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Patents Act 1977

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

48Compulsory licences

(1)At any time after the expiration of three years, or of such other period as may be prescribed, from the date of the grant of a patent, any person may apply to the comptroller on one or more of the grounds specified in subsection (3) below—

(a)for a licence under the patent,

(b)for an entry to be made in the register to the effect that licences under the patent are to be available as of right, or

(c)where the applicant is a government department, for the grant to any person specified in the application of a licence under the patent.

(2)A rule prescribing any such other period under subsection (1) above shall not be made unless a draft of the rule has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(3)The grounds are:—

(a)where the patented invention is capable of being commercially worked in the United Kingdom, that it is not being so worked or is not being so worked to the fullest extent that is reasonably practicable ;

(b)where the patented invention is a product, that a demand for the product in the United Kingdom—

(i)is not being met on reasonable terms, or

(ii)is being met to a substantial extent by importation;

(c)where the patented invention is capable of being commercially worked in the United Kingdom, that it is being prevented or hindered from being so worked—

(i)where the invention is a product, by the importation of the product,

(ii)where the invention is a process, by the importation of a product obtained directly by means of the process or to which the process has been applied ;

(d)that by reason of the refusal of the proprietor of the patent to grant a licence or licences on reasonable terms—

(i)a market for the export of any patented product made in the United Kingdom is not being supplied, or

(ii)the working or efficient working in the United Kingdom of any other patented invention which makes a substantial contribution to the art is prevented or hindered, or

(iii)the establishment or development of commercial or industrial activities in the United Kingdom is unfairly prejudiced ;

(e)that by reason of conditions imposed by the proprietor of the patent on the grant of licences under the patent, or on the disposal or use of the patented product or on the use of the patented process, the manufacture, use or disposal of materials not protected by the patent, or the establishment or development of commercial or industrial activities in the United Kingdom, is unfairly prejudiced.

(4)Subject to the provisions of subsections (5) to (7) below, if he is satisfied that any of those grounds are established, the comptroller may—

(a)where the application is under subsection (1)(a) above, order the grant of a licence to the applicant on such terms as the comptroller thinks ;

(b)where the application is under subsection (1)(b) above, make such an entry as is there mentioned ;

(c)where the application is under subsection (1)(c) above, order the grant of a licence to the person specified in the application on such terms as the comptroller thinks fit.

(5)Where the application is made on the ground that the patented invention is not being commercially worked in the United Kingdom or is not being so worked to the fullest extent that is reasonably practicable, and it appears to the comptroller that the time which has elapsed since the publication in the journal of a notice of the grant of the patent has for any reason been insufficient to enable the invention to be so worked, he may by order adjourn the application for such period as will in his opinion give sufficient time for the invention to be so worked.

(6)No entry shall be made in the register under this section on the ground mentioned in subsection (3)(d)(i) above, and any licence granted under this section on that ground shall contain such provisions as appear to the comptroller to be expedient for restricting the countries in which any product concerned may be disposed of or used by the licensee.

(7)No order or entry shall be made under this section in respect of a patent (the patent concerned) on the ground mentioned in subsection (3)(d)(ii) above unless the comptroller is satisfied that the proprietor of the patent for the other invention is able and willing to grant to the proprietor of the patent concerned and his licensees a licence under the patent for the other invention on reasonable terms.

(8)An application may be made under this section in respect of a patent notwithstanding that the applicant is already the holder of a licence under the patent; and no person shall be estopped or barred from alleging any of the matters specified in subsection (3) above by reason of any admission made by him, whether in such a licence or otherwise, or by reason of his having accepted such a licence.

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