not for wind farms. Nobody has ever said that. We have always said that it is probably a very good source of energy. The bottom line is that nothing is free; there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some people are going to be very badly disturbed by the idea that compensation is not payable under any circumstances.

If there are cases where compensation might be paid, to whom does one actually go? Perhaps the Minister could answer that before I withdraw my amendment. While on my feet, I thank the noble Baroness and my noble friend for intervening in the short debate.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, perhaps I may take the analogy of a road scheme. In the process of the planning permission being given to the road scheme, the garage owner would object that he was being deprived of his livelihood as a result of that scheme. Either the developer would then offer him cash or an alternative site, or the planning officer, and the planning inquiry if necessary, would say that it is a condition of his going ahead with this scheme that he pays such compensation in some form or the other.

Exactly the same applies in this case. If the fishermen think that they are going to be deprived of their livelihood as a result of the scheme, that will arise during the course of the process of giving consent. Either the developer will recognise that as compared with the developer's potential outlay and profit it would be a relatively small amount that would be payable to the fishermen, and it might be very sensible for him to recognise that on a voluntary basis, or it would be for the Secretary of State in giving that consent to make it subject to paying compensation.

All I am saying is that that could arise in particular situations, but it would not arise in general because of this part of the Bill, which relates to the public right of navigation for everybody. In general, the public right of navigation would not be significantly inhibited, such as to lead to commercial loss of that nature.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that further clarification and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Lord Triesman: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Patents Bill [HL]

7.39 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 1 [Methods of treatment or diagnosis]:

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 1:


    Page 1, line 20, at end insert—


"(2) In section 130(7) of that Act, leave out "(4)" and insert "(4A)"."

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the amendment stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Lyell. Before speaking to the amendment, it may be helpful to the House if I explain why we are not pursuing our concerns about what are now Clauses 10 and 13. It would be preferable for another place to receive and debate the Bill more or less as the Government intended.

Returning to the amendment, its objective is to increase certainty and to keep UK patent law as closely as possible in line with the practice of the European Patent Office. The 1997 Act has a "same effect" proviso, similar to that in Clause 2(5), to bring the UK law into line the that of Europe. It applies to specified sections only. Without the amendment, the proviso will not apply to new subsection (1)(1) of the 1997 Act, although it will apply to others. Slight and unnecessary differences between UK and European law make matters more complicated, and hence more expensive, for UK inventors. The amendment would make it less likely that the laws would diverge.

It might make sense to apply the proviso even more widely. It is not clear how the sections to which it will apply differ from the rest. I beg to move.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My Lords, if I may, I shall preface my remarks with one or two words about Clause 1. The present position is that methods of treatment or diagnosis are not considered to be patentable because they are not, in the words of the 1977 Act, "capable of industrial application". That was regarded as an undesirable position to uphold in the revised European Patent Convention, since medical methods are not patentable in the interests of public health. Thus, Clause 1 makes clear that inventions consisting of such medical methods cannot be patented and conforms with how such methods are dealt with under the revised EPC. The scope of the exclusion will remain the same as that under current provisions.

Clause 1 also concerns the patentability of substances and compositions that are to be used in medical methods. In particular, an invention may comprise taking a known substance, which has already been used in a medical method, and finding a new

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medical use for that substance. Clause 1 does not extend the availability of patent protection in respect of such inventions, but it does allow such inventions to be patented in a more simple and direct form than is possible at present.

New Section 4A, inserted by Clause 1, is drafted to implement articles 53(c), 54(4) and 54(5) of the revised EPC. I agree with the noble Lord that legal certainty for users is important and that any discrepancy between practice under the EPC and practice in the UK should be minimised. Noble Lords want to ensure that new Section 4A falls within the scope of Section 130(7) of the 1977 Act, but the amendment is unnecessary, because that is already the case.

