Regulatory Reform Committee

Session 2003-04        11 February 2004

Publication of Reports


The Government laid this proposal for a regulatory reform order before Parliament on 10 November 2003 under the procedure laid down by the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The proposal would amend the Patents Act 1977 to render the formalities requirements of UK patent law compliant with the provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Patent Law Treaty (PLT) of 2000.  The UK is a signatory to the PLT and intends in due course to ratify it, once the necessary changes to domestic legislation have been made. The order would also reduce burdens and restrictions in the present UK patent regime which the Government considers unnecessary.  The principal beneficiaries of the proposed reforms are applicants for patents and the clients of patent agents.

The Committee has considered this proposal in accordance with the criteria laid down in the Committee’s Standing Order.  It has recommended that the proposal should be amended in certain respects before a draft order is laid before the House.

The Committee’s full report will be published as its Second Report of the current Session, at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 17 February. It will be available from all Stationery Office outlets (Ref HC 337).


The Government laid this draft order before Parliament on 22 January 2004.  The Committee had already reported on the proposal for this order (1st Report, Session 2003-04, HC 108).  The draft order would make the following amendments to the existing law:

(a)  an amendment to the Sunday Trading Act 1994, removing the requirement on the occupiers of certain shops to notify the relevant local authority of the hours they intend the shop to open for trading on a Sunday;

(b)  an amendment to the Revenue Act 1889, repealing the provision which prohibits methylated spirit from being sold between 10pm on a Saturday and 8am on a Monday.

In accordance with its Standing Order, the Committee has considered this draft order and has recommended unanimously to the House that it be approved.

The Committee’s full report will be published as its Third Report of the current Session at 2.00 pm on Thursday 12 February. It will be available from all Stationery Office outlets (Ref HC 338).

The text of both reports will also be available on the Committee’s website from 3.30 pm on the day of publication. (