§ MR. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether it is within his knowledge that, while the official journal of the Patent Office prefixes to its list of abridgments an intimation thatInventors are strongly recommended, before applying for patents, to consult the Abridgments of Specifications,there are many important classes of specifications, including hydraulics, railway signals and carriages, paper making, steam engines, spinning, production and application of gas, and ventilation, of which no abridgments have been published for a quarter of a century, while several of those published before 1866 are out of print; whether under the heads of electricity and chemicals, with their various sub-divisions, any abridgments have been issued since 1876, except since 1883, in the costly volumes of the illustrated journal; whether the subject-matter index from 1856 to 1883 is out of print; and whether, in view of the Patent Office fees and publications yielding a surplus revenue of nearly £100,000 a year, steps are likely to be taken to expedite the Patent Office publications and bring them up to date?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH, Bristol, W.)
The Abridgment of Specifications in the Patent Office is a work which was only commenced within a comparatively recent period, but it is being now pushed forward as speedily as possible, and I estimate that during the financial year ended March 31, 16,000 specifications will have been abridged, and that approximately the same rate of progress will be maintained until the arrears are 471 overtaken. Abridgments of only three classes are out of print, and I am not aware of any large demand for a reprint of these. I may inform the House that the abridgments for the subjects of electricity, acids, alkalis, oxides and salts, and benzine and carbon derivatives, have been published up to 1876; and as regards the period between 1877 and 1883, the bulk of them have been made and are now in course of printing. The subject-matter index for 1856 to 1883 is out of print, but it has been widely distributed. For the future, its place will be taken by indexes to abridgment classes.