Bruton, John

Wednesday, 21 May 1980

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 321 No. 2

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Packaged Goods (Quantity Control) Bill, 1980: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Final Stages.

I wish to make a general point here about the introduction of regulations. I have noticed that in legislation such as this in which power is given to introduce regulations, there are tremendous delay...More Button

How soon may we expect these regulations to be in effect?More Button

Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) Bill, 1979: Committee Stage (Resumed).

I welcome the introduction of this amendment. It gives us heart that our discussions are really worth while when a point like this can be met.More Button

We have almost exhausted the discussion on section 6 but the Minister was in possession and perhaps he has something further which he is anxious to say?More Button

There was the possibility of claim jumping.More Button

Is the Minister satisfied that no-one will be able to come in at the last moment and jump ahead?More Button

At what stage would regulations be made under this section in the case of an application? Would they be made at the stage when the person has merely indicated an intention to commence research into t...More Button

Why is the Minister not laying down the principles under which he may make regulations under section 7? I would have thought that should be stated. Even if it is only to be a cross-reference to some...More Button

Those regulations could take effect at any time. In the example I gave they could conceivably say that all the person needed to do was to write a letter before he started to do any research. That wo...More Button

That is not the point.More Button

I am not satisfied, not because I feel the Minister or any other Minister will do anything rash. In the interests of good legislation there should be some principle laid down here. If the Minister w...More Button

Section 7 is only reproducing the words of the UPOV convention which says that it is up to member states to make the regulations. We should, therefore, make it clear in this Bill what principles we wi...More Button

I move amendment No. 8a: In page 12, line 53, and in page 13, lines 1 and 2, to delete “if he is satisfied that the applicant is financially and otherwise in a position, and intends, to exercise right...More Button

I am trying to establish why the amendment is important. The danger is that apart from necessary royalties there could be additional prices because of the monopoly position held by the people distrib...More Button

I submit that the danger of a person who has been granted a compulsory licence is far less than the danger of a person who has been granted an exclusive monopoly abusing that. If the person has been ...More Button

Would the Minister repeat that?More Button

Is it up to the applicant to satisfy him?More Button

Would the Minister agree that it is going to be very difficult for an applicant to get a compulsory licence when he has to satisfy all of these conditions and prove beyond all doubt that he does so? ...More Button

I suggest an alternative. I see the Minister's point that he has to ensure that the variety is maintained and if an authorisation is granted to one person neither he nor the licensee will bother to m...More Button

Does not fulfil them.More Button

If that happens his licence would lapse automatically. He would lose the licence. Ipso facto it would be gone.More Button

We could get over that by requiring as one of the conditions that the applicant, having got a compulsory licence, must keep the controller informed on a regular basis every six months or every year of...More Button

With the greatest respect to the Minister and probably other people who have drafted similar legislation with almost exactly the same words in other countries, I believe the provision here does not af...More Button

Something that is very common nowadays.More Button

Does that not afford sufficient protection? Surely it is not necessary for an applicant to prove before he gets the licence that he is capable of exercising it and afterwards to have mechanisms to en...More Button

I propose to introduce another amendment on Report Stage containing the material here but with added provisions to ensure that the maintenance of the variety is catered for. Although I am withdrawing ...More Button

I move amendment No. 9a: In page 13, after line 52, to add the following subsection:More Button

In Canada it has been felt that it was possible to make provision for the allocation of costs in so far as the determination of the appropriate royalty to be charged for patented inventions is concer...More Button

The public interest can mean anything one likes.More Button

The Minister is slavishly reproducing the provisions of the British Act. Instead of drafting a compulsory licence provision specifically designed to meet Irish conditions—Ireland being an agricultura...More Button

The Minister is not searching very hard. I propose to introduce an amendment along these lines for Report Stage. In the meantime the Minister should consider the issues involved. I will withdraw my ...More Button

Will the Minister outline the procedures to be followed by people when applying for compulsory licences? What type of documentation are they required to furnish to the controller? How long is it lik...More Button

How will the applicant be able to satisfy the controller to provide the documents the controller would need in order to decide that an application was in the public interest? That is very vague. How...More Button

