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Patents Act 1977 (Amendment) (No. 2)

3.30 pm

Mr. Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater): I beg to move,

I invite the House to support my Bill. It is very short—it contains only 67 words—but, in legislation, size is not everything. The idea is simple. My Bill is designed to protect investors and inventors from a hugely expensive international crime: the daylight robbery of patent theft. This has nothing to do with party politics, and everything to do with looking after the people on whom our nation's prosperity may well depend. The brains—the inventors—are the men and women who come up with original ideas and get them patented, only to discover that someone has stolen their brainchild.

I want to correct a small legal anomaly. The Patents Act came into force in 1977. Eleven years later, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 was enacted, but there is a tiny difference between them. The latter Act gives judges the discretion to award exemplary damages; the Patents Act does not. All of us in the House have patent holders in our constituencies who need our protection. I realise that the House is waiting for the Humble Address, and I therefore commend my little Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Ian Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Keith Simpson, Mr. Oliver Letwin, Hugh Robertson, Mr. Michael Jack, Mr. Mark Prisk, Mr. David Heath, Mr. Jonathan Djanogly, Dr. Andrew Murrison, Mr. Paul Goodman, Mr. Hugo Swire and Mr. Andrew Turner.

Patents Act 1977 (Amendment) (No. 2)

Mr. Ian Liddell-Grainger accordingly presented a Bill to amend the Patents Act 1977 to enable a court to award additional damages in an action for infringement of patent: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 10 May, and to be printed [Bill 126].

24 Apr 2002 : Column 336

Address to Her Majesty (Golden Jubilee)

3.33 pm

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): I beg to move,

I am sure that the whole House will once more accord to you, Mr. Speaker, the traditional right which has been claimed by Speakers-in-Office to express the sentiments of this House to Her Majesty in your own words. As I believe hon. Members know—informally, if not formally—Her Majesty, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, has graciously agreed to come to Westminster Hall on Tuesday 30 April to receive Addresses from both Houses of Parliament.

Typically, Her Majesty has said that the golden jubilee is an occasion for her and Prince Philip to acknowledge with gratitude the loyalty and support which they have received from so many people since her accession. But it also allows us, the people of this country and those in the Commonwealth, to celebrate 50 years of dedicated service by Her Majesty and Prince Philip.

The start of this jubilee year was overshadowed by the deaths of Princess Margaret and Her Majesty the Queen Mother. When the nation came together in sadness at the death, and gratitude for the life, of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, we demonstrated not just the honour that we felt for someone who had inspired us for over a century. We also saw the respect and loyalty which the monarchy retains in the heart of our nation. I know that, throughout the jubilee celebrations, we shall see the same public support and commitment to Her Majesty and Prince Philip. The weekend of national celebrations from 1 to 4 June will culminate with a national thanksgiving service in St. Paul's cathedral, after a ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace.

On a tour of Africa when she was 21, Princess Elizabeth, as she then was, vowed:

That vow she has kept. During the past 50 years, Her Majesty's commitment and public service has been tireless. She has carried out an outstanding range of duties, been involved as a patron of more than 600 organisations, met more people than any other monarch and undertaken 251 official visits to 128 countries. Throughout all her work she has been guided by deep-seated values, which she spelt out clearly in her Christmas address in 1999:

We all have our personal memories of the Queen's reign over the last 50 years. I was just three weeks old at the time of her coronation and as a schoolboy in Durham during the 1960s, I remember seeing the Queen for the first time. It is a privilege now to serve her as her 10th Prime Minister—her first, as she reminded me in May 1997, was Winston Churchill, who was her Prime Minister before I was born. In the many meetings that I have had with Her Majesty since 1997, I have, time and

24 Apr 2002 : Column 337

again, as have my predecessors, had reason to be grateful to her for her wisdom, good sense and experience, which she always brings to the issues of the day.

Nationally, and internationally, the world has, of course, changed more than anyone could have imagined since that day 50 years ago when a young Queen took on the awesome responsibility of the monarchy following the tragic death of her father. Yet, through all the change, and through all the insecurities and uncertainties that change brings, which all countries have experienced in the last half century, our country has had the inestimable benefit of that symbol of principled unity and continuity so perfectly embodied in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. With a matchless sense of duty, she has served her country. With pride, we celebrate her jubilee.

3.37 pm

Mr. Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green): May I second the Prime Minister and associate myself and my party completely with what he has just said?

The Prime Minister was right to say that, on the evening of her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth broadcast a vow to the nation, and he was right to say that she stuck to it.

The most remarkable thing about the past 50 years is the way in which Her Majesty the Queen has literally stuck to every single word that she said in that broadcast—perhaps a real lesson in constancy and dedication to all of us of the next generation. Our admiration for her outstanding service to our country has never been higher. During 50 years in which Britain has changed so completely from the country that Her Majesty addressed as a Princess, she has symbolised the strength, stability and unity of the United Kingdom and the superiority of evolution over revolution in our national life.

At all times, Her Majesty has interpreted and executed her constitutional role with unerring judgment. The Queen has been in every sense a model constitutional monarch. Indeed, our democracy owes much to her instinctive understanding of her role and her deep love of her country.

We therefore celebrate with gratitude 50 years of service to the people of Britain and to the wider Commonwealth. Over 50 years, the Queen has touched millions of lives through her visits, through her recognition of people of achievement and courage and through the hard work that she has carried out on behalf of the many charities and other organisations of which she is patron.

As a former soldier, I know how devoted the Queen is to her regiments and the unique way in which they and the other armed services respond. All of our armed forces share an enormous sense of pride that they serve the Queen.

As the Prime Minister said, that warmth is felt all around the world because, through the Commonwealth, the Queen has made an enduring contribution to the lives of millions. To the Queen, the Commonwealth has never been just another duty, but a deep and abiding personal interest.

24 Apr 2002 : Column 338

Throughout her reign the Queen has often had to live in a goldfish bowl of press interest. Yet, at all times, Her Majesty has conducted herself with dignity, decency and honour. Never has that been more evident than this year, with the particularly painful loss of her mother and sister. However, even when confronted with personal sadness, the Queen has never flinched from her public duty and has put her country and her people first. We pay tribute also to the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. As the Prime Minister said, he has been a steadfast companion and his constant support has been invaluable to her.

Earlier this year, some critics and, I believe, some closet republicans predicted that there would be no public interest in the golden jubilee and that it would be a flop. I happily predict today that they will be utterly confounded by the outpouring of loyalty and affection for the monarch from people throughout the United Kingdom. Speaking on Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, one of our predecessors said that she

I believe that those same words ring true of Her Majesty today. We thank her for her service, her devotion to her country and the dignity and decency with which she has conducted herself over the past half century. We also look forward to many, many more years of her reign.

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