THE PATENTS, DESIGNS, AND TRADE MARKS BILL.
The above-named Bill, now before the House, is one of great importance. Inventions and industrial designs are, in abstract justice, as much the property of their authors as houses or lands are the property of their owners, and it is only right that the products of ingenious brains should be protected from plundering imitators. The law, indeed, makes a difference between such rights and those of ordinary property-owners—a difference which is recognised by the common sense of mankind. Patents or copyrights are not granted to inventors or authors and their heirs and assigns for ever, but only for a specified time. Abstract justice is here qualified by consideration for the public good. They are accordingly protected for the benefit of their ingenious producers only for a certain term of years, after which they become common property. Trade marks also involve something of the nature of property, though not to the same extent. A brewer, for instance, becomes known for making a particular kind of ale or porter; and such, alas! is the dishonesty even of civilised m ankind that numbers of people would sell inferior porter and ale as his, and so injure his trade. But his trade mai’k saves him, to a very large extent at least, from such a wrong; it protects the property which he has, by his own skill or industry, acquired in the particular kind or kinds of liquor which he manufactures. In other words, it keeps dishonest persons from trading on, and making profits out of, his reputation. And it does more than this, for it protects the public as well as the honest producer of what the public buys. The tricks of trade are proverbial; and even such a Bill as the one in question, replete though it be with provisions against dishonest trading, will not entirely prevent fradulent competition. The ingenuity of rogues is as great in its way as that of inventors. Are they not always trying to find out how they may cheat their neighbors ? The Bill, however, will go a long way towards protecting both the honest manufacturer and the public. It is almost too much loaded with provisions and precautions against fraud; but experience has presumably shown that they are all necessary. We shall at present pass over the sections of the measure relating to patents and industrial designs, and confine our attention to that part of it which deals with trade marks. The manner in which applications for the registration of trade marks are to be made is first of all fully set forth. Ho registration is allowed unless the trade mark contains at least one of five essential particulars—viz., a name of an individual or firm printed, impressed, or woven in somo particular and distinctive manner; a written signature or copy of a written signature of the individual or firm ; a distinctive device, mark, brand, heading, label, or ticket; an invented word or words ; or a word having no reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being a geographical name. To the essential particulars other letters, words, figures, etc., may
be added; but there must be a disclaimer as to any right to the exclusive use of the added matter. A trade mark, which may be registered in any color or colors, must be for particular goods or classes of goods; and every application that has been allowed for registration shall, as soon as may be after its receipt, be advertised in the Hew Zealand ‘ Gazette.’ No trade mark or addition to a trade mark can be registered if it is calculated to deceive, or if it is a scandalous design; and any device, mark, brand, heading, etc., used by more than three persons before the commencement of the Act shall be deemed common to the trade in such goods. A book called the ‘Register of Trade Marks ’ is to be kept at the Patent Office, wherein shall be entered the names and addresses of proprietors of registered trade marks, notifications of assignments and transmissions, etc.; the Registrar shall grant a certificate of registration without further fee than the registration fee; and trade marks lapse three months after the expiry of fourteen years, unless the prescribed fee is paid. All existing trade marks, duly registered under any Act hereby repealed, shall be deemed to be registered under this Act, and shall be renewed before the expiration of fourteen years from the commencement of the same, in accordance with certain specified provisions. All fees form part of the Consolidated Revenue. The penalties for breaches of the Act ought to be deterrent. Every person who forges any trade mark; or who falsely applies any mark so closely resembling a trade mark as to be calculated to deceive; or who makes any die, block, machine, or other instrument for the purpose of forging a trade mark ; or who applies any false trade description to goods; or who disposes of or has in his possession any die, block, etc., for the purpose of forging a trade mark; or who causes any of these things to be done, shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, unless he proves that he acted without intent to defraud. Every person also shall be guilty of the same who sells, or has in his possession for sale, any goods to which forged or deceiving trade marks are affixed, unless he can show that he has taken all reasonable precautions against committing an offence, and be willing to give all information in. his power with
respect to the persons from whom he obtained the goods. Every person convicted on indictment is liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labor, foraterm not exceedingtwo years, or to fine, or to both imprisonment and fine ; and, on summary conviction, to imprisonment, with ov without hard labor, for a term not exceeding four months, or to a fine not exceeding £2O; and on a second or subsequent conviction, for a term not exceeding six months, or to a penalty not exceeding £SO ; and every chattel, article, instrument, or thing by means of or in relation to which the offence has been committed is to be forfeited. Further, every person who, being in the Colony, procures, counsels, aids, abets, or is accessory to the commission, without the Colony, of any act which, if committed in the Colony, would under this Act bo a misdemeanor, shall bo guilty of that misdemeanor as a principal, and be liable to be indicted, proceeded against, tried, and convicted in any place in the Colony in which he may be, as if the misdemeanor had been there committed. There is a clause prohibiting the importation of goods which, if sold, would be liable to forfeiture under the Act—viz., all such goods, and also all goods of foreign manufacture hearing any name or trade mark being, or purporting to be, the name or trade mark of any manufacturer, dealer, or trader in the United Kingdom or New Zealand, or any other British possession, unless such name or trade mark is accompanied by a definite indication of the country in which the goods were made or produced. But it is necessary that some kind of trade mark or trade description should be made compulsory in the case of foreign goods that come into competition with similar goods produced in the Colony. Such goods, of very inferior quality, are sold here as if they were of colonial manufacture, to the detriment, not through fair but through dishonest competition, of the local manufacturer. But the measure provides for no compulsory registration. Such are some of the principal provisions of the Bill with regard to trade marks. There is no provision touching any particular description of goods except watches; but a clause was added in the House the other day providing that no trade mark for artificial manure shall be registered unless it is accompanied with a proper certificate of the component parts of the mixture, a copy of which shall also bo attached to every box or packet sold. The Bill seems to have been carefully drafted, and is, on the whole, well calculated to prevent that species of dishonest trading for which its penalties are provided.
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THE PATENTS, DESIGNS, AND TRADE MARKS BILL., Evening Star, Issue 7990, 20 August 1889
THE PATENTS, DESIGNS, AND TRADE MARKS BILL. Evening Star, Issue 7990, 20 August 1889
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