That is not much help to a person who might want to apply for a compulsory licence. Can the Minister say if we are required to have precisely this provision as to compulsory licensing within the term...More Button

From what the Minister has said there is no reason within the terms of the UPOV Convention why he could not accept the amendment I proposed. For that reason I am disappointed he did not do so. The s...More Button

Who else would have it?More Button

They would have to get a compulsory licence. The original licensee and the holder would have to maintain the variety.More Button

I agree with the case made by Deputy O'Keeffe. When speaking earlier I did not have a copy of the 1964 British legislation before me and I alleged wrongly that the Minister was following it slavishly...More Button

I am—I do not mind so long as I am getting what I am looking for in this Bill. That Act has worked for 16 years in Britain. I would point out that it is not in the interests of a country like Irelan...More Button

Why should it be necessary to extend the grant? It seems to me that a term of 16 years is long enough to ensure that a plant developer will make sufficient profit from a plant variety, having had 16 ...More Button

The Minister argued on the last section against amendments we had that it would not be possible to decide whether or not the amount being charged by a person who was the holder of an exclusive licence...More Button

The Minister sought to convey to the House the impression that the power in this section would not be abused because of what is stated in subsection (2). That subsection states: The Controller shall ...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cork Garda Promotions.

May I ask a supplementary on the last question? (Interruptions.)More Button

May I ask a supplementary on the last question, please?More Button

Might I ask the Minister if the Comptroller and Auditor General has access to all the information which is relevant in respect of the payment of such rewards as are paid?More Button

It is not. Would the Minister agree, in order to satisfy himself that the money is properly disposed of, that the Comptroller and Auditor General should have access to such information?More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aids for Industry and Agriculture.

Will the Minister agree that the chief reason for the high rate of interest here is the relatively high rate of inflation here vis-à-vis the other countries, which is a matter of Government policy?More Button

Would the Minister not agree that the chief reason for the high rate of interest here is the relatively high rate of inflation in this country vis-à-vis other countries, which is a matter of Governmen...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Money Flow Statistics.

The more you borrow the more money——More Button

The Government have been borrowing hand over fist.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Egg Smuggling.

asked the Minister for Finance if he has received a submission (details supplied) from the National Egg Producers Co-operative suggesting methods of curbing egg smuggling and if he intends to take any...More Button

Is the Minister aware that a number of Irish producers are in very serious difficulty and that one of the reasons for it is the alleged high level of smuggling? Would he make a special investigation ...More Button

Is it not the case that a submission on this matter was circulated to all Deputies, including the Minister in his capacity as a Deputy?More Button

They all go to the same office.More Button

Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) Bill, 1979: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Section 9 provides that where people have had a licence or a monopoly in respect of a plant they can apply to the controller who, if he feels they did not get enough money out of the plant during the ...More Button

Yes, but that does not set any maximum. There is no statutory maximum. There is a minimum all right.More Button

The Minister argued earlier that there was not much of a problem in relation to this power because there is an upper limit. No upper limit is provided. A minimum period is provided but no maximum.More Button

There is no guarantee that the maximum will not be extremely long. I castigated the British legislation earlier and I do not suggest that we should copy it slavishly, but they have an upper limit of ...More Button

Would the Minister consider providing an upper limit within which the right to renew the licence will have to terminate?More Button

Why not have that in the Act? We are making legislation by regulation and that leaves the House in the dark about what will be done. It would be far better to provide for it in the Act without going...More Button

This provides for voluntary surrender?More Button

I move amendment No. 11a: In page 15, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following paragraph:More Button

The grounds on which revocation may take place include failure to provide information, failure to supply the controller with reproductive material, failure to pay fees. I understand that failure to m...More Button

I am puzzled by this. The explanatory memorandum states that the controller is empowered to revoke licences for certain reasons—for example, non-payment of fees and failure to maintain a variety. I ...More Button

I should like to be told something about the composition of the Appeal Committee. Which categories are excluded if a licensee is not satisfied with the controller's decision? How does the section af...More Button

