§ Mrs. Rumbold
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many patent applications were made at the British Patent Office during each of the last five years; and what was the total number of staff employed at the Patent Office during these years;
(2) if, in view of the decrease in the amount of work done by the Patent Office, he will now reduce the number of civil servants employed there.
§ Mr. Fletcher
The number of patent applications filed and the number of staff employed in the Patent Office in each of the last five years as shown in the Comptroller-General's annual reports are:
Applications Total staff 1979 44,666 1,385 1980 41,640 1,375 1981 39,147 1,349½ 1982 37,093 1,347 1983 34,691 1,278
The patent application figures, however, are not an index of the amount of work done by the Patent Office. During the period 1979 to 1983 the staff have made substantial inroads into the patent arrears which, despite productivity increases of approximately 17 per cent., still stand at over 17,000 unexamined applications. Moreover, around one fifth of the staff are concerned with trade marks where the annual number of applications has increased from 19,328 to 22,100 over the same period.