If noble Lords turn to the Act, they will see that Section 130(7) applies to Sections 2 to 6. It states that the following sections are covered: from 1(1) to (4) and Sections 2 to 6. That would already include new Section 4A, so there is no doubt that the new section will have, as nearly as practicable, the same effect as the corresponding provisions of the revised European Patent Convention.

I trust that, with that explanation, the noble Earl will withdraw the amendment.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's explanation. I am afraid that I did not understand it; I shall read it carefully and take advice, but I doubt that I shall return to that. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Razzall moved Amendment No. 2:


    After Clause 6, insert the following new clause—


"INVENTOR CONFIDENTIALITY
In section 13 of the 1977 Act (mention of inventor), after subsection (1) there is inserted—
"(1A) When the applicant for a patent is not the inventor or joint inventor of the invention, the inventor or joint inventor shall have a right not to have their names and addresses mentioned on any patent granted for the invention and shall also have a right not to be so mentioned if possible in any published application for a patent for the invention and, if not so mentioned, a right not to be so mentioned in accordance with rules in a prescribed document.""

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment had a good run through in Grand Committee. I fear that, having listened to the Minister explain why the amendment was not being accepted by the Government, I must return to it on Report. For many people, this Bill is somewhat dry—albeit at this relatively late hour, the attendance in the House indicates the dryness of the topic. It is nice to see the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, in his place, adding to the general jollity of the occasion.

Of all the points made and amendments tabled to the Bill, this is the one that goes wider than the dry dust of patent legislation. What we are talking about here is potential threats to the lives of inventors if names and addresses appear on patent applications. We are aware that in applications made by bio-science companies, there is currently a practice, especially by animal welfare extremists, of putting the individual's personal

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details on the Internet and in other public media. That means that the development of the Internet has significantly increased the risk for inventors who, as we know, have had significant threats to their lives.

My amendment would make a small step to protect those inventors, especially in those the field of bio-science. In every other field, in which there is no possible life-threatening implication to having their name published, most inventors would be delighted to have their name published, because it goes to their credit for their career. So my amendment does not say that no one should have their names and addresses mentioned; it simply gives the right to an inventor who is worried—that is likely to be in the bio-science area—to have his name excluded.

The two arguments made by the Government were that this is of course a finely balanced argument and that those of us who table amendments perhaps make the case too strongly and do not recognise the balance of the argument. That does not mean that we do not think we are right, but we recognise that that argument is finely balanced.

The first argument is that when the Government consulted, they received an adverse response to that suggestion, especially from the patent industry—the agents—who all said that that would make it difficult to perform proper searches and would make their lives much more difficult. That may make their life more difficult, but that is not quite the same as the life-threatening risks to inventors in the small number of cases where the right would be exercised. So I am not persuaded by that argument. I understand it, and I understand what the patent agency community said—it is a perfectly respectable argument; but it does not override the need for the Government to give certain inventors the ability to have that protection. The second argument made is that other countries, especially the United States, do not have this protection. As I understand it, in the United States, the inventor must be the applicant. Again, that is fine, but the inventor does not have to choose to put the application forward. If an inventor who is working for XYZ Ltd or XYZ plc fears that if the application is made, his or her life will be under threat, he or she does not have to do it. So, again, there is a self-protection provision. He or she can say to his or her employer, "Actually, I am not prepared to make this application because I think that if I do, my life could be in danger". Again, I do not think that that is a satisfactory argument. So I urge the Government to think again. I suspect that when the matter went out to consultation, they may have been minded to go down that route.

The third argument used in this regard—the Minister will no doubt use it—is that the intention is to involve the option for addresses not to be disclosed. That is all very well, but with modern search engines, as I said in Grand Committee, with a name like mine, or that of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, you would not need to be a nuclear physicist of utmost renown to be able to discover where we live. Smith might be harder, or even Sainsbury—they might get the wrong Sainsbury—but the ability to exclude addresses does not really give the protection that

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any inventor needs in terms of confidentiality. I hope that the Minister has had an opportunity to think about what we discussed in Grand Committee. I beg to move.


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