As it stands, the Minister would have the final say?More Button

What are the procedures for publication of the decision of the controller to ensure that people have the opportunity of lodging an appeal within 30 or 60 days? If the controller makes decisions and t...More Button

Will the operative date from which the 60 days will run be the date on which the decision appears in the journal?More Button

The Minister said anybody will be entitled to appeal.More Button

A person would not know he was aggrieved until a decision was taken. A person might discover that the controller had granted a monopoly in a particular case but he might not hear about it until the j...More Button

That should be more precise. How often would the journal be published?More Button

I do not know if publishing in the national press would be the best way of dealing with the matter. Not everybody reads the national press every day, but subscribers to a journal would read that publi...More Button

I should like more information regarding the materials about which the Minister might make regulations. I take it the legislation will not take effect until all the relevant regulations have been made...More Button

Is it correct to say that the Minister probably has a good deal of work done on preparation of the regulations?More Button

Will the Minister say how long after the passing of the legislation he expects the regulations to be promulgated?More Button

I was asking the Minister earlier if he could give some more information on how to meet the requirements of maintaining a variety.More Button

Must the maintenance of the plant be within Ireland? Is it required that the holder maintain stock of the variety within this state?More Button

This section contains a provision whereby the controller shall have the right to inspect the actual place where the material is being maintained, is that right?More Button

I can see considerable difficulty here. If someone is maintaining a variety in some part of the world far distant from here, the controller would not have the opportunity to inspect it over there. ...More Button

Yes, but the whole idea, as I understand it, of maintenance of a variety and of giving a person the monoply here is to ensure that the variety will be available to people here if they want to use it f...More Button

I would be satisfied if, in line 41, after “variety” the words “in Ireland” could be inserted. What I am concerned about is the possibility that the variety may be maintained in conditions abroad whi...More Button

What I am worried about is the difference in climatic conditions. Perhaps, I am completely off the line here because I do not know enough about the subject. The difference in climatic conditions coul...More Button

Whereas that might not have been so when the original grant was given. If, through the effuxion of time the evolution of the variety, and the way in which it has been maintained it has lost its chara...More Button

I can understand that. However, what I am worried about is that the breeder might be granted the right in the first place when the plant varieties were in a condition that they were capable of survivi...More Button

I take it that assignments under section 17 can be sold for whatever price the holder feels he can negotiate with someone else. Is that right?More Button

There is a point at issue here. It is not a very good idea to have people being capable of selling something which they would not have were it not for the protection conferred on them by the State so...More Button

This is a case of what action the holder can take against other people who are infringing his patent. I take it that these will be civil proceedings.More Button

What is the position taken in the Irish courts? I take it that if a person has protection in a number of countries and it has been breached in a number of countries he would have to take separate leg...More Button

I move amendment No. 11b: In page 21, subsection (1), between lines 4 and 5, to insert the following paragraph: “(g) the number of plant breeders rights held by each holder, the identity of the ultim...More Button

I do not accept that the fact that UPOV has not recommended in its model journal a provision along these lines in itself is a sufficient reason for our not doing it. We are a sovereign country and we...More Button

Earlier we were discussing the possibility that the journal containing decisions taken by the controller would not be published in time for a person aggrieved by those decisions to appeal against them...More Button

I take it this register will be available to anybody who wants to inspect it. Will any fee be charged for the inspection?More Button

Will it be capable of being inspected independently of whether you want to take a copy or not? Will there be a charge for inspecting it or will the charge be just for copies?More Button

I suppose it will be in Dublin?More Button

What is the need for this section?More Button

It strikes me that there is no real relationship between the maximum fine of £100 and the imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. It seems that a fine of £100 is a mere nothing to many of...More Button

I am glad the Minister is prepared to increase the fine substantially. It is probably unlikely that we shall have a Plant Varieties Bill again for some time and if inflation continues at the present r...More Button

I do not know if the Minister would get away with that. He might have to bring in a new Bill each time. Inflation will tend to reduce the maximum limit considerably. Question put and agreed to. SECT...More Button

I should be glad if the Minister would give us some more information about the effects of this section as regards the onus of proof. One should be wary about any shifting of the onus of proof in crim...More Button

I take it this section does not apply to civil proceedings where, say, there is a dispute in respect of a compulsory licence or in respect of a breach of the terms of a monopoly, where the holder is t...More Button

Is there need to make similar or any provision in respect of the court proceedings which might be taken in a civil dispute? Is the Minister satisfied that the proceedings will in all cases be equitab...More Button

I am sorry when I hear the Minister talking about yet another obstacle being placed in the way of people looking for compulsory licences. Not only have they to satisfy the controller and the Minister...More Button

It seems to be already difficult to get a compulsory licence. But, having gone to considerable expense to prove all that has to be proved—and a person might be acting primarily in the interests of th...More Button

I do not agree, because the compulsory licensing procedure in this legislation is not so much as a protection for the potential applicant or other merchants as for the consumer against overcharging. ...More Button

Is it not the case that the fee will bear a close relationship to the cost of the investigation? Obviously the fee to be charged for somebody who wanted a copy of an entry in the register would be ve...More Button

How will the fee be set? By regulation?More Button

Can the Minister give me a definite assurance that the fee for a compulsory licence will be standard and reasonable and will not be such as to create any disincentive?More Button

I am still very unhappy about the idea that anyone should be charged for a compulsory licence. There is a principle involved here. The person applying for a compulsory licence is not doing himself a...More Button

I move amendment No. 11c: In page 24, line 19, after “the Controller” to insert “, representatives of the farming community, representatives of plant breeders, representatives of distributors of seeds...More Button

I move amendment No. 11d.: In page 24, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following subsection: “(4) Any regulation or order made under section 2 of this Act shall only take effect after its term...More Button

This is not just any order. This is a convention. This enables the Minister to bring into effect further conventions or agreements in respect of plant varieties. For instance, it may well be decided...More Button

If this power had already existed under existing law there would not have been any discussion on this Bill at all here today. In other words, the Minister is saying that he would prefer never to have...More Button

Let us suppose that the terms of the UPOV Convention are changed considerably and a number of substantial alterations are made in the text. Would it be possible now under section 2, as referred to in...More Button

So what I am saying is correct that whereas in this case we have had to discuss the rules in great detail here in this House, in future and by virtue of the powers now being taken, if a new UPOV Conve...More Button

Probably?More Button

Can the Minister not be more precise on that?More Button

On the face of it—and my understanding of section 2 may be limited—the Minister is taking very wide powers under section 2. The Minister should be more definite and be able to give a positive assuranc...More Button

That is not clear in the Bill before us because section 2 does not refer to the UPOV Convention but to any international convention. Presumably, this enables us to bring into our law any new conventio...More Button

I feel strongly about this and I would be upset if the House was prevented by such a provision from having another discussion on this sort on a matter of equal importance in the future. On the assuran...More Button

Will there be a new subhead in the Vote for this?More Button

Is there any provision in this year's Estimate?More Button

The Bill will not take effect until next year, presumably?More Button

I move amendment No. 11 (e): In page 24, before section 28, to insert the following section: “28.—The Minister may by order make regulations to prevent the import of potentially deleterious seeds or t...More Button

I move amendment No. 11 (f): In page 24, before section 28, to insert the following section:More Button

I am not happy with that because I know from bitter experience that the restrictive practices legislation here is almost entirely ineffective. It does not work because of the very cumbersome administ...More Button

This concerns a requirement for accepting a variety as being one for which a patent should be given. It must not be previously commercialised, and it must be distinct and uniform. As I mentioned ear...More Button

Would the Minister be more specific as to what he means by our doing our bit as far as gene banks are concerned?More Button

Unless there is some means of knowing that a variety is in danger of becoming extinct it might be too late. I am afraid we would only miss something after it had gone. I should like an assurance fro...More Button

Which varieties, and is there any intention to expand the programme?More Button

What about grain?More Button

I appreciate there is not a lot of point in Ireland preserving varieties which are being preserved elsewhere, and of course there is a need for an international division of labour in this respect, but...More Button


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